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Martech is NOT Marketing; Long Live Marketing

Martech is NOT Marketing

Marketing technology (martech) is not marketing.

Not any more than, a CRM database is customer service.

Or consider these comparisons:

Graphic design software is not creativity.

Enterprise search is not knowledge management.

A press release is not public relations.

A spreadsheet is not accounting.

An oven is not cooking.

A fishing pole is not fishing.

A hammer is not carpentry.

So, where did this idea – that martech is marketing – originate

As far as I can tell, the phrase was recently put forth by Scott Brinker, who I’d hasten to add, I respect and admire.

Subsequently, it was adopted as a tagline (ugh!) for a martech conference by Third Door Media, which I’d also hasten to add, prints three newsletters that I have read almost daily for many years.

When he published that idea, I asked him about in the comments section (which you should read in context). During a cordial exchange, which sadly is rare online these days, this sentence stood out for me:

“Martech is marketing’ is an acknowledgment of the necessity to have tools and skills for wielding those tools in modern marketing.”

I agree with that line above but only from the phrase “an acknowledgment” onward.  But people don’t read beyond the headlines and will draw conclusions based on the first three words.

Why does it matter?

Because if martech is marketing, then businesses merely need to buy some technology.  That’s a handy idea if you are the one selling martech – and you plan to go around your traditional customer and sell it as a replacement to the business. However, if you are inside a company trying to do something different and drive marketing innovation, that idea is at least a high hurdle and at worst a dangerous barrier.

As I’ve pointed out before, many leaders on the business side haven’t picked up a marketing book since college. That frame of reference is gone, and marketing spends 50% of its time justifying what it’s trying to do, which means it’s left with 50% of its time trying to do it. This makes the education of business leaders – the internal marketing of marketing if you will – a continuous effort.

Technology is the practical application of science. It supports, enables, augments, facilitates, allows, but it has limitations and it will for the foreseeable future. Tech can be a tool of trade, but it shouldn’t be confused with the trade.

Martech is not marketing.

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