Ops Cast

The Coming Martech Supercollision with Scott Brinker

February 05, 2024 Michael Hartmann, Mike Rizzo, Scott Brinker Episode 103
Ops Cast
The Coming Martech Supercollision with Scott Brinker
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Show Notes Transcript

In todays episode, we talk about the coming (maybe already here) Martech Supercollision, joined by the one and only Scott Brinker.  Scott has always been fascinated by the intersection of technology platforms and ecosystems and marketing strategy and operations. He has been called the "godfather of martech" by AdAge, has been analyzing marketing technology and its impact on marketing organizations for more than 16 years as the editor of the chiefmartec.com blog. He serves as VP Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot, helping to grow and nurture the company's community of technology partners. He also authored the best-selling book Hacking Marketing and co-authored the best-seller The New Automation Mindset.


Tune in to hear:

  1. Scott discuss the unexpected growth of the Marketing Technology (Martech) Landscape since its first iteration. He reflects on how the list of vendors has expanded significantly by 2023, exceeding initial expectations.
  2. Key Themes in Martech: The episode delves into three major themes identified by Scott: Data, Composability, and AI. Each theme is discussed in detail:
    • Data: Covers the evolution of data integration, the concept of a continuous data integration "flywheel," the debate between consolidation vs. aggregation, and the idea of fragile vs. anti-fragile systems.
    • Composability: Focuses on the changing role of software developers, the blend of packaged and custom software, the democratization of software development (including "citizen coders"), and the shift from Big Data to Big Ops.
    • AI in Martech: Discusses the balance between quality and quantity in AI applications, the potential for AI/ML to automate advanced use cases, and the concept of "Martec’s Law" related to the pace of technological change and organizational adaptation.
  3. Scott gives his predictions about significant changes expected in the Martech landscape by the end of 2024, exploring how current trends might evolve and become more mainstream in the field.


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Michael Hartmann:

Hello, welcome to another episode of OpsCast brought to you by MarketingOps.com. Sorry, MarketingOps.com powered by the MoPros. I'm your host Michael Hartman joined today, uh, with. One co host, Mike Rizzo. Hey everybody.

Mike Rizzo:

I got my workout in this morning. I was going to skip it because our guest is, like, incredibly important to me and I did not want to miss out on actually, like, chatting for the first time, long overdue, on the show. So I was like, I'm going to skip it. And then I was mad at myself and I was like, no, I'm

Michael Hartmann:

going to get this done. Good, good. Setting a good example. Did not get my workout in yet today, but I will. All right. So, uh, let's not, let's not waste any more time and get right to our guests. So today we're going to be talking about, uh, what our guests has coined. I think the Martech super collision. And so that is the one and only Scott Brinker, um, probably does not really need an introduction, but let's give it a shot anyway. Scott has always been fascinated by the intersection of technology, platforms, and ecosystems as in marketing strategy and operations. He has been called the godfather of Martech by AdAge. Nice. Nicely done there and has been analyzing marketing technology and its impact on marketing organizations for more than 16 years as the editor of chief martech. com. He serves as VP platform ecosystem at HubSpot in that he is there in that role is helping to grow the nurture of the company's community of technology partners. He is also author of the bestselling book, hacking marketing and coauthored the bestseller, the new automation mindset. So Scott, thanks for joining us. And I agree with Mike long overdue.

Scott Brinker:

Oh, thanks, Michael. Mike, it's an honor to be here with you.

Michael Hartmann:

No, I think the honor's all ours. So, you know, I think, you know, you're, you're probably, you know, one of the things that is, is made you the godfather of. The space, right. Is the creation of the marketing technology landscape. So, which is, I think, is it going on 10 years now, close to that? I can't remember exactly, but yeah, 11, 11. Okay. There we go. So I couldn't remember if we were just past or just over just under, but, um, so did you have imagined back then when you first put that together, that. Yeah, you'd be where it is. It would be where it is today in 2023. Now, 2024.

Scott Brinker:

Oh, good Lord. No. Yeah. Um, I mean, I think my initial sense was probably the same as most people's. Like, when the 1st 1 came out in 2011, had around 150 different technologies on it that, like, Wow, this is a really big and complicated space, um, you know, people are expecting like, well, this is probably going to consolidate real soon, um, so, uh,

Michael Hartmann:

Every year, I think that's going to happen and it just does not, right?

Scott Brinker:

You know, I mean, this is, boy, we can go way down deep on that topic. I'll tell you part of the challenge is even where do you draw the boundaries? What do you consider on the MarTech landscape? Both what is marketing? Because that continually evolves. Where is its boundaries? You know, but also you have such a range from these like, you know, very large platforms, uh, you know, like HubSpot, Salesforce, Adobe. All the way down to these like, I mean, like plugins for WordPress, you know, that do one particular thing really well. And so it's, it's just more and more software is out there in the world of all kinds. Yeah. It's a bit of a challenge to figure out like, well, what do you even want to define as Martek?

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah. Yeah. I don't want to go down too far, but I found it fascinating. I think, I think we, there was just a marketing ops. com kind of, uh, survey done recently, where, which asked people about their Martek stacks and what was in it. And it included things like spreadsheets. Which, you know, do you include that in it or not? Like, I think you. But you can make a case either way. Anyway, I don't want to take us too far down there. All right. So I think the majority of what we wanted to kind of try to cover today, and I don't think we'll come near to replicating what you covered at Mopspalooza back in November of 2023, but you did a keynote presentation where you talked about what you call the Martek super collision. So why don't we just start off with like, definitionally, what do you, like, what do you mean by the Martek super collision?

Scott Brinker:

So we all know there's a ton of things changing here. I mean, let's face it. There's, that's pretty much the history of Martech. Uh, you know, as it's been constantly evolving. Um, for me, I feel like there are three really significant changes that are happening. Uh, there's this change happening at the data layer. You know, we can dig into that a bit of, you know, it used to be all these different MarTech apps had, you know, their own isolated siloed database, uh, and we moved to a world where increasingly through a combination of integration strategies and then also things like cloud data warehouses, you know, where it's a much more open flowing of data across apps, not just even within marketing, but like across the organization. More broadly, you've got that. Yeah. You know, then there's this somewhat techie concept, um, with really big business implications called composability, you know, this idea that, you know, apps used to be kind of what you got out of the box was what you got out of the box and you had to adapt to that. To a world where increasingly the things we use are more and more, uh, configurable, customizable, and with some of these interesting technologies out there, you can actually start to combine things across different app boundaries into workflows and customer experiences. That's composability. And then the third thing, of course, of course is AI, you know, and all the innovation that's happening with that. And so any one of these like major trends would be earth shattering and its implications for the MarTech stack and MarTech vendors and how marketers are actually going to operate with this stuff. But the fact that you've got the three of them and they intersect with each other, they, they, um, they accelerate, uh, you know, each other, it's definitely a one plus one plus one doesn't just equal three. It like equals. Uh, and so it was for me envisioning like those three major trends like smashing together as The MarTech Super Collision.

Michael Hartmann:

Well, you're, you're up in the Northeast, right? This reminds me of the book and the story about the perfect storm. Right? Like all those things.

Scott Brinker:

Great. That's like, as I recall, that story didn't have a happy ending. No,

Michael Hartmann:

I know. No, it didn't. Um, it's a good story. Maybe for some it

Mike Rizzo:

won't. And you know, for others, it will. I don't know.

Michael Hartmann:

That was not my intent. Actually, I appreciate the, uh, the response. I didn't like, I just thought of that as we were talking. I was like, Oh, this reminds me of the perfect storm, right? All these things coming together and sort of making more than the sum of their parts. Anyway, so yeah, so let's, I mean, I do want to dig into all those things. So you talked about data and what's happening there, composability, and then AI or machine learning. I think I, I, I think people, I know I use them interchangeably, I think sometimes, and I'm not sure that that's the right thing to do, but that's a. Probably a nuance we can get to maybe at some other time, but, um, you've already kind of walked us through like high level, what those are. So in, in the data part, um, In your keynote, you had several sort of points. Let me, and, uh, there was more than this, but you talked about the evolution of integration of data, and I think it went not even that long ago, right? We, I think if you pulled marketing ops, folks, integration of data was. Very top of mind because of all that. Um, but you talked about an evolution from these functional ones to then getting data warehouses or, you know, whether enterprise or customer ones, CDPs, and then now some of the implications overlapping with machine learning or AI, kind of creating new concepts. Can you maybe walk through like high level of like, what do you think the major things that are like break down the data component of the super collision that is happening now?

Scott Brinker:

Yeah, so you're right. I mean, I've seen survey after survey after survey consistently over the years. Um, that the number one challenge or like one of the top three challenges, you know, for marketing operations has always been integration. And it kind of corresponds to martech landscape. Hey, wow, it's amazing. We have all these products and all this innovation that happening out there. Yeah. But in order for us to effectively use this stuff, we have to get it to work together. Uh, and that can be anywhere from easy to hard to just outright impossible. And we kind of started in the, you know, it's mostly hard and impossible. Uh, you know, if we go back five, you know, eight years on this, uh, luckily, you know, I think there's been a lot of investment by most MarTech companies to improve integration, to treat integration as a first class feature. Uh, you know, that they finally heard like, you know, sometimes it takes vendors a little out here, you know, like, wait a second, you know, what is it that the big booming voice in the sky is telling us customers want integration integration? Yeah, but no, which feature would you like integration integration, you know, finally, like, Hey, maybe we should actually focus on getting like integration. We all

Michael Hartmann:

want to get out of Excel, right? If we're using Excel to do it. You know, exactly.

Scott Brinker:

And like, yeah, probably Excel, the original martech. Um,

Mike Rizzo:

I don't know. That one just makes me laugh every time though. Because like, I, I've had a number of maybe Scott, you've, I don't mean to totally cut you off there. I just like, maybe you've had experience with this too, where companies come to you and maybe they say, Hey, what do you think of our website or our landing page? Or are we positioning correctly? And every time I see a company say that you can get rid of a spreadsheet, I'm like, just take that off your homepage right now. Nobody's ever going to get rid of their spreadsheets. Like, that is not going to happen. Stop pretending like that's going to happen. Position yourself differently.

Scott Brinker:

Sorry. Yeah, I mean, actually, it's funny. Some of the more intriguing products in the no code world were things like, you know, Airtable and Smartsheet and Stuff like that. They're basically like, well, what if we just assumed the spreadsheet was the center of the universe and like, let's make that whole experience better. So now it's a really good point. Um, all right. So where were we as basically like, okay, so we, we started getting this integration, which again has been very helpful, but I think you even have seen, you know, in this evolution that. There are just so many different products out there, not just commercial products, but custom products that, you know, individual, you know, companies build on their own. You've got products that span different departments, you know, what's happening in sales, what's happening in customer service, what's happening in finance, what's happening in our digital product. You know, and while we've steadily found ways to, like, integrate more and more of these pieces, there was, and that was in some ways, like, the rise of the CDP was, you know, one way of trying to say, like, oh, well, man, marketers really do need help getting all this data connected together, together. Well, if we just had a product, you know, that its whole reason for living was, you know, to help serve as that orchestration for data. But it's sort of like in parallel while all that was happening was this rise of the cloud data warehouse, uh, you know, the snowflakes, uh, you know, AWS is version of those data bricks were just steadily. All of the data from any given app, like everyone wanted to just get that into their cloud data warehouse where they had the ability to like run more advanced analytics on it. They could do data science. We started to see like, as machine learning started to emerge over the past five years, as you know, a more common practice and companies like, well, to do machine learning, you need to be able to have the data that feed into it. And so like, just steadily, we got into a place where data from all these different applications was starting to come into the cloud data warehouse. And then this really magical thing happened. It's kind of simple, but, you know, simple, but game changing, which is this to get technical jargony for a moment. You know, this process of getting data from all these different apps into the cloud data warehouse was commonly called ETL extract transform load or. ELT extract load transform, depending on your process. So a few vendors, uh, like a high touch census, some of these folks, just a few years ago were like, well, What if we came up with reverse ETL, that we could take all this data that's in this cloud data warehouse and now any combination of it, type it back into those frontline applications. And it's like the lightbulb went off of like, whoa, okay, you are now finally connecting all of the applications across your business. I mean, granted, not at a workflow layer, not at a user experience layer, not even at a governance layer. But at least at a data layer, you're getting the foundation where we have this ability to flow data from pretty much any source within our company, do interesting things with it, and then deploy it back out into any particular app where we're able to take advantage of it.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, I mean, this is so fascinating how that has evolved. Um, you also mentioned in your, in your keynote, um, a concept of it's, um, aggregate. Let's see if I get it right. Consolidation versus aggregation of data. It felt like that was a pretty important piece. How does that fit into all this?

Scott Brinker:

Yeah, no, I'm glad you, uh, thank you for giving me the opportunity to chat about this pattern. Um, all right, so for the entire history of the MarTech landscape, if there's been Two common things that have happened every single year. One, the landscape comes out, and guess what, it's got more products on it. And two, almost always the reaction across the industry and the analysts and all this is like, Okay, well that's gonna consolidate. And yet, year over year, it just never has. And I think at some point, you know, you start to step back and you're like, Well, wait a second, maybe Maybe maybe consolidation isn't going to happen. Maybe that isn't the future of software. Um, and so it was around that time that, uh, there's this fellow Ben Thompson, who writes an analyst, uh, newsletter called stratechery, um, you know, very much on like strategy for, um, You know, internet companies and whatnot. And he had proposed a number of years ago this idea of aggregation theory for those companies that, you know, really the power of, you know, platforms like, you know, Facebook and whatnot, you know, is they serve as these aggregators bringing all these content creators and sources from one side, you know, and then all these consumers who want to be able to access that from the other side and their value in the middle. They're not a content creator. They're not a content consumer. Uh, You know, but by providing a mechanism to aggregate both the supply and the demand, they created this thing of enormous value for both sides as well as themselves. And it struck me that, you know, is that kind of a pattern that we would start to see here in the tech stacks? And maybe it's not about Reducing all of your tech stack down to just one or two apps, you know, or from a data layer. Well, I just reduce it down to one or two data sources. If we just assume for a moment, well, maybe we're going to be in a world where there will be a constant heterogeneity, you know, of different data sources and different apps. Could we have tools? Could we have products that help aggregate, serve as an aggregator at that intersection? And that's what I think a cloud data warehouse does. Like, it doesn't matter how many data sources you have. It doesn't matter how many destinations you want to pipe that data to. In fact, actually, the more data sources you have and the more destinations you want to pipe data to, you could argue you actually get more value out of having that stuff aggregated through a data warehouse. Now, I think we see that example in other layers of the tech stack too, but it's probably most clear right now in what the cloud data warehouse

Michael Hartmann:

does. So, I mean, this sounds to me, what you described is also like, like a marketplace business model, right? Where you're, you're providing a platform for suppliers and the supply and demand side of, of a particular marketplace. That's a great way to think of

Scott Brinker:

it. It's like an internal marketplace of data. Yeah. And even if you're not charging for it internally, but yeah. Right.

Michael Hartmann:

That's interesting. Yeah. So, um, And this seems like, why don't we, so because of that, I think this ties, now that I'm kind of getting a better understanding, I think I see how this, how you see the connection to the next piece of this puzzle, which is composability, as I understand it, right? Composability is, I don't want to oversimplify it, saying it's the, you've got tools, it feels like there's two things with composability. One, you've got tools that make it easier for people who are not necessarily developers to develop. Code and you're doing it in pieces, kind of like Lego blocks. I hate that analogy, but that's the best thing I can come up with. But where now those composable elements could be using whatever that aggregator solution is for data as well. Am I, am I Am I close to what you were imagining there?

Scott Brinker:

Yes. And one of the ways to think about composability, because again, I know it sounds like a 10 word, like this really like complex concept, but the truth is we've actually been dealing with composability. For a long time, and I'll, I'll give two examples on opposite ends of the spectrum. So like in the technical world, for actual software developers, hell, the entire software industry has been built on composition for the past four decades. It's this idea, no software, you know, developer creates a program entirely from scratch. You know, they're like, Oh, well, let me grab these libraries, these API calls out of AWS. And what are they doing? They're basically composing from all this existing capability and then they bring that together and then they sort of like, the magic is how they combine it into the particular application they're delivering. And on the exact opposite end of the spectrum, when we talk about the non technical business user, it's funny, we were chatting about Excel earlier. To me, Excel is actually a perfect example of a quote unquote, no code data composability tool. I mean, what do, what do business people do with, you know, Excel? They're like, all right, well, let me grab this data from here. Let me grab some data from here. Let me mash it up the way I want, you know, get something useful out of it and then pass it on. And so it's like, when you start to realize that we've already kind of been doing this, You know, but just what we're trying to do is expand the, the areas within marketing and martek, you know, where we can do that more easily. Composable CDPs, composable DXPs, you know, workflow automation, um, you know, these all sort of expand the scope of things we can compose and who can do that composition. But the concept of composability is actually, we kind of all have experience with it somewhere.

Michael Hartmann:

I mean, I started my career doing, uh, I can't even believe when we say this, COBOL programming, which we had, you know, I'll call them functional functions, right? Things that sort of did repeatable stuff and you just call them from other places. Same thing with power builder that I used, which is, I can't even imagine anybody here has even heard of that, but, um, yeah, Mike, your thoughts, you look like you were about to say something. Hopefully

Mike Rizzo:

I'm coming back. There we are. Um, I was just going to jump in and say like that, that definitely resonates, uh, with me, like this idea of composability. I mean, honestly, when you, when you first said the term and started defining it sort of at the top of the call, um, I was like, Hey, this sounds really familiar. And, and then, and then I started wondering to myself. Like,

Michael Hartmann:

do,

Mike Rizzo:

is the nature of like, just like basic, you know, just sort of a simple question and your thoughts on it, Scott, like, is the nature of a basic like custom object added to, say, for example, like a HubSpot or Salesforce, like start to introduce the concept of composability into an product. Right. Right. Uh, what was previously a out of the box product, uh, object oriented data, you know, structure. Does that suddenly introduce the concept of composability, but within a sort of, I don't know, isolated ecosystem. Is that the right way to think about it or

Scott Brinker:

maybe not? Yeah, no, I think that's a perfectly legitimate parallel. I mean, like, I think of HubSpot, uh, users, admins, right? They integrate this other software as part of that integration. They might get different data sets coming in. They might get, uh, we actually have our own workflow automation engine built into HubSpot and our, uh, companies who integrate to HubSpot can, like, create it. Actions for the workflow that are specific to their product. And so what is a, you know, marketing ops person HubSpot do? Well, they're like, all right, well, I'm going to create a workflow and it might be like, you know, getting something from this application over here and we're going to manipulate it this way. And maybe there's some logic if this do that, if otherwise do this other thing. And then maybe I want to trigger some other application over there. Um, yeah, this is composition. And so I think it's like. Just the reality is composition is just a part of the tech world and has been, arguably, yeah, from the beginning, it's just we're expanding the scope of things that can be composed, and then we're finding more and more applications, particularly with AI, and we'll get to that in a bit here, um, where we're making it easier for non experts to be able to compose things. In fact, they can compose things without even necessarily um, Knowing that they're composing things. Yeah, yeah, yeah,

Mike Rizzo:

totally. So I, I, I want to, and you know, Hartman, I know we're going to try to keep rifling through this thing, but, uh, I want to make sure I ask this, um, maybe now is the right time, cause it might be a nice bridge into AI too. Um, I was talking to a former guest, a fairly well known individual, Chris Walker, um, just this week. And, you know, he's, he's, he's ventured off to go do a new engagement, um, building this new entity and. Um, we were talking a lot about marketing operations, um, and go to market operations in general, and, um, I'm just, uh, reflecting back on the conversation because it's the most recent iteration of the conversation that I've had around this, and it's really, Who is responsible? Um, like, and, and it doesn't, I'm not trying to give a lay up here and say it's going to be marketing ops, but, but I do sort of wonder, like, this is, this is a new landscape. You just said, Hey, we're making it easier for non technical folks to interact with data and compose their own sort of bespoke workflow and app and make it work for their particular industry or business or both. And. I don't, it requires a lot of different kinds of inputs in your knowledge to understand both the art of the possible on the technology infrastructure side and the needs of the business. Right. What does the business go to market structure look like? What are the industries they're trying to work inside of? What, what literal territories are they trying to enter? And there's compliance that has to go into all of these things. So who, who do you think is going to be responsible for this? Is it the CTOs or the CIO? Is it this yet to be named something leader? I don't know.

Scott Brinker:

It's a, it's a great, great question. So I, um, I think we can all agree, like it is a, Changing environment. Uh, and so, you know, the patterns we've had of. You know, classically how we've thought about, you know, managing, uh, systems and data and technology like they're going to have to adapt to this. Um, uh, and so I'm not going to pretend that, you know, uh, we have solved that problem and that there are now just well established patterns that exist. pretty much every company follows. Um, it's a, it's a spectrum. Um, that being said, you know, one of the things I know we had is, uh, you know, a potential topic to talk about was this idea of a shift from big data to big ops. And it kind of feels like this ties into it because What I mean by that, like, you know, everyone kind of got their head around the concept of big data, you know, and it's now we're kind of past that era, but you know, there's a good decade or so where it's like, Oh my goodness, now that everything's starting to get connected to the digital world, we just have this flood of all this different kinds of data is coming from all these different sources and some of it's good data and some of it's not so good data. And, you know, what do we do with it? And we kind of largely have gotten our arms around that, completely solved it, but, you know, you don't hear a lot of people like, it's unusual now, like, oh yeah, today's daily, you know, blog post about big data. I mean, we've kind of moved on. But in many ways, there is this almost analogous concept of big ops, which is, hey, listen, we've got all this data. But now where all the excitement, chaos, innovation, challenges is the fact that we've got all these different applications and all these different teams that are trying to do things actively with that data. And they're leveraging all these different tools, you know, for like workflow and analysis and feeding it into this agent or this application. And if you look at it across the organization, pretty much. You name any department, in fact, not even just any department, you name almost any, like, significant team in a company and I pretty much guarantee you can put the word ops at the end of that team and there is a group that does that, so, you know, hey, we've got finance, well, we've also got finance ops, you know, we've got web and there's web ops and, you know, security and sec ops, you know, and so, you know, At some point you look around and you're like, well, crying out loud, like, every single facet of what the company is doing has some sort of specialized ops. And although they're differing by their domain, the sort of people who actually have a lot of commonality. Um, and so to answer, sorry, this was a long winded way of trying to get around to answering your question, is while I do think there is importance to have It's a governing framework that gets developed for the entirety of the organization. And I really do think at the end of the day that the IT organization is the most likely and rational organization to provide that overarching governance architecture. It's going to be an incredibly distributed and federated nature because even if IT is putting around, you know, a set of guardrails, you know, for this. An IT analyst is never going to understand like the nuance of what a marketing ops person, you know, is doing. And so I think we kind of have to find a balance here where, yes, there's some orchestrating principles, but there's also a lot of distributed leadership and distributed power. And I can give one, sorry, one last example. Maybe this is maybe as an analogy, because I think of it a lot as finance. Every single department and team has a budget and they're spending money and you know, yeah, I gotta do this. I gotta buy this other thing. Finance does not get involved in every single one of those purchases. They don't want to get involved in another, you know, but they are the ones who create that sort of, uh, uh, overarching structure of like, okay, well there will be a budgeting process and here's how we're going to track this stuff. And here's how we're going to manage this. So this will be the decision rights, you know, for how things get allocated. But then once you actually get your budget, you go and do what, you know, it's your responsibility to spend that and use that, right. And I think there's kind of a version of that framework that feels like that's what the big ops world could look like. Yeah,

Michael Hartmann:

yeah, that resonates. Yeah, definitely. I mean, with this, this is, I think, was it, was it Gartner who coined the term citizen coder or something like that for this part of this? What comes to mind for me then is if you've got these. New set of people who are unable to build technology solutions that are either expansions on something else or custom or spoke, whatever, what I get concerned about. Is now that, you know, you've got to have guardrails and ways to ensure that privacy and regulatory compliance and things like that, um, are, are done well. So, I mean, are you seeing anything? There's probably some sort of ops tech tech stack that's for just for that too, right? So, Michael, how does, how does that come into play here? So

Scott Brinker:

this is the thing about this, why it has to be a balance is because. You, you've got one half of the equation right, which is to say, okay, well, these folks who are working in their particular local problem area cannot be expected to be experts on all the possible compliance, what are the security mechanisms, all that. So you need that sort of top down centralized governance structure to get implemented. But on the other side, we have seen the exact opposite be so true for so long, which is the person who actually has a problem. Okay. Who actually is dealing with a painful, like, oh, man, this process sucks, you know, like, this is so inefficient, it's constantly creating problems. Traditionally, to try and get that fixed, you know, they have to go through, like, gate after gate after gate, and then they try to explain it to people, and the software engineer who ultimately ends up building it knows nothing about the domain, like, builds it in some way that actually Half the time makes the problem worse in other ways, you know, and so it's like you're trying to find this balance between these two things where you want the people who are closest to the problem to really be in a position to make fixes and changes that are just really clear are going to be the right way to do that. But at the same time, make sure that there is that sort of guardrail and governance and support structure in there that, yeah, all these other issues around, you know, the compliance side, the security side of it, um, the question of contention, right? You know, what happens if you have multiple local teams that are each trying to solve for their local optimization, you know, but collectively it's. You know, one organization, it's one customer. You know, you can start to end up in conflicts. How do you identify those conflicts? How do you resolve them? You need centralized mechanisms to be able to do that. But there's as much value, I think, on the other side of like, the person, some quote, I forget the guy's name who said it, when, when the person who feels the pain. Is empowered to actually create the solution. Like the outcomes are almost always like magical and delightful. I mean, it's, it's a very empowering thing.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, no, I think that's true. Um, okay. So if I, if I could recap, it sounds like you're a believer, like there needs to be sort of principles of how we're going to go do those things with an organization, along with guardrails and maybe even very specific. Uh, tools or processes that can reinforce that. But don't put too much of a, like, shackle on those people to be able to move to solve those really core problems that they're dealing with.

Scott Brinker:

Yeah. And I would, I mean, just being honest, this is an open problem, like this is not solved. Uh, you know, and there's going to be questions of like different technologies and products and tools that will help solve it, but it's also going to be about like process and management. And I mean, how do we adapt the way we run organizations for the environment where we have these powers and these capabilities, because there is no historical precedent for this. This is, this is uncharted territory.

Michael Hartmann:

To me, there's already some of this going on in most organizations within the marketing domain. It's marketing and sales domain in particular, when it gets to, uh, leads. So lead data as very often, again, pulled into spreadsheets. Emailed around or, or worse, right? Put into a public domain Google doc or something like that. Or Excel, I mean, Excel could be done too now through the Microsoft stack. But anyway, so I think there's like, this is to me, this is partially not a new problem. This feels like it's accelerating. An existing problem to some degree because you're adding more capability and people who could do, you know, create harm as well as good unintentionally or not, you know, so the, okay. So this now, I think this ties, I think this now ties into the, your other sort of reinforcing component, which is AI machine learning. And I think one of the things that stood out to me was, so you're, you're kind of licking the adoption cycle, whatever, of a new technology, um, and how that's compressing nowadays with some of this stuff and how quickly these things are able to solve complicated problems over just straightforward, simple ones. But the big thing that stood out to me was that coupled with the fact that I think you called it Martex law. I don't, I don't know where that came from. So maybe you can. Tell us a little bit about that. This idea that the technology change is happening faster than people and organizations in particular can really adapt to it. And so there's, there's probably contributing to the hype cycle. Uh, I'm just, I'm curious, like, how do you see that having impact on all this?

Scott Brinker:

Yeah, no, you're, uh, yeah, that whole idea of Martex law, um, and boy, I guess that's been around. 10 years or so. Yeah, it was exactly that thing of like, you take the exponential curve of technological change, which we kind of all know, you know, it's sort of, uh, all derivatives of Moore's law, um, you know, and then you take, again, this is not a law so much as a, uh, empirical observation, you know, but most organizations as they try to go through change. I don't even think it's linear. I think it's very often like logarithmic. It is like hard to change. Yeah. Constantly. I mean, I know probably the listeners to this podcast, anyone working in marketing operations, like I'm sure feels this, uh, viscerally, but like getting an organization to change is just really hard. And so then when you juxtapose those two curves and you're like, you know, well, the technology is changing at this ridiculous rate, but we're having a really hard time. Changing the company, boy, it forces you into all these dilemmas, you know, and there's There hasn't been a silver bullet. It's I mean, the two strategies I've always advised people as well. One be very intentional about which changes you choose to embrace, because you're not going to be able to do them all. So which ones are most valuable. And then the second thing is you're never going to change as fast as the technology, but if you can change faster than your competition. You know, that may actually be

Michael Hartmann:

sufficient for it's like when, when, when, when a bear is attacking your friend, all you have to do is outrun your friend. Right? Exactly.

Scott Brinker:

What a terrible analogy, but

Michael Hartmann:

I'm full of these really like

Scott Brinker:

with that friend, but yes. Um, um, so anyways, but what's interesting is every now and again. There are things that happen that almost create a discontinuous, is that the word for it? Jump in how organizations actually do behave. And like one example I'd give would be when the COVID pandemic hit, you know, companies that had, my goodness, every company had like a five or 10 year digital transformation plan. Um, they were plotting along on and then COVID hit and the physical world shut down and I was like, listen, you were either going to be digital or you are just not going to be in business and it forced companies to do a change. Not a, not a pleasant change. Uh, and we're still. Feeling some of the cleanup of the repercussions of that, but you can't deny that for most businesses, they took a step change jump, you know, in their ability to adopt digital technology that might not have happened then, you know, at that pace. And I think we're going to see this similar thing here with AI, where there is just such a significance in the impact these AI tools can have. And frankly, they are. In some ways, almost dangerously easy to adopt, you know, that I think we are going to see like another step function, uh, jump as well. Yeah,

Michael Hartmann:

your point about these things are easy to adopt. It has, I think, all kinds of implications. It's the same ones we just talked about, about, you know, security, privacy and compliance. And it's just, um. It's fascinating to me. I think, do you think this has any implications on the way organizations should start to, um, hire or train people to be ready for this really accelerated change in technology that's going to ultimately affect their, their businesses? Is it, um, ultimately like it could go even further back, right? Should it start affecting early Earlier, you know, education systems as well, but we don't have time to go down to that policy road.

Scott Brinker:

Yeah, I think the short answer is absolutely, um, and again, it's to me, it's almost less of an issue of training, although don't get me wrong, training would be good. The bigger barrier is going to be the actual, the empowerment of it, the process, the management side of it. Um, you know, companies are very. A lot of companies are very reluctant, you know, to go on this and they're not unfounded reasons, but, you know, there's just as we were talking earlier, you know, about the composition side of things, there's going to be this tension where, okay, on one hand, we want to be responsible and careful about what we're doing. On the other hand, the world and the competitive environment is changing fast. And if we err too far on one extreme or another. Bad things happen, you know, and so trying to like find that right balance in the middle and let's, again, like we're all going through this together. It's not like, oh, well, let me look back at the playbook and how all these other companies did this over the past 50 years. Like, no, this is new territory, which again, this is the sort of stuff like when you're in marketing office, this is what you can tell. I just get excited about this stuff. Yeah. This isn't always easy. Um, it is a, it is a tough career in many ways, but it's not dull. I mean, it is exciting. I mean, we are at such a fascinating time of this stuff changing and the ability to pioneer so much of what our businesses do, you know, how we develop our careers. martech vendor, like how you think of the evolution of your products. Um, so exhausting, but, uh, absolutely enthralling. Yeah,

Michael Hartmann:

it, it, it does feel like I'm now like your, your image of a super collision is making way more sense now than it did when I heard you speak about it just a couple of months ago. It's all kind of helped come and come together. It, to me, it feels like there's this, you know, it's tying this back to the, the MarTech landscape a little bit. It does feel like. If I was going to make some sort of prediction, which is always dangerous, that there's going to be more, uh, more innovation, I guess, with really continue to be more bespoke sort of solutions based on some of these newer technologies and capabilities to the point where maybe even. You know, some of the bigger platforms are either going to have to adjust how they go to, you know, build their tools and things like that to be more modular or whatever composable. I mean, is it, it's just, it feels like that's maybe where, a direction where things are going, which will be hard, right? I mean, we're all kind of used to buying things that a big chunk of problems as opposed to putting things together on our own, if you will.

Scott Brinker:

Yeah, I mean, I think it can get a bit of the best of both worlds. Like one of the visual analogies I've used sometimes is like with the Millennium Falcon, like, okay, you can buy a Millennium Falcon toy that's like it's there. It's assembled. It's the falcon. You can't change anything about it, but Hey, it looks nice. Uh, on the other end of the spectrum, you can buy a, just like, you A bunch of plain Legos. And you could probably figure out how to build a Millennium Falcon, but, yeah, with no instructions and no fix me, like, it's gonna be a lot of work. And then, you know, you can have a Lego store and you can buy a Lego kit for the Millennium Falcon, you know, and so if you just follow the instructions out of the box, you get the Millennium Falcon. But all the pieces are composable, so if I want my Millennium Falcon to have like this little tweak here, or change this little thing there. You can just do it. And I think that's kind of where we want to be headed is, yes, people don't want to have to build everything from scratch, and they, they won't have to, and there'll be a tremendous amount of value, not just from traditional MarTech vendors, but I think the whole services ecosystem, you know, um, agencies and systems integrators and all this stuff, you know. I think they're going to have a heyday over this next 10, you know, 15 years, you know, where they actually become almost the kit creators of like, okay, we'll pull together all the different kit stuff for you. But to your point, I mean, a lot of businesses, they're in the business of doing something else than just like assembling digital systems. And so much that they can get off the shelf. Fantastic. But the easier it is for them to tweak and adapt it to the specific needs of their business, the better it's going to be as well too.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, it's interesting. Okay. So yeah, go ahead, Mike. Go ahead. I was just going to say, I think

Mike Rizzo:

that's the part that, that just gets me every time is, is this, this, um, wild journey we've been on in the landscape of IT professional services and technology in general. We went from on prem bespoke application development for a business managing their own database. To SAS is now available and accessible and out of the box. To there's a version of SAS that is now available and accessible, but is entirely customizable, which is essentially the same thing as building your own software on prem and managing it again. Like we've, we've swung the pendulum back the other direction and went from like, Oh yeah, you want to run everything this way, but it's really hard and really expensive. And there's all this hardware you got to maintain to. Well, now it's all sort of like cloud based and by the way, it's really hard to put together and really expensive to like difficult to maintain because, but it's better for your business because it is built bespoke. It's for your unique needs. And it's just, it's amazing to like have seen this like shift from. You know, I'm running my own IT stack and literally putting a CD into a server room to install software to like now this, right. And I don't know, it's just, it's such an interesting parallel to the, but it's exciting, right? Like to your point, Scott, like service providers, uh, and systems integrators, they're going to have a heyday with explaining the art of the possible and then building it. You could also choose to go build it on your own servers, if

Scott Brinker:

you want. It'll be interesting though, because I think your, your point on the bespoke side is absolutely right on, but I think it is a really interesting difference that. You know, back in the days of your own data center, it was your data center. It was not connected to anything else in the world software. If you got an update to anything. Yeah, you're right. It came in a whole stack of CDs. I still have my MSDN subscription floppy disk somewhere or something. Yes, floppy disk. Um, you know, and so, oh my God. Yeah. Like the process of updating and maintaining and it just, it was really painful. And I feel like this world we're headed in is, in interesting ways, it's, it's not a perfect, the best of both worlds, but there are elements of the fact that, you know, we now live, we, we're operating these things in the cloud. And so, you know, the benefits that we saw with SAS, uh, basically the ability for these different components, you know, to have that separation of powers, to be able to update continuously for me to be able to, if I do want to share something or like bring something in. Basically, everything is adjacent, uh, you know, to everything else from a technical perspective. It, it opens up a new set of possibilities that I think is a little bit different than the old data center, but you're right. It's, uh, uh, it's definitely something where it's, um, it's not Although again, this becomes the thing it's like, so this is You know, my viewpoint with HubSpot, uh, because, you know, HubSpot serves a lot of, you know, smaller businesses or businesses that are early in their digital journey, and it's perfectly fine for them to buy HubSpot, not be like integrating a bunch of other stuff, not be customized. I mean, if they're at the stage where like, Hey, this is what I want. This is what I need. And this is what I consume. That's great. But that as businesses mature, or they get more sophisticated, or they. Again, even just in a particular point, you know, need something a little bit different, you know, than when I was out of the box, it just feels like the options people have to be able to solve those pain points are becoming more like a, there's a richer set of options that you have available. Don't necessarily want to take advantage of all of them. But you have the options when you need them.

Mike Rizzo:

Yeah, yeah, totally. I agree with that. I mean, uh, example is, and I know we gotta get to the end of this show here, but, uh, you know, I've got a engagement with a very early stage SAS company right now, actually using HubSpot and, um, been talking to him for weeks. And all of a sudden we just realized that their integration into HubSpot for creating their users was not functioning the right way. In fact, I didn't even know it was doing that. And they finally brought it up and I said, Oh. Oh, we have a whole different path to go down here. Sounds like we need to go create some custom objects. And, and all of a sudden when I painted the picture, these two leaders, these, the sales and marketing leader went, Oh, that is absolutely right. And so it's like, it's just, it's fascinating that you can start in one place and then the moment someone actually like shares the information about their business and their potential needs, and you say, well, let me tell you about this functionality that you could take advantage of, whether it's. It's directly in HubSpot or other ways, like their eyes open up, Oh, we need to do that. Right. And there's all those opportunities were not previously available in the, you know, former model anyway.

Michael Hartmann:

No, it's a long time and I'm excited for it. No, it's well, and it feels like it's just, we're at the beginning of it. It's hasn't even really. Really taken off. Um, Scott, thank you so much. It's, it's been a great pleasure talking to you. This is really has helped kind of put things together from my perspective. If folks want to keep up with what you're doing, and maybe even reach out to you, it's the best way for them to do that.

Scott Brinker:

Um, so it used to be Twitter and then it's X and then yeah, I don't know. So I'm Chief Martek without the H at the end there, but on LinkedIn, I'm SJ Brinker. Uh, you can go to chiefmartech. com without the H at the end again. It's a whole nother story for another day. Um, uh, and yeah, if you're interested in the HubSpot ecosystem, by all means, go check ecosystem. hubspot. com. Um, so yeah, thanks for having me guys. And thanks, uh, you know, for having me back in November as well, too. It's an amazing community you've built. And, uh, yeah, just always a pleasure to be able to engage with you, uh, and all the folks you're working with.

Michael Hartmann:

Appreciate it. Well, with that, we'll wrap it, wrap it up. Uh, thanks again, Scott. Thanks, Mike. Thanks to all our listeners. We will be back with you in short order, hopefully again. Bye everyone.

Mike Rizzo:

Bye everybody.