I recently came across the Marketing Technology Landscape infographic below. Like the LUMAscapes that undoubtedly inspired it, it is meant to shock the viewer with the sheer volume of logos included. 

Naturally, my first reaction was that there must be some grade inflation going on here -- perhaps a few categories had been invented, or perhaps the definition of "marketing technology" stretched to include more companies than reality would warrant. What I found, instead, surprised me: the mass of vendors included appeared to be quite legitimate. 

So my skepticism turned to nerdy joy -- finally here was visual proof for what I've known at a gut level, as well as through sometimes painful experiences: we are being crushed under the weight of so many marketing tools. Yes, many of these tools are amazing advances, and they are supposed to enable and inspire us, but at the end of the day, they are making decisions harder, not easier, and are not helping CMOs and their direct reports gain truly actionable insights. 

And they're not helping disparate marketing teams -- the quants and the artists -- collaborate or gain a common view of the customer. And they're certainly not doing enough to help CEOs and Boards of Directors with the timely insights needed to instill confidence in the right actions, plans and budgets. That task will have to be taken on by the next wave of marketing technology innovators.
 
I just wanted to watch more dry demos of IT software. Instead, YouTube insists that I watch a boob video. Can this possibly be what CMOs -- in this case, Splunk's Steven Sommer -- want for their brands?

For those not familiar with the company, Splunk enjoyed one of the hottest IPO's of 2012, even tripping up NYSE's circuit breakers due to intense trading. Yet the dynamic nature of social media, and in particular online video, is such that they find themselves peer-positioned with a featured video whose preview is of a woman holding her breasts.

To be clear, the promoted video is a harmless one -- a Thai commercial that's found new life -- and 33 million views -- on YouTube. There are two real problems with it. First of all, it's just not that funny. If you want funny, you should turn your attention to videos of Japanese cats jumping into boxes (how that's gotten only 8 million views is anybody's guess).

More importantly, the Thai commercial -- while appropriate for a fun-loving brand of "slimming Green tea" -- is completely distracting and utterly irrelevant to, say, a mild-mannered IT director's quest for the right tools to "collect data from tens of thousands of sources, search analyze and alert...all the while scaling to big data proportions on commodity hardware." Surely even the most steely-nerved prospective customer, hell-bent on taming their machine data, will be tempted to take a break from signing that Purchase Order for Splunk 4.3 -- a big step up from the already "ground-breaking" 4.0 and 4.2 releases though it may be -- and instead watch a humorous Thai commercial.

No CMO in their right mind would want that experience for their customers. This is bad news for YouTube, and good news for Vimeo and others. As video matures as a content medium for B2B marketers, they'll have to give more thought to how their customers and prospects experience their brand. And one that's known for its Big Data innovation and having a CEO twice Mark Zuckerberg's age is unlikely to go for this type of funny. 
 
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If you're like me, and you procrastinated reading Time magazine's cover story, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us, here's some additional motivation. On Sunday, as I attacked Steven Brill's 26,000 word piece, I tweeted out a few excerpts. I've re-posted those 16 tweets below. It's a summary of sorts, in 2,000 characters. I am far from an expert on healthcare, but I found this to be a well-written and engaging article. 

My thoughts kept turning to: "what technology solutions can we apply to solve this problem?" A lot of the problems outlined in this essay seem intractable, but many appear to be ones that can be improved with greater information symmetry and coordination. Perhaps what the world needs is a "Yammer for medical bills?"  If you have any opinions on the matter, please share them below. 

 
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Source: Moviedraft.com
"We need to buy more marketing companies." 
-Marc Benioff, 02.28.13

"Marketo announced today that it plans to conduct a registered I.P.O. of its common stock"  
-Marketo Press Release, 02.26.13

It's like that awkward moment in a romantic comedy, when everyone knows that two characters should get together, except for the protagonists themselves. It's come to that with Salesforce.com and Marketo. As a proud alum of Salesforce.com, and satisfied former client and friend of Marketo, it's especially frustrating for me to watch this obvious love match between best-of-breed Software-as-a-Service companies take so long to happen.

Of course, the would-be couple only has themselves to blame. Salesforce initially looked to build its Marketing Cloud with sexy social enterprise acquisitions -- namely Radian6 and Buddy Media -- which were targeted to consumer brands more than its bread and butter B2B enterprises. At the time, this seemed to be a bold -- and perhaps even brilliant -- move by Salesforce, as it instantly gave it credibility not only with consumer brands such as Burberry, but with CMOs of all stripes. But as is often the case with M&A, the company hit some road bumps along the way.

Marketo, for its part, also looked to sprinkle on itself the magic dust of social, with an acquisition of Crowd Factory -- a B2B social application vendor -- in April 2012. 

But the time has come for each to put its youthful dalliances with social enterprise apps in the rearview mirror. Marketo finds itself now competing with Oracle, as a result of Oracle's $871 million acquisition of Eloqua. If there is one rule of survival for mature enterprise software technologies, it is this: do not mess with Larry Ellison. Oracle, of course, is Salesforce.com's nemesis. One analyst, Rick Sherlund of Nomura, even praised the Eloqua deal because it "should allow Oracle to better compete with Salesforce.com." 

But the synergy between these two companies goes beyond merely having a common enemy. For all the sizzle surrounding Salesforce.com's re-positioning itself over the years as a Cloud Computing leader, Social Enterprise vendor, and now champion of Customer Companies (though evidently an enemy of English teachers everywhere), at its core it is a SaaS CRM vendor for B2B companies. And these companies are embracing marketing automation technologies at a rapid pace. So it's only fitting that the company's next acquisition will be Marketo. I just hope for both that they don't wait too long, as there is an unglamorous but reliable German suitor waiting in the wings.