For the first time, the majority of participants (52%) described their martech stack as an integrated multi-system architecture.
In other words, most marketers reported having a best-of-breed stack – with lots of products from lots of different vendors – but one integrated Stack so that these different apps share data with a common record keeping system (a CDP, CRM, or marketing automation platform). For many of them, they also had an explicit or implicit orchestration engine connected to a marketing automation platform.
Now you can assume that the members of the CDP Institute are generally ahead of the curve when it comes to martech best practices for integrating multiple systems. Why else should they be there? Don’t most golf club members play golf? But there is a difference between getting interested in CDPs and actually being successful implemented a fully integrated stack.
In the 2017 report, only 37% of CDP members stated that they had an integrated multi-system architecture. (And I assume it was marketers who joined the CDP institute three years ago in particular ahead of the curve as it was still a cutting-edge concept at the time.)
A few years later, the built-in stacks increased from 37% to 52%.
That’s a good sign that our industry is making progress. “Integration” has been the primary pain point for marketers throughout the history of the marketing technology landscape. Marketers love their best-of-breed tools, but they kept getting frustrated that those tools didn’t get along. It was like going out to dinner with two of your best friends, but they hate each other and spend the whole evening alternating between loud arguments and sullen silence.
The thing is, this has always been a solvable problem. Martech vendors could invest their research and development costs into integration as easily as any other feature they came up with on a whiteboard. Leaders in this space could choose to open and become real platforms as a core tenet of their strategy. If you are looking for meaningful points of differentiation, the depth of integration is a broad axis of possibilities.
What forced the problem was that customers finally drew a line in the sand: if it doesn’t integrate, we won’t buy it.
Indeed, one of the most notable findings from the CDP Institute’s report was that among the various criteria that companies consider most importantly when choosing marketing technology, Integration is by far the most important thing.
It’s more important than the price.
It’s more important than the running costs.
It matters more than the breadth or sophistication of the features.
It’s even more important than usability – although this is next most important.
The distinction between “executives” (in blue) and “others” (in red) in the table above from the report (you really commented in orange): Executives all reported an integrated architecture, above-average data protection management and a relatively high overall Satisfaction with their Martech systems.
Regardless of whether you are a leader or want to be one, integration is still the most important criterion.
If you’re a martech vendor and you’ve been waiting for a sign from heaven where to focus on improving your product, the angels trumpet.
PS Would you like to learn more about the remarkable results in this customer data status report? Check out last week’s episode The Martech Show: Insights from the CDP Whisperer with David Raab, Founder of the CDP Institute (and the entire CDP movement).
In addition to excellent research on Martech and CDPs, he also brought dolls:
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