The best products or services are only as good as the tools you have to market them effectively. That's a simple business reality, and one MarTech — the marketing technology conference — seeks to address.

Promoted as a vendor-agnostic forum, the second MarTech conference will take place tomorrow and Wednesday in San Francisco.

More than 1,000 delegates and 65 exhibiting companies will attend the event. The conference offers insight about marketing technologies and ways to integrate them into marketing strategies and operations

The inaugural MarTech conference was in Boston last year.

Big and Getting Bigger

Marketing and technology are not exactly chocolate and peanut butter, historically speaking. They were once regarded as separate departments, with separate functions and goals.

Scott Brinker — co-founder and chief technology officer of ion interactive, the author of the Chief Marketing Technologist blog and a CMSWire contributing author — dreamed of bringing them together.

“Marketing has become a technology-powered discipline. Therefore marketing organizations must infuse technical capabilities into their DNA,” Brinker said. He stressed the need for IT and marketing to work together in today's fast-paced and technology-dependent business environment.

CMOs will spend an estimated $32 billion on marketing software by 2018, according to Chris Elwell, CEO of Third Door Media, the MarTech conference producer.

In fact, the industry is growing so fast that the conference series is expanding abroad. MarTech Europe will take place Oct. 20 and 21 at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London.

In 2014, Brinker estimated there were 947 marketing technology companies. This year, the number is approaching 2,000.

Without a doubt, he argued, marketing technology is growing across all categories.

“Even in classic categories, such as email marketing and web analytics — where there have been plenty of mergers, exits, and pivots to other categories — we’re seeing new entrants with fresh ideas,” Brinker said.

Brinker said categories involving content marketing and social media marketing had many new entrants. So did combined categories such as marketing automation, campaign management and lead management.

On the Agenda

What will attendees hear at MarTech this week? Here's a sampling:

Joseph Kurian is head of marketing technology and innovation at Aetna, the third largest health insurance company in the US. He plans to discuss digital health strategies, including new forms of consumer engagement made possible by wearables and the connected health ecosystem.

Saad Hameed, head of marketing technology at LinkedIn, will discuss the actionable frameworks used to create, define and guide LinkedIn's marketing technology function.

Cynthia Gumbert is vice president, digital and new accounts marketing at CA Technologies. She will explain a technique known as blueprinting. It simplifies visually telling the story of the current and the desired state of marketing. It also helps maps vision to delivery, identifies all involved technologies, vendors and processes, amplifies and isolates needs, gaps and duplications, and aligns technology with marketing, data and lead processes.

Laura Ramos, a principal analyst at Forrester serving CMOs, will discuss how companies can use their technology prowess to build a customer obsessed enterprise.

Mayur Gupta is global head of marketing technology and Innovation for Kimberly Clark and a CMSWire contributing author. He will explain how to consciously put people into your marketing technology solutions — and make customers, clients and employees the focus of your technology stack.

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