In December, B2C marketing analysts Joe Stanhope and Rusty Warner and B2B marketing analyst Lori Wizdo hosted the second annual martech roundtable to help marketers make informed decisions against the backdrop of these exciting and disruptive trends in marketing technology. In the third and final installment of our martech roundtable webinar recap, we’ll discuss important recent events and trends in the martech industry.

Marketing Clouds Have Entered The Customer Data Platform Market — What Does That Mean?

2019 was a busy year for customer data platform (CDP) coverage at Forrester, showing that leveraging customer data for marketing remains critical and still very challenging. For B2B marketers, the very concept of a CDP pushes back against the legacy misconceptions where inaccurate and incomplete data are merely hard facts of life. Yet the CDP space, particularly for B2C marketers, is still very much emergent, lacking both a clear definition and functional maturity.

But by far the biggest deal in CDPs this year was the entrance, or planned entrance, of major vendors into the, or around the, CDP space. Most notably Oracle, Adobe, and Salesforce have released or plan to release CDP-like offerings. This fundamentally changes the CDP solution landscape for enterprise buyers. These capabilities are important for maximizing the utility of marketing clouds. They also redefine what CDPs can be because the vendors are building them differently from independent CDPs, with a much bigger emphasis on the full customer lifecycle and an intelligence layer.

This is generally great news because it gives buyers more options to consider to solve for their particular use cases and pushes the CDP category to a more effective end state. With all this in mind, remember: Customer data management is a strategic initiative, not a platform play.

What’s Happening In Identity Resolution?

Unsurprisingly, identity resolution continued its popularity with marketers in 2019, and it’s maintaining that momentum into 2020. B2C marketers must use identity resolution capabilities to support marketing in both moments and journeys across the customer lifecycle. The category continues to expand and mature in three important ways:

  1. A shift to quality. Identity resolution sophistication is increasing, and buyers are prioritizing precision and quality beyond brute-force scale and match rates.
  2. Firms want control. To maximize data value and hedge against data access, leakage, and regulatory challenges, brands want to control their data and identity capabilities, so our most successful clients are rethinking how they manage and track their data and identity supply chain.
  3. Interest in the identity graph. It’s not just a cool term that makes you sound smart. Brands need to assess and understand the identity graphs that power customer engagement solutions and are increasingly considering investing in customized and private graph options.

What Are The Takeaways From IBM’s Divestiture Of Martech?

In 2019, IBM sold a large portion of its marketing technology portfolio to Centerbridge Partners, a private equity firm, resulting in the launch of a new, independent marketing technology company named Acoustic. The move by IBM was not a surprise. The reality in 2019 is that enterprise martech is an incredibly complex and competitive market, and it requires focus, investment, and critical mass for success. Several firms have divested marketing technology in recent years, such as Experian and Teradata. IBM has recently divested numerous application technologies, martech among them, a move that closely aligns with its overall strategy that focuses on the cloud, foundational technologies such as AI, and services. It’s also worth noting that Centerbridge also owns Syncsort (which acquired the former Pitney Bowes customer engagement solutions).

For marketers, particularly IBM marketing technology clients, this move is a positive one. IBM martech gets a new lease on life in the form of Acoustic, as it promises a renewed focus on marketing technology and accelerated product delivery. It’s not every day we get a new but relatively mature entrant into the martech category. Looking at Acoustic specifically, it has really hit the ground running and is basically a 1,000-person startup with a robust martech portfolio. Acoustic now owns former IBM Watson modules for campaign automation based on Silverpop (Acoustic Campaign), content hub (Acoustic Content), real-time personalization (Acoustic Personalization), customer experience analytics (Acoustic Analytics), and universal behavior exchange (Acoustic Exchange).

We expect 2020 to be an interesting and consequential year for marketing technology. And we’d love to hear how these martech events and trends are impacting your marketing efforts in 2020. Please contact us to request an inquiry to discuss the topic further.

This is the final blog post in a three-piece series recapping the December 2019 martech roundtable. Be sure to read part 1 on Joe Stanhope’s Forrester blog and part 2 on Lori Wizdo’s Forrester blog.