Scott Brinker on stage talking about the growth in marketing technologists today during his keynote at the MarTech Boston conference.
Scott Brinker talked about the growth in marketing technologists today during his keynote at the MarTech Boston conference. PHOTO: Hill Media Group

BOSTON — Marketing technology is getting real. Or, more specifically, marketing technologists are getting real.

Real, as in marketing technologist has become a recognized profession operating at the intersection of marketing, technology and management. 

Marketing Technologist Grows to 'Real' Profession

Conference founder Scott Brinker drove these points home during his morning keynote to the near-1,500 attendees of the Boston MarTech conference. 

MarTech returned to its roots today — downtown Boston (this time at the Hynes Convention Center) — where three years ago Brinker launched his annual conference. The conference has since spread to San Francisco and Europe, with a San Jose event coming next spring.

Not sold on Brinker's marketing technologist argument? About 400 people attended the first MarTech in Boston. And 2,000 attended the San Francisco MarTech event in March. 

Brinker has seen the trajectory of the marketing technologist profession since his initial conference:

"Three years later it's a real profession, a global profession at companies throughout the Fortune 500," said Brinker, creator of the Chief Martech blog and vice president of platform ecosystem for HubSpot, an inbound marketing platform provider located in Cambridge, Mass.

He went on to share research which found 52 percent of organizations now have someone in charge of marketing technology.

Marketer's Holy Grail: Quality Data

Five disruptors are shaping the MarTech landscape today: digital transformation, microservices and APIs, vertical competition, digital everything and artificial intelligence.

Marketing technologists are tasked with finding increasingly elusive marketing intelligence in the midst of such disruption.

And that comes from having good data.

"There is a lot of data in organizations, but not a lot of good data," Brinker told the audience. 

Good artificial intelligence, for instance, depends on "good data." 

AI apps abound, but it's all about the data, a fact not lost on those in the audience this morning:

"How do we get really effective at quality data management?" Brinker asked the crowd. Develop marketing intelligence around that data, he said.

MarTech: Breaking Down Boundaries

Organizations need to synthesize marketing, technology and management into one experience, Brinker said.

Marketing focuses on campaigns and delivering "remarkable" customer experiences. Technology is about user experience, design and things like growth hacking. Management helps keep all of these elements in harmony.

These disruptions, Brinker said, come together in an "explosion of digital services." The interplay between marketing, customer experiences and digital products are all together.

"The boundaries blur, and that's a good thing," Brinker said. "MarTech isn’t just a technology. It is people and processes that leverage technology in pursuit of that brand ideal." 

Everyone who affects customer experience in some way are marketers, Brinker added. 

MarTech Reality: Growth

What do chief marketers really want? Brinker cited a CMO Council survey which found CMOs are concerned with:

  • Accelerating revenue growth across the organization
  • Optimizing customer experience strategy
  • Championing customer-centric corporate culture and mindset.

"In MarTech," he said, "we're a united tribe, but not a homogenuous one."

All that aside, marketers have great challenges in a bottom-line world.

Brinker admitted dealing with technology and customer experiences is exhausting, a mission that leads to many naps.

Rishi Dave, CMO of Dun & Bradstreet, joined Brinker on stage today and summed it up nicely. 

The mission he was charged when he joined his company?

"Grow the company," he said.