Web Commentary: The Consolidation of the Web
By Amberly Dressler, Managing Editor
With acquisition after acquisition, today's leading tech companies are seemingly trying to be everything to everyone.
E-commerce platforms are acquiring marketing automation systems (NetSuite/Bronto), review sites are gobbling up food delivery services (Yelp/Eat24), B2C sites are buying their competition outright (Expedia/Orbitz and Travelocity) and the list (which is quite lengthy) goes on and on. While those on the acquiring end are certainly flexing their muscles to get the people, products or proficiency they need to take their offerings to the next level, it's really their customers who are winning and that is in great part because of the dramatic change to what is expected of Web professionals today, particularly marketers.
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Software systems are increasingly catering to non-tech professionals with drag-and-drop features, easy reporting and streamlined dashboards (1&1's new cloud offering - read more at wsm.co/1and1cloud - is a good example of taking a complex offering like the cloud and providing a dashboard to simplify what a company wants to do, like adjusting hosting resources).
With the power to view and optimize resources that were previously only managed by IT, marketers are getting access to – and control over – features, metrics, testing scenarios, etc., which can help them make more informed decisions. This also means, however, that they are inevitably managing more and more systems – adding complexity to their positions.
A new study from Yes Lifecycle Marketing found that nearly a quarter of marketers surveyed spend at least 15 hours every week coordinating and managing their tech vendors and 15 percent indicated they need to consolidate those vendors to achieve company goals.
An often-cited 2014 report from DNN also found that 53 percent of the marketing executives surveyed use five or more discrete marketing technology solutions, such as marketing automation, customer relationship management (CRM), email marketing, social media tools, etc. About 10 percent, however, use 10 or more different technologies for their daily activities.
Web professionals are clearly relying on a variety of solutions to tip the digital scales in their favor, which presents an opportunity for vendors to both build out their product offerings (often through acquisitions) and better support customers by enabling them to reduce the number of vendor solutions they use.
NetSuite, for example, recently made headlines with its $200 million acquisition of Bronto, but it's the string of moves made by the company over the last few years (acquiring Venda, OrderMotion, Retail Anywhere and Tribe HR) that we are likely seeing in effect today. It's this consolidation through acquisition that is helping customers like Elite Model Management replace 13 separate enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems with NetSuite.
Designers and developers are also reaping the rewards of consolidation from Adobe's $800 million Fotolia acquisition, as Adobe Stock was born from it shortly thereafter. What benefits do Adobe Creative Cloud customers receive? By using the service (which does have additional monthly fees), designers can work with stock photos more efficiently within a variety of Adobe offerings.
From Adobe's own research, approximately 85 percent of those already buying stock content are users of Adobe tools. What's more, more than 90 percent of all stock created was created with Adobe tools. Basically, Adobe customers are already the number one consumers and contributors of stock content around the world.
Pending the actual integrations, customers of the technology providers participating in the race to consolidate the Web are the ones winning, as deeper or even native integrations between systems that once did not talk to each other, only gives Web professionals the chance to work with less vendors, improve their user experience, get to know their customers more, and have non-siloed information and systems.