The consolidation of marketing companies into platforms is a disservice to marketers and has stifled innovation, according to the head of product of Acoustic, the newly formed marketing technology company.
Acoustic was created following the sale of IBM’s marketing assets to private equity firm Centerbridge Partners in April. The company is now in the process of separating itself from IBM and standing up a new business with 1,000 employees in 20 countries around the world.
The separation is set to give Acoustic the ability to invest more in its products to solve the problems marketers are facing. That investment in technology includes, “re-building the architecture from the ground up” for microservices and the cloud.
“I think the platform consolidation has been a disservice to marketers, because it has stifled innovation in a lot of ways. And you see that in the small companies that have emerged that are solving interesting problems for marketers,” Henderson said.
Speaking to media in Sydney yesterday, Jay Henderson, Senior Vice President of Product Management at Acoustic, argued that being a pure-play marketing technology provider differentiates the business from other marketing cloud providers which sit inside big enterprise technology companies.
“We’re the only marketing cloud vendor who is focused exclusively on marketers. When I look at folks like Salesforce and Adobe they are doing a lot of different things. The centre of Salesforce’s business is CRM, and the centre of Adobe’s business is creative, and it’s not this type of marketing cloud technology,” Henderson said.
He said there was some appeal to buying a suite of technologies if you don’t have to spend time integrating, but questioned the level of integrations and product innovation in the larger suites.
“When I look at how these portfolios from the platform vendors have come together, obviously it has happened through acquisition and they have created point-to-point integrations that are superficial in my opinion.”
“The quarterly pressure to hit their numbers has not allowed them to be thoughtful about actually building an end-to-end platform.”
A lack of innovation at the top end of the marketing technology sector had encouraged the emergence of smaller companies solving interesting problems for marketers, Henderson said.
Like Salesforce and Adobe, IBM went on the same journey of building an end-to-end platform. But the business waved the white flag and the marketing piece has been spun out. Acoustic argues its independence gives it the ability to focus, purely on the marketer.
Integrating with the wider marketing ecosystem is a key focus for Acoustic is on integrations, including with the likes of Salesforce and Adobe. At the moment the platform has 90 external integrations to a marketing environment which it expects will double by the first half of next year.
The other big focus is on artificial intelligence, assisting marketers’ need for better analytics and data science capabilities by infusing AI into the products they have. For example, features like anomaly detection which notifies a marketer if a campaign is underperforming, or send time optimisation which determines the best time to send an email based on when people check their inboxes.