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Rise of the Machines: Marketing Automation / Tech Budgets Already Eclipse General IT Spend

terminator_vision_02One of the more startling statements at last week's Cloud Business Summit (put on by our client Saugatuck Technology) was that in many firms the spend on marketing technology is greater than the IT department's spend for its own operations.  The POV is not unique.  Garter predicted as early as January 2012 that this would be the case (link to archived Webinar here).  But they esimated this would occur in 2017, not 2013!

If you're thinking, that marketing technology isn't big business let me make (a bit of) the case:

  • PayPal bought a relative newcomer Braintree to augment its mobile payment prowess for a cool $800 million last week; the main mission of the payments group at eBay according to spokesman at Cloud Business Summit is to "provide agency services to help our clients succeed at e-commerce."  He meant digital marketing agency services.
  • HubSpot has gone from 150 to 600 employees over the last few years while growing to more than 10,000 clients on its SaaS marketing automation (Inbound Marketing) platform.  Other marketing automation vendors (Marketo, Pardot, Act-On, etc., are on similar trajectories and have become acquisition targets of large tech players like
  • Programmatic or real-time bidding for online advertising is expected to account for 5 to 50 percent of all buying at major advertising agencies and media buying shops by 2015 according to panelists at the recent NYC Advertising Week event (see Adweek item here).  Oh, and the area of these companies that runs this stuff is called the "trading desk," and you know what automation did to stock market buying and selling...

So you have to start thinking about this stuff in the context of your marketing.  Even if you don't want to.  Where is automation likely to help you be a better field marketer?  Consumer brand marketer?  DR peddler?  Are you using the tools you have to their full benefit?  Do you have the right team in place to do so?  

My recent visits with clients and prospects indicate that not everyone is getting the most value from tools they have installed, are running tools that take too much effort to yield ROI, or have not yet even started climbing the marketing automation learning curve in any significant way.  The good news is, I think, that this trend is still new enough for many of us to take full advantage of.  But time is of the essence: the machines are here and we need to master them!

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