Platform Sprawl: Growing Issue for Brand Publishers

Content operations remain a hot button for marketers. One of the most vexing challenges facing CMOs today is platform proliferation which has led to technology overload and too many sources of data. The rise of content marketing has compounded the problem through the rapid introduction of new technology designed to streamline content operations. The unintended consequence is a more complex ecosystem whose nodes often conflict and make it more difficult to create, publish and manage content in an efficient and meaningful manner.

Fighting marketing platform sprawl has CMOs working closely with CIOs to develop a roadmap that manages digital marketing technology acquisition and integration, and data unification. A recent study from the CMO Council provided some insights into the impact of platform proliferation. The overarching conclusion is the need for a master plan to collect and analyze data from digital, social and community assets as well as from apps and interactive self-help functions.

This and other studies such as IBM’s Stepping up to the challenge: CMO insights from the Global C-suite Study conclude:

Although CMOs understand the need for digital and platform integration, currently there is a huge gap between aspiration and action. Only 44% of the respondents of the CMO Council’s survey have a marketing technology strategy.

  • The most successful companies:
    –     Deploy, manage and integrate technology on an end-to-end basis
    –     Extend their marketing technology to include key aligned business functions such as sales and product development

According to IBM, it’s questionable whether CMOs are moving fast enough to keep up with the speed at which the commercial landscape is evolving. They need something akin to a turbo burst to tackle the information explosion and operational inefficiencies.

While it is extremely difficult to dismantle the morass of existing systems (CMS, marketing automation, lead gen, ad tech, publishing platforms, etc.) and resist the urge to randomly purchase new tools. Many organizations continue to gravitate to “bright shiny objects”, adding platforms with a single purpose or replicating the functionality of existing platforms. Some legacy providers are rapidly adding apps or integrating acquisitions to their offering in order to stay competitive. These clip-on solutions often just slow things down.

High-performing companies operate with a roadmap that imposes discipline and structure. Only 3% of marketers in the CMO Council Study believe they are doing good job of integrating marketing technologies across functions. This challenge cannot be conquered in a vacuum. Companies need help figuring out what to keep, add or jettison.

The next logical step is for a new breed of systems integrators to apply their experience and skills in the marketing technology space. The industry is still in the Wild, Wild West phase, particularly in the area of content operations and marketing technology. Marketing leadership, venders and partners need to coalesce and co-create a new frontier.

 

Kathy Baughman
Kathy Baughman

Kathy’s forte is enterprise content strategy, content marketing and thought leadership. Over the past 35 years, she has worked with both emerging brands and large enterprises in developing content and thought leadership strategies. Kathy has the ability to analyze a client’s current approach and offer unique, fresh perspective that leads to innovation and growth. She has written several research reports, white papers and eBooks including Content Supply ChainThe CMO’s Guide to PersonalizationThe Alchemy of Content andTaming the Content Vortex. Kathy is a key contributor to Forbes Publish or Perish Report.

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