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As Open Marketing Takes Hold, A Look Back at Its Roots

History of Open Marketing

The world of digital has been abuzz with personalization. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work when it comes to today’s sophisticated consumer, so why should we expect a generic approach to work for marketing platforms in this new environment? Marketers each need their own customized marketing platform; one that can combine their unique set of rapidly growing best-in-class marketing technologies, rather than a pre-packaged suite of tools chosen for them by a vendor. Thus, Open Marketing has arrived.

Open Source Roots

The Open Marketing story has been gaining momentum over the last several years as marketers have become increasingly involved in technology decisions and integrations. One of the first instances of this concept was James Cherkoff’s guide to Open Source Marketing. This early take on Open Marketing references its roots in open source software and the early days of Mozilla - one of the first large open source movements around the web. It makes sense; open source grew out of frustration of programmers and developers who were tired of the bureaucracy in tech and decided to build their own tools and write their own code and integrations. As Cherkoff points out, back in 2001 Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer considered Linux as “threat number one.” Fast-forward to today where marketers are feeling the same pain. They know what marketing technologies they want and they don’t want to wait for IT to make the call. They don’t want to be tied to a marketing cloud vendor’s roadmap, waiting for an integration they need now. And with the speed of innovation, they can’t afford to wait around.

Adopting an Open Marketing approach allows you to regain control over not only what tools you want to use, but the timetable for integrating and implementing them. Even though it’s now up to you to integrate your choice of marketing technologies, with Open Marketing, often there may already be a plugin, module or existing code that makes the integration process predictable and rapid.

Tag Management Vendors Get the Ball Rolling

As new marketing technologies continued to emerge and as marketing organizations started to pick and choose what tools were best for their business, tag management vendors saw an opportunity. A web page tag is JavaScript code that collects data about your site and its visitors. These tags drive third-party digital marketing services, ranging from web analytics to advertising and social media sharing. An Open Marketing system would work to their advantage, as they were already centralizing tag deployment and data collection across various marketing technologies. Reflecting the principles of Open Marketing, tag management systems such as Tealium and Ensighten allowed all tagged data from multiple systems to be consolidated in one place.

Best-in-Class Marketing Technology Vendors Go Open

Nearly every person talking about the fundamentals of Open Marketing is also referencing Scott Brinker’s infographic on the marketing technology landscape. It’s easy to see why; Brinker has provided the most comprehensive (and eye-straining) view of the marketing technology industry now, effectively illustrating that the number of tools available to marketers–1,876 vendors represented across 43 categories in 2015–is growing at an astounding rate each year. If your strategy is centered around Open Marketing, you’ll be able to utilize the right handful of marketing technologies from the thousands available now and any you might require in the future.

Best-in-class marketing technology vendors understand this and are embracing an Open Marketing approach. And why shouldn’t they? As the Open Marketing movement continues to grow, it means more opportunity for their tools to be integrated with companies’ tech stacks.

According to marketing automation vendor Marketo: “The ‘marketing experience’ companies are the horns, strings, percussion, and wind instruments; the platform is the orchestra conductor making sure everything is in harmony. A great platform helps you sidestep cacophony, and stands in as a virtuoso conductor who unifies your marketing into a lyrical masterpiece that can truly captivate its audience.”

Marketo isn’t the only company singing the praises of an Open Marketing approach. The cloud-based content platform vendor Box recently joined forces with tech titan Microsoft as one of their Cloud Storage Partners. Along with Salesforce and Citrix, this program shows that even Microsoft is taking a more open approach when it comes to their flagship product Office. Per Box’s blog post about the partnership: “While new integrations are built for the Box platform on a daily basis – there are billions of Box API calls every month – Microsoft has made huge mobile and cross-platform strides, boldly taking an open path for Office 365”.

Part of the reason Box decided to take part in Microsoft’s program was because they recognize that “the future of enterprise software is about choosing best-of-breed technologies to solve critical business problems. Often these solutions will not come from the same vendors.” An Open Enterprise works hand-in-hand with Open Marketing.

The Open Marketing Shift

Technology evolves as people take fundamental ideas and build and innovate on top of them. Open Marketing is no different. As the shift toward “open” continues, marketers will see more and more marketing technologies made available to them. These tools with undoubtedly have an impact on marketing organizations and being able to use the latest and greatest marketing tech will continue to be important to gaining a competitive edge. While it may have many names and different companies have slightly varied takes on what Open Marketing means to them, the unifying message is clear: To survive in the digital world, keep up with advancements in marketing technology and to better serve your customers, your best chance for long-term success is with Open Marketing.

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