MarTech’s PR Challenge: Differentiate, Differentiate, Differentiate

Nov 14, 2016 Samantha McGarry

Scott Brinker’s Take on the MarTech Vendor Landscape

At last week's INBOUND16 several thousand marketing, PR, social and content folks attended a wide array of sessions like How to Swear in your F@*king Marketing and The Neuroscience of Decision Making - all focused on upping their game.

Me? I'm more interested in the converging worlds of marketing and technology and I was pleased to see two sessions dedicated to the topic on the INBOUND agenda.

I wished there were more opportunities for discussion because there’s something that’s been bothering me for a while now in the world of martech, ecommerce and retail. It’s this: How many synonyms are there for the word omnichannel? Here are a few I’ve read and heard during 2016:



Distributed commerce

Unified commerce

Now I know that each of these has a specific nuance but they all sound rather similar, right? Layer on other martech buzzwords like customer journey, user experience, engagement, automation, personalization, optimization - and everything ends up sounding like versions of the same thing.

A few weeks ago, I was lunching with Scott Brinker, editor of the Chief Marketing Technology blog and Program Chair of the MarTech Conference. He’s the lucky guy who took on the challenge of plotting out the marketing technology vendor landscape supergraphic over the past few years. You can check out all 3,874 marketing technology solutions in a single slide in his 2016 supergraphic over here. (You might need a magnifying glass.)

We talked about how he was planning on approaching the next iteration of this project and whether the categorization deployed for 2016 would change any. He sighed a little and explained his challenge: The boundaries of martech are expanding - for example, payments technologies are quickly becoming a marketing and loyalty opportunity - while at the same time, all the categories are blurring, making it super difficult to differentiate one vendor from another.

This is where martech PR has its work cut out.

In marketing and sales, we all know how important it is to fill the top of the funnel and then nurture leads through to conversion. Well, the same applies in PR and communications.

The key to being both memorable and compelling is to craft a bold and distinct point of view. This is what will help fill the top of your awareness funnel and push interested audiences through to wondering who you are, what you do and why. It’s not always easy to rise above the urge to talk features and functions of one martech platform over another but these are rational elements that are, quite frankly, easily forgotten. Filling your awareness funnel requires talking less about your company and its products, and more about what’s shaping the market - with urgency, passion and even controversy. You need to package this point of view into stories that connect with your audiences on an emotional level. (By the way, my pet peeve: can we stop calling them “users?”)  

Get this right and you’ll successfully differentiate your martech company from the 3,000 - 4,000+ competitors that are all fighting for the same share of voice. And your awareness funnel will be overflowing.

** Photo credit: Chief Marketing Technologist Blog

Topics: Marketing Tech
Samantha McGarry

Samantha is a Senior Vice President at InkHouse. Her curiosity for business and technology - combined with her love of semantics and communication - has translated into a 20+ year career in PR.

Read more from Samantha McGarry

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