Tech Stack Fragmentation: The Platform Effect

Tech Stack Fragmentation: The Platform Effect

| Marketing Operations

New product launches at Adobe Summit highlight the growing fragmentation of vendor portfolios, as well as the benefits of this strategy for martech buyers.

There has been plenty of talk about tech stack fragmentation in recent years, yet the number of applications used by marketers has continued to grow. Much of the frustration has focused on underutilised features, as well as the overlap between applications. CMOs naturally want to ensure their technology budget is utilised in the most efficient way possible.

Yet, the explosive growth in martech is ultimately driven by the growing complexity of B2B marketing, particularly for those operating at enterprise scale. Whenever I've worked on a tech stack consolidation project, it's never just been a question of removing existing applications from a mature stack. We've always ended up identifying capability gaps that require new technologies.

After all, the quest for data improvement, ABM maturity or internal alignment cannot generally be fulfilled through process changes and the unused features of the existing technology stack. Sometimes, a new project management tool or an additional data source is needed to deliver the efficiency gains needed to increase the effectiveness of individual campaigns.

Platform Expansion

The big technology vendors follow a similar approach when building out their platforms. Gone are the days when Salesforce or Adobe would roll out a major new module for their existing marketing automation tools. Now, their annual conferences include the announcement of multiple new applications that expand their already sprawling product portfolios to a scale that few can comprehend.

Last week's Adobe Summit is a case in point. During their annual customer conference in Las Vegas, Adobe announced three new products for their Experience Cloud. One of them was the obligatory Experience Cloud AI assistant to go alongside their new GenStudio content creation product. Another was a data clean room for their CDP, which allows brands to share audiences with publishers within an environment that respects both data protection regulations and tracking restrictions.

Data clean rooms are one of the technologies that ad tech vendors are using to replace third-party cookies. They allow advertisers to share their first-party customer data for matching with the databases operated by advertising platforms. As such, they're one of the key technologies that will be used for conducting programmatic advertising without third-party cookies.

Adobe Experiences ABM

From a B2B marketing perspective, perhaps the most interesting announcement at Adobe Summit was for Adobe Journey Optimiser - B2B Edition. This upcoming product adapts Adobe's existing cross-channel orchestration tools for ABM use cases. It acts as a buying group identification and aggregation layer for the rest of the Adobe Experience Cloud, collecting and scoring contacts at target accounts. The relevant personas at each account can then be pushed into campaigns delivered through Marketo or through other digital channels.

The concept behind B2B Journey Optimiser is hardly new. It is based on capabilities pioneered by ABM platforms such as Demandbase or Terminus. However, the major platform vendors have previously tended to integrate such capabilities directly into either their CDP or marketing automation products. Seeing it launched as a standalone product is the difference. This subtle change in strategy will be motivated by commercial considerations within Adobe. However, it does suit the way that marketers manage their technology stacks.

Recent data from Scott Brinker shows that the majority of marketing teams prefer to mix and match technology from multiple vendors rather than adopting a singular solution based on the offerings of a single vendor. Most mature ABM programs will already have a tool for identifying and orchestrating buying groups. It's unlikely that such marketers would be interested in buying a new technology just because it was released by Adobe. However, it does represent a potential cost saving further down the line, when the time comes to renew their other Adobe products. Whether companies actually adopt B2B Journey Optimiser depends on how it measures up against the competition.

In Brief

Adobe Launches New GenAI Products

Unsurprisingly, Generative AI was the core focus of Adobe Summit. Adobe announced a major update to their Firefly image generator. The integration of Firefly with the new GenStudio product received the most interest. GenStudio is designed to manage the production pipeline of Generative AI requests within enterprise organisations. In doing so, it could cannibalise Adobe's Creative Cloud revenues.

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Written by
Marketing Operations Consultant at CRMT Digital specialising in marketing technology architecture. Advisor on marketing effectiveness and martech optimisation.