Mastering Marketing Technology

Scott Brinker, VP of Platform Engagement, HubSpot

Program Chair, MarTech


The legal marketing landscape is changing faster than anyone could have anticipated ten years ago, raising some uncomfortable questions: Is artificial intelligence (AI) a friend or foe? Will our firm’s services remain relevant? Which marketing technologies can help our firm thrive, and which do we need to use just to survive?

At the recent LMA Tech West conference, keynote speaker Scott Brinker of HubSpot examined how marketing, technology and management have converged in the last five years. Here are his key insights on how law firms can apply marketing technology for their own benefit and that of their clients.

The Big Picture: Convergence of Disciplines.

Marketing. Technology. Management. “It wasn’t that long ago that we thought of these as being completely different departments,” noted Scott. Yet these three disciplines have converged to a surprising degree in the last several years. Digital technologies such as customer relationship management (CRM) platforms have become central to marketing and management.

There has been a huge proliferation of marketing technology platforms for marketing automation, email marketing, client surveying, CRM, business intelligence, social media marketing, booking software, webinar creation and other needs. The marketing technology landscape now includes over 5,000 technology platforms. Compare that to around 1,000 in 2014 and approximately 150 in 2011. Notably, there are more than 150 email marketing platforms alone. The pace of change is dizzying.

The average number of cloud services that large, vertical, global enterprises are using is striking. We’re seeing the same kind of exponential growth in storage and speed as Moore’s Law 9 (see footnote) suggests for computing power. Similarly, “MarTech’s Law,” named for the marketing technology conference Scott chairs, is this:

Moore’s law refers to an observation made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965. He noticed that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention.

Technology changes quickly; organizations change slowly.

Narrowing the gap between technological change and organizational change is a competitive prerogative.

The three-legged stool of People, Process and Technology:


“Do you have someone explicitly in charge of marketing technology?” Scott noted that top performing firms are seven times more likely to emphasize their investment in people than in data and technology. Why?

Historically, when marketing involved a very small number of expensive campaigns, there were few opportunities to experiment and innovate; however today, digital channels and multiple touch points offer greater opportunity and leverage to those able to utilize talented employees and partners.

Marketing Technologist has become a profession in itself. A marketing technologist may assume some of the following responsibilities:

  • Researching and recommending new marketing technology products
  • Training and supporting marketing staff on new marketing technology products
  • Operating marketing technology products as an administrator
  • Integrating marketing technology products with each other

Subordinate/secondary responsibilities may include:

  • Performing security reviews of marketing technology products
  • Customizing marketing technology products with software development

Process and Technology

Remember MarTech’s Law: You need to be more agile than your competitors. But how?

Adopt agile management principles. Normal project management can’t keep up with change; by the time you roll something out it may be obsolete. Agile is more iterative, focusing on tight feedback loops and continuous improvement as opposed to traditional project management. Agile involves short-term initiatives or development cycles called “sprints,” which typically take four weeks. Given the pace of advancement in marketing technology, that matters.

“You can’t wait a year or two to get these capabilities deployed and leveraged,” Scott warns.

For example, Cisco is using 37 different marketing technologies. You would naturally assume there is redundancy among them, but MarTech found that in fact each of them served a specific, unique purpose. Each does something better than any other product.

The key is to integrate and orchestrate them, which can be challenging. Reassuringly, these software providers are getting better at allowing out-of-the-box integrations with other platforms.

Scott recommends that firms invest the majority of their resources on proven, scalable systems that are working. Invest strongly but not disproportionately in innovation.


AI algorithms are a commodity that can typically be downloaded for free. What makes AI a competitive advantage isn’t the algorithms; it’s data. So collect data, have a grasp of which data matters and use it shrewdly.

Finally, take a deep breath. The site states that the job Marketing Manager is “Totally safe.”

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