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Martech Heroes: Scott Brinker on the endless possibility of martech

Martech Hero & chiefmartech.com editor Scott Brinker on the changing face of marketing.

Ahead of our B2B Awards in New York next month, we’ve launched the Martech Heroes series, to acknowledge and champion the people in martech who are pushing their business forward through using martech platforms.

The Drum has joined forces with Stein IAS to celebrate these individuals within the sector and share their understanding of the emerging industry. You can nominate your Martech Hero here, and have the chance for them to be recognised at our B2B awards as a Top Martech Hero.

This week, we caught up with Scott Brinker, editor of chiefmartech.com, a blog that discusses the changing face of marketing due to technology. He believes that martech has many uses within the creative industry.

Since the birth of chiefmartech.com in 2008, Brinker has recognised the increased demand for understanding martech. At the time of its launch, marketing and tech teams were kept very separate although Brinker noticed early on that they could be more intertwined than they were. “Ibecame very fascinated by the gap between those two worlds,” he says. “And wondering how as an industry, as a profession, we were ultimately going to end up bridging the gap between them.” It wasn’t until mid-2000 that a shift took place within the industry and value was placed on blending these skillsets, realising that the departments could help each other to become more effective. But it’s taken a long time to establish an official level of recognition around the martech industry. “The hybrid role that used to be really informal is now starting to develop as a true professional structure,” says Brinker and yet, we’ve got so much more to learn about the capability and usefulness of martech professionals.

Martech Heroes series is about celebrating and raising awareness of the role of individuals within martech. However, it must be strange for them to work in tandem with adfolk, who are constantly being rewarded for their creative efforts as the martech bunch aren’t quite so congratulatory. In reality, “marketing and technology operations leaders are having a huge impact on marketing experience to customers,” says Brinker. But quantifying their efforts proves challenging. How can you honour marketing technology architectures and the implementation of technology?

Brinker created a lunascape of martech, as a “purely imperial exercise” to reflect what the industry currently looks like and to remind marketers of the world they’re living in. But if he had to look forward though, Brinker believes that there will be a consolidation of large platforms in future, thinking that well-known companies will become primary platforms for marketing stacks as they’re increasingly opening and improving their work with partnership ecosystems. “I think we're going to see a continued blossoming of more specialised martech providers who plug into the centralised platform systems,” says Brinker. “In many ways, I think marketing will end up with the best of both worlds; they will end up with the stability of the major systems as their foundation and with the diversity and invested greed of the providers who plug into those systems.”

For those looking to invest in martech, Brinker advises them to keep it simple, suggesting they “get [their] foundations right” rather than ambitiously overinvest. He also claims that companies have a lot of learning to do around martech, citing the human side of the process as the biggest cause of delay. Marketing teams need better investment to understand how to extract value from these systems and improve customer experience and campaign creation. “We've got a lot of learning to do. as an industry,” says Brinker. “We continually underestimate how much investment needs to be made on the human capital side of this to make it effective.”

Martech can definitely be used to enable creativity. “Technology has opened a huge canvas of possibility,” says Brinker. But we still need to work out how to direct our creative capabilities to achieve maximum outcomes. It’s about harnessing new platforms and finding new ways to interact with audiences. At present, the possibilities are limitless.

Nominate your Martech Hero here and get them recognition on our Top Martech Heroes list that will be launched in November. A selected hero will receive an award as the ultimate Martech Hero at the B2B Awards in New York on 15 November. Nominate now.

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