The complexity that comes with the growing martech marketplace is being mitigated by an increasingly popular “platform ecosystem” approach, according to Scott Brinker, one of the industry’s eminent voices.
Brinker, VP of Platform Ecosystems at CRM SaaS provider Hubspot, argued the point at the company’s local event in Sydney yesterday. Hubspot has embraced the platform ecosystem approach, Brinker says, and will begin a new partnership with Xero based on the model.
The martech marketplace has exploded over the last five years, according to Brinker, who tracks marketing software providers on his blog. His records show the number of companies offering marketing software has risen to over 7,000 in 2019, creating a complex marketplace of often disparate solutions.
Traditionally, marketers have had to choose between a best-of-breed approach to software and deal with integration challenges, or opt for a suite approach, which, while generally handling integration in a better way, may not offer all the best solutions.
Both approaches tend to struggle when it comes to generating customer experience outcomes — how marketing technology should ultimately be evaluated, according to Brinker. But he argues the once binary choice is being replaced by a platform ecosystem model, essentially providing the best of both worlds.
“This is the revolution that has really been happening in the martech industry these past couple years … It’s this idea of platform ecosystems, which is to say, we want to open up these suites so then in addition to all the capabilities you get directly from [suites], you can plug in solutions and specialised capabilities from so many other vendors as well.”
Brinker says Hubspot, which offers a suite of software, has embraced the approach, using its CRM tool as the “core foundation” and allowing external, non-Hubspot apps as necessary.
“Once you’ve got that foundation, you don’t have to just use it for our own software. You open that up so that any app developer can be able to plug into that same common system.”
Hubspot uses a workflow automation engine which has been opened up to external developers. The goal is to keep consistent data, workflow, user experience and governance while integrating third party software through extensions to the Hubspot CRM.
Brinker showed an example of changes to Hubspot CRM records triggering an Asana task, or sending an automated email, all of which occurs from one interface.
“This is all built on HubSpot’s interface. So for the end user here, It’s just all part of one continuous flow,” Brinker said.
Xero and Hubspot partnership aims for deep software integration
Hubspot customers will be able to integrate their CRM systems within Xero’s accounting software, through a new partnership, announced by Brinker today.
He said the initial integration will initially focus on synchronising data between Hubspot and Xero. But he expects the platform ecosystem approach, which effectively connects Hubspot’s front end systems with Xero’s back end systems, will eventually lead to new tools and oversight.
According to Brinker, the partnership means in the future it could be possible to automate targeted messaging based on accounting actions. For example email campaigns triggered by customers paying, or not paying accounts.