It was a big week for marketing technology. Salesforce agreed to acquire ExactTarget (which had acquired marketing automation vendor Pardot less than a year ago) for a whopping $2.5 billion.
I still believe that the ultimate future of the marketing technology space is a true platform play: a common backbone for coordinating data and processes within marketing operations. Such a platform would thrive primarily on its ecosystem, enabling hundreds of different vendors and custom applications to easily plug into the backbone.
In such an environment, each marketing organization could weave together its own unique fabric of different components — a best-of-breed strategy, but one that could be more easily executed because the integration points in the backbone would be stable and standardized. Implement one integration to the backbone and gain loosely-coupled interoperability with everything else that’s connected to that backbone. Zapier is a terrific example of an early incarnation of such an approach.