This is part 3 of a five-part series, providing an update on the 5 Disruptions to Marketing as we head into 2018. If you have not yet read Part” microservices apis update>, you might want to start there.
3. VERTICAL COMPETITION (2018 Update)
I have been writing about Facebook, Amazon, or Verizon as “martech” competitors to Oracle and Salesforce — but in the big picture of vertical competition, they are.
The most common example is the Google’s search advertising prices and policies, what are you going to do? Move your search spend to Bing? (Sorry, Microsoft — I love you.)
Same withand Instagram. Snap and Pinterest might be competitors, but they’re not really substitutes.
This is why, Google and have each been able to hold on to their dominance. Third-party adtech vendors aren’t able to be of much help, as they don’t have a lot of weight against or to force their way into those walled gardens.
And the strength ofand reach beyond their walled gardens. They’ve been highly successful at having independent websites install their “tracking” scripts — whether it’s for Analytics or Connect.
The latest Facebook– digital ad duopoly is only one example of vertical competition.
In the battle for digital advertising, ad blockers are another kind of vertical competitor that have Google and ) can be diminished by these client-side players.
In fact, it’s at the client stage — the touchpoint used by the consumer and how it is connected to the Internet — that the biggest struggles in vertical competition are emerging.
Web browsers were relatively weak vertical competitors because they were effectively commoditized. But now, we have an explosion of new proprietary devices and apps that have more power as exclusive touchpoints to select audiences.
This creates powerful Amazon” acquired whole foods>, you could argue (or, well, actually I argued) that this network of physical stores becomes another proprietary touchpoint between brands and marketers.
What makes Amazon such a formidable vertical competitor in the martech space, however, is that they have much more than these exclusive client interfaces.
Their greatest strength as a martech/adtech player is their unique channels and touchpoints and the exclusive data they have on all the buyers on Amazon.com.
Now, while popular and proprietary client interfaces can have a lot of power in a vertical competition chain, they don’t necessarily have all the power. The power accrues to the vendors that are marketers or consumers — the two end-points of that chain — are reluctant to, unwilling to, or simply unable to substitute.
For an example of this, consider the feud between two of these giants, where Google products in their store — Nest Secure, Chromecast, Cast — so now prevents a number of Amazon devices from being able to access YouTube. (hat tip to
is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website. – Amazon spokesperson
But it’s not just the giants that are playing with vertical competition. Earlier this month, Zeta Global — a growing marketing cloud provider that competes with the likes of Adobe and Oracle — Facebook” comments> lets Facebook “own” an exclusive touchpoint on any blog that adopts it for their commenting system — nice for the blogger to have comments only from identified Facebook users, but also very nice for Facebook to have access to all the data of those interactions — Disqus gives Zeta proprietary reach to consumers and their data beyond its back-office martech software.
But arguably the biggest news in vertical competition at the end of 2017, at least here in the US, was ” digital advertising and adtech>, but also the” great firewall of china>, the Accenture” report on digital fragmentation> warns that the growth of national digital barriers is making the digital environment increasingly complex and risky for businesses.
Between the power of the Internet giants, an explosion of proprietary touchpoints, and the rather disjointed and unpredictable rules of digital engagement being enacted by different governments around the world, “digital strategy” is going to be harder ahead.
But where there’s a threat, there’s also an opportunity. Stay tuned for Part 4: Digital Everything (2018 Update), where we’ll consider the upside of all these blossoming new varieties of client interfaces.