MarketingTechLandscape.jpgDom Nicastro recently covered my latest crowded marketing technology landscape. The key takeaway? It's big.

In fact, it's far bigger than this graphic portrays. In the flood of comments on my accompanying blog post, you can see the dozens of amazing companies that have chimed in to kindly point out that I missed them. (Mea culpa.)

Noreen Seebacher followed up with a post that expressed most people's visceral reaction to the scale of this landscape: "Pass the Infographic and the Excedrin: Digital Marketing is Too Complicated."

 It is complex. But one way to tackle it is to focus on one piece at a time. So let's zoom in for a moment on the platform layer, in particular the Website/WCM/WEM category -- i.e., the ever-expanding assortment of acronyms formerly known as "CMS." For shorthand, let's just call it the CMS category.

Saluting the Category that Started It All


The Web CMS category is fascinating in so many ways. Here are nine observations I had about it when working on this landscape:

First: Web CMS is a large category. I included 38 vendors/platforms in my landscape graphic, but there are many more. Just check out CMSWire's own extensive CMS Software Directory.

Second: CMS is one of the oldest categories that has been around since the inception of the commercial web. Many of the original software platforms from the first dot-com remain active today, although they've certainly evolved. For example: Vignette, which was one of the very first enterprise class CMS tools on the web, launched in 1995 and is now a part of OpenText, which itself was one of the early pioneers of web technology. Yet while there's been consolidation, there's still tremendous diversity among vendors operating today.

Third: CMS is arguably the only required category in the entire landscape. You can build a business without a marketing automation platform, but everybody needs a website. You either have a Web CMS or a product from its sister category, e-commerce -- which are, crudely speaking, catalog-centric CMSs.

Fourth: All roads lead to the website (and hence the CMS). Or at least all other marketing technologies. Email marketing? Links to the website. Social media marketing? Links to the website. Content marketing? Links to the website. And so on.

Even marketing technologies that don't directly link to the website indirectly lead people there eventually. Behind the scenes, most marketing operations technologies touch the website in some way too. It is the center of gravity of the entire marketing technology landscape.