Kicking off the first full day of the MarTech East conference, MarTech conference chair Scott Brinker delivered his welcome keynote filled with valuable approaches to martech and Indiana Jones references a-plenty.

Brinker dove into concepts ranging from product adoption to stack integration, sharing his “eight P’s of self-service martech” to help demonstrate how our organizations can move from being assisted by martech to being embedded (or even absorbed) by martech.

But what do organizations look like when they are embedded or absorbed by martech – and should we bother trying to get to the next level?

Embedded MarTech

Organizations embedded in martech, according to Brinker, typically have controlled efficiency, but are often limited to a few players within the company. Requests are often queued as they flow between departments, and projects are managed in a narrow and sequential manner that can put limitations on our own capabilities.

Absorbed MarTech

Absorbed environments rely on instantaneous self-service, allowing marketers to make martech decisions without involving IT departments thanks to free and freemium go-to-market models. The scope of projects are wide and parallel, managed in shorter sprints rather than implementing a single project at a time. Absorbed organizations can bring together many diverse ideas and bring them to life with increase adaptability as projects scale.

The eight p’s of Self-service MarTech

You may be familiar with the four p’s of marketing, and according to Brinker we have another set of “p-words” to remember. Brinker breaks the eight p’s of martech into two categories: technology and people.

Technology consists of:

  • Platform (the commons)
  • Partitions (modular design)
  • Permissioning (governance) and perception (monitoring).

People consists of:

  • Permission (empowerment)
  • Preparation (enablement)
  • Principles (guardrails)
  • Passion (self-explanatory).

Our different approaches to martech will continue to evolve as the technology does, and we’re excited to continue to explore these themes throughout the rest of the conference.

About The Author


Over the last five to 10 years, companies have been spending more and more on technology to acquire, engage and retain customers. Increased pressure to achieve revenue and customer lifetime value objectives, a noisy marketing environment, and proliferation of new marketing technology tools, has created a perfect climate for technology experimentation, adoption and spending. In many cases, everyone in the organization – through the power of a credit card – has become a technology purchaser. Without discipline and strategy, this leads to excessive spending, duplicate purchases, redundant functionality and limited technology utilization.

With technology now consuming 29% of the marketing budget, companies are putting the brakes on independent purchasing and tasking marketing with establishing a formal technology evaluation and purchasing process that ensures that the ROI for technology purchases is aligned with business performance and objectives. 

I’m surprised at how recent this process development is for many companies and thought it would be interesting to pull together a group of marketing operations leaders who have been tasked with developing a purchasing process to discuss how they approached this activity, and to learn what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what the challenges were along the way. We’ll be diving into this during our Martech panel, Avoiding Random Acts of Martech on Sept. 18, but here’s a sneak peek at some of the issues they’ve had to grapple with.


Who are the stakeholders, and what are their responsibilities? How many are too many? How do you avoid being bogged down by naysayers? How do you stop bureaucracy creeping into the system?

One or more processes

Is it possible to create a single process that supports the evaluation and purchasing of an expensive, complex product such as a marketing automation platform and is at the same time flexible enough to handle a $9.99 subscription for a product with limited features?

Distributed versus centralized purchasing

What’s the best organizational approach to technology purchasing – distributed or centralized? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? I’d vote for distributed purchasing with centralized oversight – it will be interesting to hear what my panelists think.

Best of breed versus single solution versus platform ecosystem

I happen to believe that the best approach to purchasing technology is a combination of best of breed, single solution and platform ecosystem but many organizations are hamstrung by opposing ideological beliefs. How do you work through a fundamental issue such as this?  

Closing the gate after everyone has bolted

It would be nice to start with a clean slate and build a new process on top of that; the reality is that for most of us we are jumping into an environment that has been operating without a process for years. Where do you start? Is it necessary to go back and rationalize all the purchase decisions that have been made to move forward, or do you focus on the future? 

Priority management

It used to be that the number of products that could be purchased was gated by how many the IT department could install in any given period. Today, most products don’t require IT support, so how do you handle competing requests for new products? Is there a limit to the number of new products that can be integrated into the stack in any given year? Is it necessary to retire one product to bring in another? 

Keeping everyone heading in the right direction

Several marketing operations executives have told me that it is an ongoing challenge to keep everyone moving in the right direction and adhering to a process. I’ve heard it described as herding cats or playing an eternal game of Whack-a-Mole. How do you keep everyone engaged in the process? How do you avoid renegade purchasing?

I’m sure there will be a lively discussion among our panelists with input from the audience. These are the nuts-and-bolts issues that are so important to developing and executing a coherent strategy.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone on the 18th!

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About The Author

CabinetM, a marketing technology management platform that helps marketing teams manage the technology they have and find the technology they need. A long-time technology marketer, Anita has led marketing teams from company inception to IPO and acquisition. She is the author of the Attack Your Stack and Merge Your Stacks workbooks that have been written to assist marketing teams in building and managing their technology stacks, a monthly columnist for CMS Wire, speaks frequently about marketing technology, and has been recognized as one of 50 Women You Need to Know in MarTech.