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Ep. 17 – How to Make Martech Work for Your Team with Scott Brinker of HubSpot

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Scott Brinker, known as the “godfather of martech” and currently VP Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot, talks to Eric about everything marketing technology from how to stay on top of it all to how best to implement changes in your organization.

Scott explains that the No Code movement represents a fundamental shift towards empowerment of business users and marketers. It’s not just about letting people build software applications without having to code them, it’s about allowing the average person to self-service their ideas without having to necessarily rely on an expert.

And while culture change and adoption of new technologies and workflows are necessary, it is inevitably a huge investment. Scott’s tips for success include:

  1. Make sure you’re allocating the space in people’s responsibilities to learn new tools, technologies and approaches
  2. Once you have the tools and people know how to use them, you have to make sure from a process re-engineering perspective, you actually look at how people will use these new tools and determine where the constraints are and work to see how to overcome those constraints working collaboratively with the new technology and getting things done.

While Scott admits the world of marketing technology is too large to stay on top of at this point, he also lets us know how he does his best.

To see the famous Marketing Technology Landscape Graphic, click here.

For more from Scott, visit www.chiefmartec.com

YouTube: If you prefer to watch this episode, visit (and subscribe!) to Rival’s YouTube channel.

To listen to this conversation on your preferred streaming platform, click here.

Transcript

Scott: Really deeply accept that your technology and operations capabilities are one of the strategic pillars of marketing. You don't have to be an operations person yourself. You don't have be a technologist yourself. It's probably better if you aren't, but you got to make sure in your marketing organization you've got that as one of the fundamental pillars. Without it <laugh> the world is getting really difficult if you don't have that capability.

Eric: I'm Eric Fulwiler, and this is Scratch Bringing You marketing lessons from the leading brands and brains rewriting the rule book from scratch for the world of today.

Hey everyone, my guest today, the one and only Scott Brinker. Scott is the godfather of MarTech marketing technology. His daytime role is as the VP of platform ecosystem at HubSpot. He's been there since March of 2021. He's also the editor@chiefmartech.com, which is probably the most popular MarTech blog out there. They're particularly famous for their annual MarTech 5,000, which is an infographic that lays out all of the MarTech landscape, the startups, the businesses that are in it. It's really fascinating to take a look at, so please do that. I really enjoyed this conversation with Scott. Obviously he's not a CMO, but bringing his perspective from the technology side of the marketing industry I think is so important. And I'll admit it's something that I need to spend more time on learning, getting my hands dirty with because there's so much going on, and if you're not in it, you're not even aware of how much opportunity there is with the technology and how quickly it's changing and how quickly it's evolving.

So this is a huge advantage that challenger businesses really leverage. And so I'm excited to share this conversation with you. Scott and I talk about it's not just about the technology, but it's about the organization and the culture and the change that needs to happen within a company in order to leverage new technology. He talks about how to find new opportunities and try to stay on top of change, although he even admits that he can't stay on top of everything that's going on in this industry, but he's got some advice for how you can at least get started getting started. And also how within your team, if your MarTech stack is not where you think it needs to be or maybe it's not even that existent, how you can get started with that. And lastly, we talk about some of the big trends that he sees coming up in the space, which is really interesting to just get his glimpse on, Hey, what's the future of marketing technology? And even shares a few startups that he advises that he thinks are really exciting and are going to do big things. So without further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Scott Brinker.

Hey Scott, thanks so much for joining me today. How are things in my hometown in Boston?

Scott: <laugh>, great to be here with you, Eric. It is. It's cold. It's still winter. <laugh>

Eric: Tell you, I kind of miss real winter though. I mean, I guess, I don't know, grass is always greener over here. It's kind of like 40 degrees and raining most of the time between December and March, so that's worse. I think

Scott: <laugh>, well, all I'm saying is I'm looking forward to summer and neither <laugh> of those scenarios, so

Eric: Fair enough. There you go. Scott, I'm super excited to dig into things with you. I've obviously known one about you for a long time. I've seen you speak a couple times. I've of course followed the infographic that you share every year with great interest. And I think as people listening know, a lot of our guests are brand side marketers, which is great, but I would say most of them don't on the technology side of marketing. So I hope people know people will find this interesting just getting your perspective as really the expert on marketing technology. So let's get into it. First question, what is a brand that you're obsessed with right now?

Scott: Oh, great question. So a lot of my work is in ecosystems within marketing technology too and there's definitely a couple brands that just do an amazing job with that. I think probably Shopify is my favorite at the moment. I think they've just done an amazing job with their platform, their ecosystem, and their broader BLA brand and this whole thing about the Shopify Rebel Alliance and the Amazon Empire and how does that, it's really fascinating. So yeah, very interested in them.

Eric: So actually let's talk about that for a second. So when you say ecosystem, can you unpack that and what is it about Shopify's ecosystem that you've seen them do? Well?

Scott: So there's a lot of talk about ecosystems for almost every company at this point in time. It's not just a tech thing. Certainly my work is more on the tech side of it, but I think if we just start with the idea that the ecosystem broadly is all the other product companies or service companies, whether they're channels or complimentary products, whether they're communities influencers, I mean even your customers, depending on how they engage all these folks are part of a network that revolves around companies, has been really fascinating to see companies get a lot more strategic about thinking of these not in their individual silos or their individual pieces, but to start to look at managing them strategically as an ecosystem. Now, in Shopify's case specifically they have this incredible ecosystem not only of service providers who help people build out their online stores and manage it and all sorts of consulting behind the scenes for that.

They have this really great platform that lets other software companies integrate to Shopify. It lets software entrepreneurs build things specifically for Shopify. And I just think they've done a really fantastic job of creating that. And part of what they celebrate is, Hey, listen, it's not just the revenue that Shopify makes, it's the revenue that all of our merchants make. It's also the revenue that all of our partners who are helping our merchants make and really just celebrating how there's so much win-win opportunities across everyone who's participating in that. I mean, I'll say an old selfish interest here. This is very much the kind of dynamic I'm trying to do at HubSpot with our platform ecosystem. And so yeah, I look a lot at Shopify because I admire the way they've done it,

Eric: And HubSpot is one of the examples that I always think about when it comes to ecosystems as well. So Scott, from your seat, because while you do sit within a brand at HubSpot, you also have this role as editor of Chief MarTech, and so you kind of look across the whole landscape. So I'm very curious to get your input on something that you are most curious about right now. If you had to pick one thing, one trend, one thing that you're looking at, what are you most curious about?

Scott: Oh, it's tough because there's a couple big ones I'm looking at, but if

Eric: you can share two need to, that's all

Scott: Right. Oh, all right. Now you got to be careful. You give me that opening there. Well, let me say, all right, so let me start with one and then we can see where we go from here. One of them is this whole movement around, I'm sure most of your listeners have heard to some degree. There's something really exciting happening there because when people talk about all these no-code products or platforms or features, it's not just about letting people build software applications without having to code them, although that's some of what it is. I think of it much more broadly that it's this really fundamental shift that's happening in technology where things that previously required a specialist or an expert to do anything in that area, these no-code tools are helping to simplify at least the low end and in some cases, even the mid-end use cases to let general business users and marketers be able to self-service more and more of their ideas.

So it's not just things like, oh, I want to build an app because some marketers they do, but it's everything from like, oh, I want create this particular content for the website, or I need this graphic design, or I want to do this data analysis, or I have this little workflow that I want to have happen across my team. All these things that used to require for any use case of that kind, turning to a specialist, waiting for them in the queue, paying the money for it, whole bunch of ideas we never pursued because it just didn't even make economic sense to bring out the big guns to address it. That this whole no-code revolution is really empowering more and more business users and marketers to be able self-service a lot of these low end use cases, which it's like all this area that was essentially underserved, all these ideas that just couldn't get done because they didn't make sense with the high end experts. I think we're still very early in this transformation, but I think it really changes the bandwidth and net productivity that marketing organizations as a whole are going to be able to leverage

Eric: And there's, in order for them to leverage it, this might be too obvious of a thing to say, but there needs to be the technology that's developed, but then there needs to be the marketers that are open-minded enough and curious enough to go look for it and start playing around with it because it's so easy to just keep doing things the way they've always been done and not be open to that type of change. And ideally, you're not just open to it, you're actually hungry for it. And so the technology side is obviously one piece of it, but what I see in a lot of challenger businesses is just the way that they think about how technology is coming into the marketing space. They get there first, and that's as much of an advantage as just the technology existing is so obviously, you know, do a lot of work at Chief MarTech and your MarTech 5,000, which is obviously a flagship piece of content every year in the industry. So we'd love to have you unpack that a little bit. But maybe also as part of that, talk about how should marketers listening be staying on top of everything that's going on in the MarTech industry so that they can take advantage of it and have it make their job better, easier and deliver more results for their business.

Scott: Yeah, wow. Okay. There's a ton of great things we can talk about there. I do want, before I forget, the thread on it is a hundred percent agree with you. The challenge with all of this technology isn't really the technology itself, it's the organizational change. It's in many cases cultural change of how we do these things. It's making sure that leaders in these organizations are not just signing the checks or the pos for these technologies, but they're making sure that the support networks internally, the enablement capabilities, the training, and even just again, more of that cultural support of yes, we want you to take time and experiment with this and learn this. Those are hard investments and most companies underestimate that when adopting technology. I think the industry's getting better with that. I think we're headed in the right direction. But yeah, pretty much however much the ratio is, you think in your head between investing in technology and investing in people, I'd go ahead and double the investment on the people side and you will get a lot more out of whatever technology you're adopting.

Eric: Let's stay there for a second, if you don't mind, before we talk about how people can stay on top of all the change. Because I think it's such an important point, and I fundamentally believe that the newest technology, the best strategy doesn't matter if you don't have the right people set up in the right way to actually use it and execute on it to deliver results. And so culture is always the answer because it's the thing. It's the cause that leads to all the symptoms, good or bad, it is the well that delivers the water to grow your business. But at the same time, sometimes when I say culture, I can kind of feel people to be like, all right, well I want the hard answer and meaning the specific answer that I can do something with. What I really like that idea of whatever ratio you're thinking about tech to people, flip it or double it. But I'm always curious to get people's specific tactical advice of if it is about culture change, organizational change, as you said. What specifically can people do if they're in a position to change the culture in their organization?

Scott: A ton of great question. I mean, one of the things to start with is even having this concept of almost like a technology enablement role or team in the organization, that basically it is their full-time mission to make sure as we're adopting this technology, we're putting together the content, the training and not just training like, oh, here, we made a video, you should watch this done. Actually embedding working with teams, getting them through those first use cases work shopping with them on ways to do that. I mean, learning new things is hard and I think you really have to invest in both the talent that can help teach people this, but also making sure that you're allocating the space in people's responsibilities to be able to have time to engage in that learning and work with it. So that's probably one foundation. I think the second thing is then once you've got the tools and people know how to use the tools, usually where things then get hung up is, okay, well we used to have these processes, this is how things got produced, this is how things got approved.

And the inevitably that pipeline of how things got done in some older approach, if you just try and now bring in the new approach, the constraints almost always end up being like, oh, well now it's going to have to go through this review here and this approval there. And to basically make sure that that next step is to really, from a process re-engineering perspective, start to look at how people are going to use these new tools and actually follow through it of, okay, now it's a theory of constraints is one of the ways to think about it. Then what becomes the constraint? What's the next level? If I don't know, for one example, say before, if we wanted to build this a workflow, we had to take a ticket and wait for it to build it, and that took 30 or 60 days. Okay, now we've got this self-service tool that lets us build our own workflows, but before we can actually go live with it, it has to go through it for review and approval.

And that requires getting a ticket and being in the queue and waiting 30 or 60 days. Okay, we've got this self-service workflow capability. The actual bandwidth of what's getting done is exactly the same as it was before. And so you have to look at that process and say, okay, how do we rethink this? Do we need it to approve everything in that linear fashion or is there a way we can sort of flip this on its head? Can we work with it to understand, okay, here are certain building blocks that it can approve. Is there ways to set up guardrails that within the no-code tool that it can say, okay, these are the guardrails, as long as people are within these guardrails, we are good. I mean, any of this sort of stuff where you basically look through the process, see where the constraint is, and then work to see is their solution that again, still respects the needs of all the different parties in this, but engineers that process to now work it collaboratively with the new technology and the new way of getting things done. And again, this is just the enablement and the training stuff. This is real work. This takes time, it takes investment and it takes energy. And if you don't set the expectation of really making that investment then your actual adoption and value that you get out of this stuff never really gets over the hill.

Eric: There's two parts of that that I really like and draw and want to draw out. One is a specific word you said and that was rethink because I think that's such a huge piece of it. It's what we think about a lot. It's why this podcast is called Scratch because we believe when it comes to having a challenger mindset, whether that's about marketing or technology or culture, it all comes down to rethinking things from scratch for the situation that you're in today, not trying to drag what was done in the past into the present. And so I think there's a lot in there. The other thing that was more a thread that I'm drawing out from what you said that I really liked and think doesn't get talked about enough is it's a real investment culture change. It's easy to gloss over, but it's a project. It needs to get prioritized, it needs to get put in your calendar, it needs to have a budget, it needs to have time allocation put against it. So I like that. And I think maybe that's part of the conversation that needs to happen a little bit more is thinking of culture as a project, not just a concept

Scott: In a know. One other suggestion I'll just throw out in that direction, and this is a way you can think about a concrete investment in culture. Some of the best ways you can do that is to actually get outside of your own organization. We've had a little bit of challenge with this with Covid hopefully we're starting to get past this. But even this idea of field trips to other companies, not necessarily peers who are in your exact same industry. They might be in adjacent industries or different industries, but hey, listen, we want to take a group that we are rethinking how we're going to do this in our company, but let's go and talk to other folks who have may perhaps already made that transition. What's working for them not? And to have that be a way to invest the time the right level of commitment, even just the budget of like, Hey, listen, we're traveling, we're taking this week, and then after this we're going to review these learnings. We're going to sort of distill what we think we can synthesize into our plan. Just really investing in that. There's just so much gold to be mine there.

Eric: Yeah. And again, in investing, putting money into it, putting time into it, that's the only way that's going to change things.

Eric: Hey, everyone wanted to interrupt this episode real quick to talk about some of the research that we are now doing as rival in partnership with attest. And I wanted to see if any of you listening out there could maybe contribute to it. So what we're doing is we are looking at, it's probably going to be on a quarterly basis, a few of the big trends that we're seeing driving the hyper growth of challenger brands. We're going to dig into those trends, do some of our primary research with attest, some secondary research, and we also want to interview marketers from challenger brands that are exhibiting and leveraging these trends and opportunities. So the ones that we're looking at for our Q2 report right now, we have one that's all about how challenger brands are able to appear bigger than they are, how they buy media, how they come across to the consumer, how they kind of start to establish that credibility and trust with mainstream consumers.

Eric: So that's, we have one that's around communities and how challenger brands are able to build communities around their brand. And then lastly, we're looking at one that we're calling the Great Crunch, and it's about how this post pandemic world is coming into this crunch period with the current and pandemic world that we've known for the last couple years. How are brands adapting to that? How should they be adapting to that? So if you are someone who is or knows a brand that we should be looking at to research these trends, or honestly just an interesting challenge a brand, I'd love to hear from you and start to work it into some of the research that we're doing.

Scott: So again, please let me know and reach out if you got any suggestions around this research that we're doing with the test. Thanks so much. So coming back to, if that is about what needs to happen inside the organization, coming back to the question about how do people stay on top of all this change and everything going on outside the organization that they might want to bring in, what's your advice besides, of course, reading the MarTech 5,000 every year for staying on top of what's going on in the field of marketing technology?

Scott: Well, let me start by disclaiming. I am not able to stay on top of everything that's happening in marketing technology. I mean, the world is just too large at this point. There's too much innovation happening in too many sectors. So if you are feeling as I suspect many of your listeners are just like, ah, it's overwhelming. Let me assure you, every single other person on the planet, including me, feels the exact same way. So it's not you. And I think part of this then is the recognition that, okay, let's set our expectation in an achievable level. It's not to keep track of everything that's happening out there. What is to have a mechanism that is continually looking at new opportunities to make sure we evolve at least relative to the expectations of our customers, at least relative to the competitive set that we're working against a set of capabilities.

And again, just like with culture, this really comes down to investing in having capabilities dedicated to this. And so are two very concrete recommendations. One, I suspect most of your listeners already have a marketing ops, marketing tech team but this is one of the functions that team should be responsible for is aside from just the actual operational aspects of what you are running today and implementing today, they should be allocating a percentage of their time to keep looking beyond the boundaries, to have mechanisms to do things like run pilot programs or run little experiments and to just keep learning and to be able to keep bringing that back to you as a senior leader. You know, don't need to get into the details of the technology, but really look to those MarTech and marketing operations folks to be able to distill that down in a way of, okay, based on what we're discovering here and how we're seeing this being used elsewhere, here's possible ways this might be able to influence our strategy, our customer experience, engagement touchpoints.

And so you have a mechanism for that. I think as far as the ratios go, because sometimes there's particularly around MarTech, we make lots of fun of this industry of people referring to shiny object syndrome and oh look, squirrel. And this picture of, oh, just MarTech people out there just buying lots of tools and trying lots of things. The reality is that isn't actually what happens, at least for vast majority of people I know. I think it's just about making sure you keep it in a reasonable ratio, which is and you can pick your ratio. I mean, my suggestion would normally be 90% of your efforts should be operationally on the technology you have today and how to get the most value out of that, which goes back to what we were chatting about on all the enablement and people and culture side around that. But maybe about 10% of that team's allocation should be that continuous experimentation and piloting pioneering what other relevant technologies or changes in the technical landscape are happening so that we're saying on top of it. And if your ratio is 95 5 or 85 50, depending on the nature of your business and how much rapid technological change is impacting you will adjust that accordingly. But just making sure that there is some dedicated slice of investment in that I think is a reasonable way to <laugh> approach what is ultimately an intractable problem at it's universal scale.

Eric: And even if that investment of time is small, even if it's 5% or 30 minutes a week, getting started, getting started, because I think sometimes if you're not in the space of something that's new and different, it can feel overwhelming, but you just got to kind of put one foot in front of the other and start tasting it, start reading, start playing around with it, and over time you'll at least be further ahead than where you were before. And also now, I don't know which episode number this is going to be, but I've probably done about 20 of these interviews. And I think back to, there's definitely a pattern with a lot of people. I think Raja from MasterCard, Soyoung from eos, a lot of people kind of saying, Hey, you need a framework of how you spend your time, how you allocate your budget and resources to the current things that you're doing and the new things that are going to come.

And you might know what those are, but you also might not know what those are, but you still need to make the time to get out there. So I think I'm just kind of piecing that together. And now having had of a few of these interviews, it's interesting to see what a lot of smart people are saying in similar ways and try to frame that up for the people listening. Scott, for you, maybe you're not on top of all of it, but you're much more on top of it than most people, including me by a long shot. How do you stay on top of it? What is a day in the life or what is the process? What's the kind of rituals that you go through to try as best as you can to stay on top of everything that's going on?

Scott: So one of it is I dedicate a chunk of every day to be very exploratory in just reading a lot. And I sort of triangulate on a few different sources. So there's actually the tech industry press things like Tech Crunch and Venture Beat, which is fascinating. How many things are coming through that channel that either directly or indirectly are going to be an impact in the marketing world. I look at the other side of the universe there, which is the traditional more marketing press. The folks@martech.org, adage, Adweek, all these ones just because it's interesting, they rarely frame it from a technology perspective, but you see the blips of things that people are innovating described through a marketing lens, but it's an underlying technology change that's empowering that experimentation. And then the third and probably the largest is actually connecting through a medium. And then don't hold this against me, even Twitter, if there's clearly a set of noise on Twitter that I would highly advise standing away from if you appreciate your sanity.

But at the same time, there's an enormous number of technical and marketing professionals who are on there. And if you're following those right people and they're sharing just hey, things that they come across or things that they're thinking about, to be able to synthesize a little bit of that from a broader peer universe. I mean actually now that I'm saying this out loud, I'm like, why have I become more reliant on that? Well, because for the past two years I've been basically sitting in a nine by 13 room. Before that, I would've said, one of the things you should do is you should get out to these conferences. I mean, again, you don't have to go to all of them, go to one, maybe two a year. But part of that is actually even walking around trade show floors, very interesting and just where the serendipitous discovery of who's coming to market, what are they trying to talk about? The sessions are interesting, but the best stuff is when you just sit at the bar at the end of the day and you've got other peers who are doing stuff and just, Hey, what have you been seeing that serve interesting and cool. There's a lot of knowledge to be gained from that.

Eric: Yep, I love it. And actually, one of the events that we do is a very small it's actually so we got connected through Carlos of MarTech Alliance and he does something similar with these dinners where he's bringing people together and having kind of a round table conversation. I find those so fascinating because you're in a room with other senior marketing people all talking about what you're seeing to each other. And that's such a valuable thing for me just to listen to what people are seeing, what they're thinking, what they're excited about, et cetera. So yeah, while there's all everybody wants, what's the newsletter? What's the website, what's the Twitter account I should follow? Oftentimes just having conversations with people is a really helpful way to do it. Scott, is there a Twitter, have you made a Twitter list or anything like that for MarTech info?

Scott: I haven't, but I'll be honest, actually half of my feed, probably two-thirds, three quarters of my feed, whether it's on Twitter or LinkedIn, is me sharing the other things that I come across. Okay. So yeah, basically anything I follow, you follow. It's interesting that I'm learning from, I turn around and I just share it immediately.

Eric: I think I do. So do I follow you? I need to double check. I'm resetting my Twitter. I decided I'm going to do it this weekend. Like I said, I've got the flight to Boston, I'm going to unfollow everything and I'm going to Refollow you will be one of the first people Refollow just because there's way too much noise to signal because I got on it in 13 years ago and just things have changed. People have changed. I need to reset it because there is value there. I just need to find it. So Scott, I want to talk about and we've touched on it a little bit, but for people listening who not only might not think of themselves as MarTech experts, but are maybe in organizations where there's not a lot of technology or modern technology being used within the marketing function, what should they be thinking about in terms of how they get started? What are the basics of MarTech implementation in the world of 2022?

Scott: Yeah, that's a good question and that's a hard one because I sort of look at MarTech. If we oversimplify, there's kind of two categories to it. There's like these core foundational systems that become your platforms around which your stack is built and then there's this incredible variety of specialist apps on top of that. And some of the things that are most exciting about this flurry of all these specialist apps, thousands of 'em is they're, many of them are relatively lightweight to adopt. Hey, if I'm doing a particular project and I'm experimenting with this thing, I could actually just go and I can get this way a credit card and I can run it and I'm actually within reasonable governings boundaries. I think that can be a very productive way to adopt new technology. But the caveat there is I'd be very nervous about doing that outside the framework of what a core platform stack foundation is.

And if your company basically does not have a good platform stack foundation sort of end running around that to experiment with little things out there on the side I think it's dangerous maybe dangerous is it? It's just at the end of the day, you're just not going to get the value out of this. Because ultimately the core of all this stuff comes down to the data of, okay, who are the people we're engaging with? What do we know about them for the things we're trying? Whether they're campaigns or programs or experiences, what's the data on what's actually working or not working? And if you don't have the mechanisms to essentially aggregate that data and be able to do that sort of oversight of it and learning from it, then yeah, you definitely end up in this mode where what's the Shakespeare quote sound in fury, signifying nothing. You can just waste a lot of energy and effort and not really get the value out of it. So boy, if your MarTech stack is something you're like, yeah, this really sucks I would be raising the flags, ringing the bells. This is, it's 2022. This is something you're going to want to <laugh> get resolved pretty quickly about now, <laugh>,

Eric: Well, bonus points for the first Shakespeare quote on scratch, that's going to have to go on the scratch hall of fame. Well done. But yeah, I mean maybe it does come back to, and it's been something that we've touched on a little bit, just thinking about it, bringing it to the top of your priority list, asking yourself and your team, Hey, where are we on this? Doing a bit of a gut check. If we were going to start this over from scratch, would there be more technology that we would bring in? Would there be different technology than we would bring in? But just the awareness that comes before any action that you want to take. So that's helpful for me, thinking about it and thinking of potential clients that we work with. It really does need to start there.

Scott: Yeah, I'm kind of imagining like, oh, if I'm in retail, and yeah, my whole business is based upon having retail locations where people are coming engaging with me, but oh yeah, actually the only actual retail locations we have are these sort of dodgy, rusted warehouses where people get mugged, even try and get to it. You would be like, Hey, something's seriously wrong here. We're a retail business and that's actually our retail channel. It's the same thing in a digital world with MarTech, if you've kind of basically got a dodgy rusty warehouse of a MarTech thing, but half of your universe is actually trying to engage with you digitally. Yeah, there's no way around it. You've got to fix that foundation.

Eric: So Scott, you probably know this quote, I forget who said it, you probably do, but the future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed yet when it comes to MarTech. What is the future that's already here but not evenly distributed? What's out there that we're all going to be using in a couple years? We just don't know it yet.

Scott: So I think we started out, you said I could have one theme I'm paying attention to, and I said, well, I kind of got two. The first one we talked about is this no code side of stuff, which I think is one of those cases. There are companies that have empowered a lot of people on the edge of their organization to just do amazing creative things. It's almost like all the noise you hear around the creator economy. Can you just imagine for a moment if we could harness the energy of that creator economy in the context of the corporate economy? I mean, just an order of magnitude change and there are companies that are doing this. This is a case where I think five, 10 years from now, this will just be what marketers have all these tools in all these capabilities, and we won't give it a second thought very closely related to that is a topic that I've been doing a lot of research on this past year or two which is I call it big ops and it's basically a bit of a play on big data because for 10, 15 years we were talking about, oh my goodness, big data.

We're going to have all this data. How do we even just manage it? And then how do we think about getting value out of it and insights out of it? And the good news is for most organizations, we're actually kind of getting our arms around data and big data, at least at the core. But what's fascinating is now what's happening on top of that data and the no code stuff is a bit of an example of this, but it's all across the company now. We have all these different apps and automations and algorithms and analysis and live agents and all this stuff that are all working with this data and they're contributing to it. They're reading from it, they're changing it.

It's not very well coordinated though in most companies. And this is where I see it as the challenge isn't now the big data, it's the big ops of all the operationalization that we're doing on top of that technical foundation. And this is a big challenge just as big data was a big challenge 15 years ago, I think for us trying to figure out like, oh my goodness, how do we orchestrate this stuff and manage it and govern it? That is kind of where we're at now. And there are definitely a set of companies that are like on that upper quartile of getting their arms around this. But I think for most of us, yeah, this is a big open challenge that it's going to take us a number of years to be able to make progress through.

Eric: It is interesting. The big data conversation, at least for me, has been coming up less recently. I actually don't think I've heard somebody use that term in a while. But you're right Now it's more about, okay, well it's there. We all know it's there. It's not about talking about the fact that we have data. Well, what do we actually do with it? How do you operationalize it? How do you build a culture that's open to it that knows how to use it, et cetera. Scott, are there a couple MarTech startups that you're really excited about? I mean, you've got obviously the 5,000 that you cover every year, but are there some that you want to call out that maybe we could include in the show notes just to let people click through and see what this kind of future of MarTech might look like?

Scott: Sure. Well, I'll give you a couple with the disclaimer that I actually advised these two companies. So this is why they're top of mind for me. One of them is a company called Offer Fit that is essentially they, they're tagline is from AB to ai. And basically they've created an AI engine for particularly loyalty or lifecycle marketing. Instead of having to do manual ab tests, they've created an AI engine that actually lets brands at scale run this continually optimized process of offers, upgrades, all these sorts of fun things. So they're cool to look at. And then another one is a company called Workato in sort of this big ops side of things that is a workflow automation, enterprise automation platform. But they've actually really leaned into this recognition that, okay, we got to do two things to make enterprise automation reality. First of all, we need to give the tools, make them accessible to a much broader set of people.

It's a bit of that sort of no code, low code empowerment. But at the same time, because we're talking about large organizations adopting this, we need to make sure we have a governance mechanism so that as we have all these different people who are doing these creative capabilities on top of the platform, that the guardrails are good, that we have the visibility into what's happening, that the accountability, the monitoring for that that's super important. Again, I think a lot of companies are going to be doing more stuff in that way, but Workato is one example you can look at of like, oh, so that's how a platform could do that.

Eric: Awesome. So Scott, we've covered a lot of ground. We are coming up on time before I let you go, one, be great to know where people can connect with you, and two, if people had to take one thing out of this conversation and do one thing differently tomorrow after listening to you and what you have to say, what would that be?

I think the one thing would be really deeply accept that your technology and operations capabilities are one of the strategic pillars of marketing. You don't have to be an operations person yourself. You don't have to be a technologist yourself. It's probably better if you aren't, but you got to make sure in your marketing organization you've got that as one of the fundamental pillars. Without it <laugh> the world is getting really difficult if you don't have that capability.

Scott: Yeah, it really doesn't get talked about enough. It doesn't. The technology, the operational side of things. But yeah, it's some it's, and part of it is because probably a lot of marketers don't come from that type of background. They don't come from the technical side or the operational side.

Eric: So I think that's a really great point. So Scott, if people want to connect with you, check out more about what you're doing, where would you like to direct them?

So my blog that covers this is chief martek.com and that's Chief Martek without the H at the end. Don't ask why poor branding choice do not come to me for branding recommendations. And then I'm also that same at Chief Martek without the H on LinkedIn and just on Twitter, and then just Scott drinker on LinkedIn. So feel free to reach out.

Eric: Awesome. Well, I will let you get back to the cold in Boston, which I will be experiencing in 20, 26 hours when I land. But Scott, this has been really educational, really informative, really inspiring for me. I'm going to start making a little bit more time to get out there in the MarTech world and get a taste of what's going on. I really appreciate you making the time. Thank you so much.

Scott: Thank you for having me as your guest. Have a great day.

Eric: Take care.

Scratch is a production of Rival. We are a marketing innovation consultancy that helps businesses develop strategies and capabilities to grow faster. If you want to learn more about us, check out we are rival.com. If you want to connect with me, email me eric@wearerival.com or find me on LinkedIn. If you enjoyed today's show, please subscribe, share with anyone you think might enjoy it, and please do leave us a review. Thanks for listening and see you next week.

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