HomeBlog Will Marketing Automation Platforms Go Extinct or Rapidly Evolve to Keep Up With Demand Marketers’ Needs?

Will Marketing Automation Platforms Go Extinct or Rapidly Evolve to Keep Up With Demand Marketers’ Needs?

March 22, 2019 | By Laura Cross

  • Marketing automation platforms (MAPs) have been at the center of the martech stack, but they no longer reflect the dynamics of the modern buying process
  • Marketers don’t have to accept that MAPs alone meet their demand marketing needs; it’s time to rethink where a MAP fits – or doesn’t
  • At this year’s SiriusDecisions Summit, attendees will learn how alternate technology solutions offer features and functionality that go beyond what a MAP provides

Extinction is often caused by changing environmental conditions. When conditions change, some species develop adaptations that allow them to survive and reproduce, while others do not. If changes to the environment happen very gradually, species will sometimes evolve the necessary adaptations over several generations.

Businessman using modern interface payments on virtual screen

Marketing automation platforms (MAPs) entered the demand marketer’s universe in the early 2000s. Since then, MAPs have become the center of the universe to many, but they have not evolved to keep up with the needs of the modern demand marketer. Over the past 15-plus years, demand marketers have painstakingly pushed, pulled and prodded the MAP to keep it centrally positioned.

Today, we’re at an inflection point in b-to-b marketing technology. Newer demand technology capabilities are available – and a demand marketer’s tech stack does not require the MAP to be at the center.

Evolution has pushed demand marketers’ needs from leads-based to buying group–based marketing motions. We’ve seen movement away from rigid, rules-based workflows toward adaptive engagement directed by artificial intelligence. We’ve evolved from Boolean logic to machine learning, and we’ve moved beyond targeting to a focus on personalization. We’ve seen marketers expand data-driven strategies beyond data points to being insights-driven with account intelligence fused throughout the data.

New technologies are energizing, upgrading and extending traditional MAPs. So, the question is: Will MAPs evolve successfully to the next generation, or are these new technologies and environmental, competitive and buyer changes putting them at risk of extinction? Will MAPs be replaced by a new species of marketing automation that is better adapted to the environment of the contemporary business buyer?

The answer isn’t clear. Some species are endangered for a long time and come back from the brink of extinction. But b-to-b marketers need to consider that MAPs as they exist today must evolve or risk extinction.

In a provocative session at SiriusDecisions 2019 Summit, Jonathan Tam and I will examine demand marketers’ business requirements and how MAPs support these needs. We’ll explore thinking beyond the MAP as the center of the demand marketer’s universe, reviewing the requirements to see where MAP is on the evolution spectrum – positioned for rapid adaptation or becoming threatened or extinct in the wild. Please join us in Austin in May to learn more about the changing MAP landscape!

2020 SiriusDecisions Summit in Austin, TX

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Laura Cross

Laura is a results-oriented marketing professional with more than 15 years of experience in strategic planning, demand creation, marketing operations and public relations. She understands demand creation for b-to-b companies and is passionate about companies with complex business models, especially those that sell to – and through – a channel.

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