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What are the martech tools that truly changed the game? We profile five platforms that have empowered people by simplifying specialist skills.
There are thousands of martech tools to help marketers do their jobs, but there’s only a select few that truly changed the game.
We’re talking about the tools that democratised marketing and design capabilities across organisations. The ones that made specialised skills available to all, through the power of innovative technology and intuitive UX.
These are the tools that empowered people – regardless of their job title – to get hands-on, building websites, producing videos and creating slick graphic designs – things they never could have done before.
Here we profile five of the best. And if they’re not already part of your martech tool stack, it’s time to add them!
A staggering one billion designs have been created on Canva. The platform enables people everywhere to design anything and publish anywhere. “Our goal has always been to empower the world to design,” says Canva founder Melanie Perkins.
Perkins’ mission started back in 2007 when she was teaching students how to use graphic design programs such as InDesign and Photoshop and saw how hard people found them to learn and use.
She teamed up with co-founder Cliff Obrecht and Chief Product Officer Cameron Adams to solve the problem. The trio spent three years pitching to investors and getting rejected before eventually receiving the initial funding to build Canva.
Now, the MarTech tool – which has achieved ‘unicorn’ status after being valued at $US1 billion – is available in 190 countries in over 100 languages. It gives anyone the ability to produce beautiful, professional-looking designs in minutes and has a diverse user base of over 15 million people.
“Diversity and inclusion have always been at the heart of our values, and aligned with our mission of democratising design,” says Anna Guerrero, Head of Marketplace at Canva. “This is about providing a design and publishing tool that resonates with everyone regardless of who you are, or where you come from.”
Today, MailChimp is the world’s leading email marketing software, but it started out as a simple favour. Co-founders Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius were running a web design business when some of their customers started asking for a way to send emails.
They wanted to help, so Chestnut dug up some old code he’d written for a failed digital greeting card project. The clients were so grateful for the assistance that the duo decided to make it a small side project.
It remained that way until 2007 when Chestnut and Kurzius realised that email marketing was the best way they could help people grow their businesses. They shut down their web design agency and went full time on MailChimp, developing it into one of the most essential martech tools on the market today.
“Mailchimp was designed as an alternative to the oversized, expensive email software of the early 2000s. It gave small business owners who lacked the high-end tools and resources of their larger competitors access to technology that empowered them and helped them grow,” says Mailchimp.
Chestnut and Kurzius say their mission to “empower the underdog” and in doing that, MailChimp has amassed more than 12 million users in 200 countries. And it’s no longer just an email marketing tool – it’s now an all-in-one marketing platform helping small businesses “look pro and grow,” with landing pages, websites, a marketing CRM and more.
Thanks to Google Analytics, marketers have a wealth of website data at their fingertips. Anyone with a login and a website can access fascinating insights presented in an easy-to-understand dashboard, or via printable reports.
It wasn’t always so easy. Prior to GA’s introduction in 2005, people’s behaviour on the web was completely intangible – except to data scientists, who charged big bucks to interpret it. Google sought to democratise advanced web analytics to the masses through a free-to-use martech tool.
“The primary focus was to make sure that not only people who are willing to pay a million dollars or more on analytics products are able to get access to a very decent set of tools to understand the behaviours of online browsers,” says Phil Mui, the former Group Project Manager of Google Analytics.
Google realised the infinite potential of data to create a better experience for web users. “By liberating this tool we could empower companies of all sizes to become smarter and more effective online,” adds Paul Muret, Director of Engineering, Google Analytics. “We assigned considerable resources to our online solution and released it to the public for free and it has since grown beyond anything that we could have expected”.
Today, Google Analytics is the most widely used web analytics tool the world over, helping businesses of all sizes track the customer journey, marketing campaigns and perform A/B testing.
No list of martech tools would be complete without WordPress. It’s the most popular content management system on the planet, with over 35% of websites running on the platform (including this one!). What makes it so special is the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, which gives anyone the ability to build a website without any programming knowledge.
Then there’s the WordPress Plugin Repository, which has over 50,000 plugins, letting people simply ‘plug in’ a huge range of capabilities. WordPress has given anyone and everyone the power to have a presence on the web – whether that’s a small personal blog or a large e-commerce site.
WordPress began as a pet project in 2002, spearheaded by college student Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. It was based on an earlier project, named b2/cafelog, which had been abandoned by its creator.
Originally a simple open-source blogging platform, WordPress gradually evolved into its present form – a powerful CMS that is ideal for almost every type of web project. Mullenweg says the platform’s mission has always been to “democratise publishing.”
“The mission of “Democratise Publishing” to me means that people of all backgrounds, interests, and abilities should be able to access free-as-in-speech software that empowers them to express themselves on the open web and to own their content.”
Animoto is focused on making businesses of all sizes successful on social media with high-performing marketing and advertising videos that can be made in minutes.
“When Animoto launched in 2007, we created the category of automated video creation while simultaneously pioneering one of the first SaaS subscription offerings,” said Brad Jefferson, CEO and co-founder of Animoto, speaking on the platform’s 10 year anniversary in 2017.
“Over the course of 10 years, and with over 150 million videos rendered on our platform, we are uniquely equipped to usher in the new era of democratised video creation for the everyday marketer.”
Fellow Animoto co-founder Jason Hsiao, says the martech tool was born out of a desire to increase the quality of promotional videos on the web.
“A bunch of us were working in the film/TV industry and it was becoming apparent that there’s just a big gap between the quality of content you see on the web and the type of stuff you see on TV and in film. Part of the inspiration behind Animoto is to bridge this gap.
“What we do through Animoto is the kind of stuff that takes professional editors days to do and costs thousands of dollars. Animoto does it in a matter of minutes, with the click of a button, and for free (or $3 for full-length videos).”
Just like the five martech tools above, Attest is also revolutionising access to previously specialised capabilities. Attest is an intuitive consumer research platform that anyone can use, straight out of the box.
Users can set up surveys, distribute them to groups of profiled consumers around the world, and start getting answers in minutes. Attest also makes it simple to visualise and analyse responses in order to craft compelling stories with consumer data.
Founded in 2015 by Jeremy King, Attest aims to democratise access to data and de-centralise consumer insights. The premise is to give businesses the data they need to make better decisions, as and when they need it.
How? By making gathering data from your most valuable audiences really simple and accessible online.
Senior Content Writer
Bel has a background in newspaper and magazine journalism but loves to geek-out with Attest consumer data to write in-depth reports. Inherently nosy, she's endlessly excited to pose questions to Attest's audience of 125 million global consumers. She also likes cake.
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