Anand Thaker of IntelliPhi: Adobe Acquisition of Magento Reinforces Importance of Martech to Digital Transformation

The 2018 Marketing Technology (Martech) Landscape Supergraphic was released last month. And just like last year, we caught up with Anand Thaker, who led the data research for this year’s landscape through his company, IntelliPhi.

Anand shares with us some of his takeaways from this year’s landscape, including certain categories which went away, and why some were added. And with the big news of the week being Adobe’s acquisition of ecommerce platform Magento, we had to ask him what that means for the whole marketing technology category. And does this mean that HubSpot should go after Shopify.

Below is an edited transcript of our conversation. We go into much more detail in the video, so if you’re interested in learning more about what’s driving martech, check it out below — or click on the embedded SoundCloud player.

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Marketing Technology Landscape 2018 - The Importance of Martech to Digital Transformation Small Business Trends: Tell us about this year’s landscape.

Anand Thaker: We started off with 37,000 companies that got harvested so, just because you have the data, doesn’t mean you really, really have the knowledge, or the intel. So you really do have to work at it. We did that. The final tally this year was 6,829.

We removed predictive analytics [as a category] all together and we found that the 70%, 70 plus companies that were in there were already found in other parts of the landscape, being applied in some specific need or problem that marketers were being solved. Same reason we didn’t include AI as a category either. That was a lot of questions we got, a lot of complaints that how come you don’t have AI in there. Well, you don’t just use AI for the sake of using AI. It’s being applied.

Small Business Trends: It’s a foundational piece.

Anand Thaker: It’s a capability. It’s a feature. It is … Maybe it’s a major part of it. But, it’s not something you necessarily need to call out.

Small Business Trends: Right.

Anand Thaker: Another thing that came up too, of course with all the privacy matters that have been going around, we have a new category on privacy/data governance that was included. And two dozen companies are immersed in there. That was certainly a new thing. And then we evolved one category from just simply chat and surveys or feedback, moved all of it into customer experience, because that’s really a core component of customer experience, customer success.

Then, the chat component we expanded into chat-bots and live chat. So, this conversational, which is going to be intriguing — the real time nature of that conversation is going to give us both an interesting deep, qualitative and quantitative aspect and understanding of our customers now. And that’s going to be a new flavor of information we never had before.

And it’s now including the aspect of time into the mix, right? At that time, this customer from Amazon was really upset, and they got onto chat and all of a sudden they gave a five star rating at the end, or a happy face you know, at the end of that chat session. Right? That’s an interesting measure of success.

The biggest other piece that came out of the landscape, or the MarTech conference, that we found was this crossed collaboration of the organization. So, if we see that consumers are demanding more on an iterative basis, companies are having to keep pace to be … to stay differentiated. But, also to stay relevant. In order to do that, more companies — enterprise or small businesses — are breaking down the silos between departments.

We have sales as a category. We have customer success as a category. Because while all of those functions may have departments assigned to them, and they all have respective customer touch-points — being able to understand how to connect that journey which clearly has been very disconnected for a great deal of time — connecting that across the board, marketing still seems to be or will be very responsible or have visibility in the experiential part of that across the board. If something goes wrong in legal, guess what? Marketing’s going to be one to have to handle that. Right?

With privacy, guess what? We’ve got legal and marketing now having to work together. Operations and marketing are working together. Finance and marketing work together.

Small Business Trends: Yeah.

Anand Thaker: But, Brent, how have you seen like a lot of this empathy translate into organizations changing or having to change to meet that demand or perhaps become more connected with the consumers they’ve … may have lost ground with.

Small Business Trends: I think the thing that we hear a lot about digital disruption and digital transformation and kind of the things that move, make things move. Customer adoption is the most disruptive thing out there and it’s the thing that should be at the center of your digital transformation, because as you said, customers are smarter than they every have been. They have more tools at their disposal. They’re demanding that you not only value them for their money, but you value them for their smarts.

Anand Thaker: Absolutely.

Small Business Trends: But one of the more interesting things just happened earlier this week, one of the biggest martech companies of course is Adobe.

Anand Thaker: Right.

Small Business Trends: And what they did with their $1.6 billion announced acquisition of Magento, is basically we’re saying commerce and martech have to be closer together. And this didn’t start with them. This is kind of their answer because Salesforce bought Demandware and CloudCraze, SAP bought Hybris and even well before that, Oracle bought ATG.

Anand Thaker: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Small Business Trends: As a MarTech expert, what is the importance of this announcement and what does that do to the MarTech landscape overall?

Anand Thaker: I think this is just another add for Adobe who actually in my opinion has been intelligently putting a lot of these things together very silently so, I mean, yes, there’s your traditional press releases, but I have a feeling they’re going to pop this rabbit out of their hat that’s going to be incredible.

We were talking about value at another conversation of ours. You know, they’re adding value of why you would want to need to stick to the Adobe brand. This Magento acquisition, you know, it’s the defacto angle for people to be able to set up ecommerce as you grow out of your say, marketplace version of your store. So, we’re trying to meet the needs of going longer tail into the small business as well, since we’re talking about how much of this new economy is going to be more gig economy to something greater. They want to stay ahead of that and I think that’s one aspect of it. I think all the other companies find that ecommerce and MarTech, or customer data and ecommerce, are extremely powerful together.

Small Business Trends: The theoretical thing you would think is now that they have the Magento-, well it’s not official, but when it’s all totally done. They can put the data that says, all right, not only all this great analytics, but now we know specifically these are the transactions that got closed. We don’t have to go outside now to piece it together. Now we have the actual transaction that we can tie back to. All the efforts you did on your marketing and even on your sales, all of that. So, having it all together, having all the data now makes it even more powerful in addition to giving the people the platform to put it all together. Now, the data’s going to be able to tell you, oh yeah, this stuff really did work.

Anand Thaker: Oh yeah.

Small Business Trends: What if HubSpot bought Shopify? How would that affect things?

Anand Thaker: Makes sense. I don’t want to … there’s no need to really divulge it. I mean, it sounds like a great combination if they ended up doing that. I mean, Shopify has a great, strong community again. The way they operate if you’ve ever been a Shopify customer, they literally are working to help you build your business because they recognize that that would be very beneficial to them. Same MO with HubSpot.

Small Business Trends: I think somebody’s going to have to buy Shopify. I mean, literally. If you want to remain a player at the level of some of the companies that we talked about, I mean I think Shopify, HubSpot is a really great fit because I think there’s a lot of commonality in their customer base. In addition to like I said, some of their philosophies. But it may make even more sense to a company that’s competing with HubSpot to buy Shopify just for that fact.

Anand Thaker: Does Shopify even want to be bought? Right?

Small Business Trends: That’s true too.

Anand Thaker: I still see this trend of, if we’re talking about AI taking over jobs, not all jobs but certainly a lot of the tedious jobs. Certainly going to a gig economy because people don’t work at companies for 30 years. Those baby boomers, right? Gen X’ers, we’re figuring, we’re in the middle of all that right? And then, if that’s all happening, people are going to be starting their own businesses. They’re going to be finding alternate sources of revenue. Shopify is squarely in a great position.

Small Business Trends: There’s like the last man standing at this point.

Anand Thaker: Right.

This is part of the One-on-One Interview series with thought leaders. The transcript has been edited for publication. If it's an audio or video interview, click on the embedded player above, or subscribe via iTunes or via Stitcher.

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Brent Leary Brent Leary is the host of the Small Business Trends One-on-One interview series and co-founder of CRM Essentials LLC, an Atlanta-based CRM advisory firm covering tools and strategies for improving business relationships. Brent is a CRM industry analyst, advisor, author, speaker and award-winning blogger.

One Reaction
  1. You do realize Shopify is 2.5x as big as HubSpot right? If anything, HubSpot might get acquired by Shopify in the future