April 26, 2017

Scott Brinker: The Heart of Marketing Hasn’t Changed

In this episode of B2B Nation, we sat down with Scott Brinker, co-founder and CTO of ion interactive and the program chair of the upcoming MarTech conference in San Francisco (May 9-11). You might also know Scott as the editor of chiefmartech.com. 

In our conversation, we discussed:  

  • The relationship between marketing and IT
  • The most impactful marketing technology in recent years
  • Scott’s crazy, annual martech super-graphic
  • The rapid growth of the marketing-related software

Below are a few highlights: 

Relationship Between IT and Marketing

“I’ve always been a bit of an entrepreneurial software guy and had an appreciation for marketing early on in my career. But where it really came together was when ion was in that business of doing web development for large Fortune 500 companies, we’d always be hired by the marketing department. They were the ones who always wanted to have some new generation web property built, but then, since I was in charge of the technology team at ion that would actually build it, I would get drafted to be the one to talk to the client’s IT department to figure out how we were going to make this work with their systems. 

“As I kept going back and forth between marketing and IT at these companies, it was fascinating to see how far apart they were — culturally, models of how they approach things, etc. — but at same time how essential it was going to be for them to come together and collaborate, based on what the business wanted to build.”

The Marketing Burden IT Bears 

“There’s been an explosion of things to be done. 10-15 years ago, there wasn’t much marketing needed from IT. It was a relatively lightweight software consumer. Today, it’s the polar opposite of that. Everything marketing does today has some sort of software dimension to it. And this is all net new technology. Part of the struggle between marketing and IT is that IT deals with other departments too, and all of them are going through this explosion of software and data, and at some point, the volume of it requires marketing teams to step up to the plate and take more responsibility for what they are going to leverage themselves. 

“Marketing needs to be responsible for the success of its marketing programs, and as a result, it has to take some ownership of the tools and systems they use to achieve that outcome.”

No Category is Stagnant

“I curate that crazy martech landscape graphic with thousands of vendors, and I’ll always get questions about which category is most exciting or most innovative. What astounds me is that it’s hard to find a category now where there isn’t innovation still happening. For instance, take content management systems. That’s the oldest marketing technology in the world at this point. But even today, there’s incredible explosion in the CMS category— this new generation of ‘headless CMS’ being used to rethink the way content is delivered across multiple devices . . . 

“One of the reasons there are so many marketing tech vendors out there is the barriers to creating software are just so low, with infrastructure-as-a-service and open-source, developers can literally stand on the shoulders of giants to build amazing things cheaply and quickly. 

“If you’ve got someone working with a marketing team who has an idea, they can write and build their own software, get it out, and distribute it. That happens at such an incredible pace now. It’s exciting, and as we all know, a little bit challenging to keep up with.” 

The Heart of Marketing 

“Frankly, you can do so much with just that foundation [of CRM software and marketing automation]. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of exciting and innovative technology out there, but at the end of the day, what matters here is still the ability to have a great strategy, to understand who your customers are, and to . . . create compelling connections with people. The heart of marketing hasn’t changed, even though all the fancy technologies we have around it are new.” 

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Learn more at this year’s MarTech conference in San Francisco, scheduled for May 9-11 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. When you sign up, use discount code “100mtsfta” to save $100 on All-Access passes.

B2B Nation is a podcast for B2B sales and marketing professionals, featuring expert opinions and advice on the most important topics in the industry. Check out our other episodes on SoundCloud, or follow us on Twitter: @Technology_Adv.

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