Why Are We Still Talking About Open vs Closed Marketing Technology Platforms?

September 3, 2015 - Ensighten

The debate around Open versus Closed marketing technology platforms is the same as the one around Build versus Buy. On one side of the debate, you have a small, but powerful group of large incumbents arguing that their single-vendor platform is the answer. On the opposite side sits everyone else, arguing that an open platform that lets you build your own marketing cloud is the future.

Frankly, I’m surprised that this topic even continues to foster debate given how many people agree that open/build is the path forward, but it does. Within the last week CMSWire revisited the issue in a lively #CXMChat Tweet Jam and in a retrospective, One Year Later: Build vs. Buy Your Marketing Cloud. And from overseas ExchangeWire featured, Are Closed Platforms Selling Marketers Short?

Despite companies like Adobe, Oracle, IBM and Salesforce having spent about $11 billion in the past two years on acquiring tech companies to build out their single marketing clouds – 16 of the 18 thought leaders in the above-mentioned articles and Tweet Jam weren’t impressed. They argued that open/build is the better path forward (note: the two outliers are employed by an incumbent).


Industry leaders agree

So why is open/build such a compelling proposition? The answer was prominently on display during the recent Tweet Jam that CMSWire framed as: “Marketers who are shopping for technology today do not suffer for lack of choice. But with limited budgets and existing investments, how can they prioritize and judge new solutions? And how can they make the most of the solutions already in place?”

Participating influencers included Scott Brinker, Chief Technology Officer at ion interactive; Mayur Gupta, SVP and Head of Digital at Healthgrades (formerly the first Head of Marketing Technology & Innovation at Kimberly-Clark); and a dozen other industry leaders.

A rapid-fire exchange of more than 100 tweets highlighted why marketers prefer to develop their own marketing clouds to best meet their needs. It boiled down to single-vendor clouds increase risk, slow innovation and reduce flexibility, compared with the “forward-facing” approach of building your own with best-of-breed solutions. For a good review on the entire Tweet Jam visit Scott Vaughan’s post on the Integrate blog. Here are a few tweets that sum up the prevailing opinions:

CMSWire TweetJam

And with over a dozen industry leaders there was bound to be sage advice:

CMSWire Tweetjam
The future is wide open

So as an industry, where do we go from here? I hope that we move the conversation forward and embrace all vendors and technologies, channels and devices. Once we do that, we’ll finally be able to stop talking about technology, and start talking about what really matters – the customer.


Recommended next steps

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  1. Learn more about Ensighten’s Open Marketing Platform
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