Who’s Pushing the Edge?
If they need to be reductive and name just one type of MarTech that’s getting funding these days, experts say it’s “data.”
Analytics and data, specifically, says Hank Weghorst, CTO of Avention — a Concord, Mass.-based information services company. He’s been a fund-seeking entrepreneur, a venture capitalist, and is now working on the merger and acquisition side in private equity.
“Companies who are taking … three pieces — data, content and orchestration — to the next level will be the new marketing automation platforms of the future,” says Kelly Ford Buckley, CMO and partner at Edison Partners, a Princeton, N.J.-based VC and private equity firm. She’s specifically talking about what’s hot in B-to-B MarTech.
Still, says Weghorst, nothing’s a sure thing in the startup world now.
“It’s the entrepreneur’s game to win or lose at this point,” Weghorst says.
As little as five years ago, MarTech that was only an idea might get funded, he says. Now, startups need to prove themselves before investors are ready to take a risk. More dollars are flowing into MarTech this year than last — especially true for analytics — but entrepreneurs still need to spend their own money for the first few years and prove their tech works before they’ll get investment.
That means entrepreneurs are coming to investors with “little tiny pieces of technology that eventually get acquired,” Weghorst adds. Salesforce, Twitter or the Web itself wouldn’t get funding now without proof points, he says.
Ford Buckley says B-to-B account-based marketing platform Terminus is the specific MarTech she believes is coming closest to the “nirvana” of next-level ABM. The ideal tech has “the right mix” between sales and marketing, so organizations can generate business opportunities and even grow those customers after acquisition, she says.
Existing marketing automation platforms — such as Marketo, Eloqua and Pardot — are about the lead, not about the account, Ford Buckley says. So some of the new MarTech “will be a threat to those platforms going forward. That’s what’s really exciting about the MarTech space today.”
But what marketers must remember to continually do is the very important, basic task of ensuring the quality of the data they use with the MarTech, she says.