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Apr 19, 2018

Shattering the Myth of the Single-Vendor Marketing Suite

the myth of the marketing cloudThe idea behind a single-vendor marketing suite is a laudable one: unify all your needed technologies into a single toolset with a single login and a single model. Once that’s done, you will have a single solution that accomplishes everything you need to meet the omnichannel consumer in their channel of choice with the most relevant messaging ever. There is only one problem with this vision.

It’s an outright myth.

Single-vendor marketing suites never accomplish their stated goal of being a central solution. This is because most single-vendor suites are a “Frankencloud” of disjointed technologies that have been assembled through acquisition and don’t play well together. Moreover, it is incredibly complicated to update a single-vendor suite to keep up with the pace of change in marketing technology. A pace, incidentally, that has only increased over the past few years.

No Solution Can Do It All

ChiefMartec identified 5,381 distinct marketing technologies in its most recent Marketing Technology Landscape. These distinct solutions are offered by more than 4,890 unique vendors in 49 product categories. That is 49 separate categories of product, each classification covering its own business case. This is nearly 1,000 new technologies over the 2016 landscape, which featured 3,874 unique solutions.

Single-vendor suites can’t possibly operate in all the marketing technology product categories. Expecting any single solution to achieve everything possible in 49 categories is a recipe for disaster. Among the 21 percent of marketers who use single-vendor suites – according to Walker Sands research – only 16 percent stay within their suite. This is a clear indication that the marketers who do leverage suites understand they can’t fulfill every possible need and that no one has best-of-breed throughout its suite.

The Cost of a Single-Vendor Suite

Single-vendor suites have problems beyond not achieving their stated goals. One of the most substantial is the actual budgetary outlay. Because of how a single-vendor suite is constructed, implementing one requires a significant amount of time and money. The reason is that most single-vendor suites involve ripping-and-replacing most, if not all, of your existing marketing stack.

CMO Council and Redpoint Global research found that 44 percent of marketers spend more than 25 percent of their budget on replacing existing solutions. This is just the financial impact and doesn’t even begin to consider the length of time you would spend on implementing the single-vendor suite and integrating it with your company database. In most cases, the timeline involves several months of work because your organization’s entire infrastructure needs to be changed over for the single-vendor suite to function properly.

And if a new solution arises that your single-vendor suite doesn’t support, you must either wait until the vendor integrates the capability or implement the capability as a separate solution. This creates the same situation you started with: a set of disconnected solutions that don’t share data and don’t communicate.

The idea behind a single-vendor marketing suite is a worthy one; a single solution, enabling one login, that provides everything a marketer needs. But the reality is that no single solution can hope to keep abreast of all the changes coming down the pipe in terms of marketing technology. This is especially true for larger organizations, who need functionality that can scale to meeting the needs of innumerable customers.

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Steve Zisk 2022 Scaled

Steve Zisk

Product Marketing Principal Redpoint Global

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