The Quest for the Holy Grail: Martech Edition

Integrate Thy Martech

There’s a scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where God appears in the clouds — in delightfully unsubtle Monty Python fashion — and commands Arthur and his knights to seek the Holy Grail. (Arthur: “Good idea, O Lord!” God: “‘Course it’s a good idea!”)

I was reminded of that scene when reading the new Marketing Technology Overload? report released this week from the Tech Marketing Council.

They asked senior marketing leaders — as many have in the past — what features do they want from martech solutions? The respondents answered the same way that thousands of marketers have been answering that question for the past half a decade:

Most Important Martech Feature: Easy, Fast to Integrate

The #1 answer: Easy, Fast to Integrate.

Marketers want the martech products they buy to “integrate quickly with no fuss.” This was the same answer last year (2020), in a report from the CDP Institute showing why integration is by far the most important criteria when selecting martech. And the same in another report the year before that (2019), which I discussed in a detailed post explaining why not all integrations are created equal. And so on.

For martech vendors — whose product managers are continually seeking the best way to serve customers better than their competitors — this is the equivalent of a booming voice in the sky: “Arthur! Integrate thy software!”

(Every marketer everywhere: “Good idea, O Lord!”)

Now, to be fair, the martech industry has made significant progress on the integration front over the past couple of years. SaaS companies now have a median of 15 integrations each — and app platforms have 500+.

But it’s a big martech landscape out there, and with The Great App Explosion underway, it’s not shrinking any time soon. The feedback from martech customers is unequivocal: collectively, we need to do better.

Some of the most interesting success stories in martech (and really, in overall enterprise tech) now are companies that leverage integration as a core part of their product strategy and value proposition. It’s not an afterthought or an eat-your-spinach, if-we-must task at the bottom of the feature prioritization list.

It’s a new competitive landscape of heterogeneous stacks as virtual platforms, with the winners focused on aggregation more than consolidation.

The value of martech products do not end at their own codebases in today’s environment. In an API-powered world in the cloud, that’s merely where their value begins.

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