Day 2 Keynote – Search Marketers Are The Trailblazers In The Emerging Martech Era


1. Scott Brinker (@chiefmartec)


1. Chris Sherman (@CJSherman)

Search marketers will, according to Brinker, “inherit the earth, or at least martech.”

The originator of the infamous martech infographics reviews how the original versions from 2011 listed several hundred logos, while the 2014 version had 1,000 logos of distinct marketing technology companies; the 2015 version had close to 2,000; and the 2017 version has more than 5,000, despite the constant assurances of pundits and media that, like with the “death” of SEO, the martech space would consolidate.

Brinker points out, however, that there has been some consolidation in that smaller marketing firms have been getting acquired by larger firms – and the original founders of these smaller firms then cash out after acquisition and go off to fund dozens more smaller firms. These smaller firms are also driving significant marketing innovation.

In order to appreciate the martech landscape, it’s useful to consider certain key shifts that have changed in recent years:

Lower barrier of entry for software development – It’s never been easier to build software now that so many assets are available in an open-source format (rather than having to buy expensive development licenses). Additional developments such as cloud storage and sharing, free real-time chatting and conference communications and the increased feasibility of distributed teams across the world has made developing software exponentially easier than it was 10 years ago.

Lower barrier to selling software – Software as a service (SaaS) and freemium (initial free trial with the option to upgrade to a paid subscription) are have become extremely popular business models with strong adoption. Studies show that on average, as of April of this year, enterprise companies in a variety of verticals used, on average anywhere from 800-1200 cloud-based software applications. Of these, marketing technologies were the most commonly purchased.

Entrepreneurship is growing across multiple verticals – Factors such as the viability of smaller and virtual businesses, consumer tech disruptions such as mobile phones, globalization and Moore’s Law have helped marketing, in Brinker’s words, “move beyond advertising.”

Greater appetite for marketing technology – On the buy site, the appetite for software is enormous, thanks to the such changes as the growth of new marketing channels, more strategic departmental intersections, a growing emphasis on full customer lifecycle tracking and the growing role of marketing as a revenue producer.

Brinker notes that for all these significant touchpoints, marketers increasingly act as the central hub that owns these activities, similar to the way IT departments were once popularly the gatekeepers of all enterprise technology in the 1990s and early 2000s. “[Marketers] don’t run everything that touches everything,” says Brinker, “But we provide governance for how technology interacts with customers.”

Brinker notes that martech sits at the nexus of marketing, technology and management, and that major media publications such as Harvard Business Review, Financial Times and Forbes have all started to embrace the concept of a “Chief Martech Officer.” In a recent survey, 53% of surveyed companies stated they already have a staffer explicitly in charge of martech, and 21% planned to add someone in the role in the near future.

Brinker caps his session with a list of “9 reasons why search marketers make great martech leaders”:

  1. Familiarity with managing an evolving tech landscape – including SEO, content, social, mobile, video, call, local, affiliate and e-commerce.
  2. Tendency to approach performance-based marketing analytically
  3. Tendency to embrace A/B testing to bridge the gap between “marketing art and science”
  4. Familiarity with running agile marketing and testing to quickly iterate with feedback loops
  5. Ability to craft effective user experience, such as by way of conversion optimization and tracking the customer journey.
  6. Ability to operate digital marketing campaigns at massive scale
  7. Ability to adapt to major environmental changes, such as changes from Google to algorithms and bidding
  8. Ability to strategically blend paid, owned and earned campaigns
  9. Ability to design contextual customer journeys across multiple touchpoints, from search queries to ad copy to landing pages to follow-up.

Navneet Kaushal is the Editor-in-Chief of PageTraffic Buzz. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet is also the CEO of SEO Services company PageTraffic which is one of the leading search marketing company in Asia.