My Most Important Post This Year + A Preview of Our 100% New Product & Early Adopter Program

Editor’s Note: Our new product, Center, is now available to the public. Click here to check it out.

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This might be the most important thing I’ve ever written about marketing.

My only worry is that I’ve said too much here about our future strategy. Ultimately, however, I’m a huge believer in transparency. I believe that real progress comes through execution, not access to proprietary ideas.

This post is our thesis on the future of marketing technology and a statement about our forthcoming direction. We’re being pretty open here about our strategy.

If you want to know what core beliefs, theories, and assumptions are driving our product creation, then keep on reading.

But first, some housekeeping …

A Preview of Our New Product & Brand

The post below is several thousand words. If you don’t have time to read it all, here’s all you need to know: we’ve just unveiled the early adopter program for our new product and brand.

Click here to learn more about it.

Announcing: The Most Important Early Adopter Program Since We First Launched LeadPages

Our product and engineering teams have been working on an entirely new product.

We believe it’s another first in our industry. I’ve been waiting to see us release this for a long, long time.

It is, quite frankly, the most important product announcement we’ve made since the launch of LeadPages itself.

That’s coming. For today, I want to show you where we see marketing technology heading next.

Where We See Marketing Technology Going in the Next 5–10 Years

Right now, the marketing software industry is being disrupted (slowly and almost imperceptibly).

In a lot of ways, traditional all-in-one marketing software is on a collision course (albeit a long one) with irrelevance.

The myth of the “marketing-suite-to-rule-them-all” (that doesn’t actually suck) is becoming, with few exceptions, an unrealistic pipe dream.

Five years ago, traditional marketing suites could actually be the go-to solution for handling all your marketing needs across your business, or multiple businesses.

Today, this is unlikely. In the near future, it will be almost impossible.

We have nothing against companies and products like Ontraport, InfusionSoft, Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot, and Salesforce (Pardot). In fact, in many cases we think these products are really great investments, provided that you’re using them in the right ways and for the right reasons.

Nonetheless, traditional marketing suite software is being disrupted very slowly, and sometimes imperceptibly, by a new generation of marketing technology and marketing technologists.

In order to explain this, I’d like to reference …

The 2 Opposing Forces of Marketing Technology

There are 2 opposing forces having a heavy impact on the marketing technology space:

  • Opposing Force #1: Desire for an all-in-one “marketing-suite-to-rule-them-all” system that handles and runs everything
  • Opposing Force #2: Willingness to embrace any point-solution software that generates more revenue

Over time, the tides have turned. One of these forces is overwhelming the other.

Let’s break this down by talking about …

Opposing Force #1: Customers’ Desire for an All-in-One System That Handles Everything

When someone first starts doing digital marketing, they generally start with a couple of marketing tools (maybe MailChimp and GoToWebinar) but eventually want an all-in-one system that does everything for them.

Here at LeadPages, we get daily requests from customers wanting us to do everything for them. As soon as someone discovers that we make easy-to-use high quality software, they want us to provide them with an email marketing solution, a webinar solution, a membership site solution, an affiliate management solution, a shopping cart solution, a blog solution, an analytics solution, etc.

For most companies, trying to build the all-in-one solution is very seductive. There are 2 reasons for this.

First, customers are asking you to create more solutions for them. This is flattering, and it’s natural to want to give customers everything they want.

Second, if revenue or customer growth is slowing down, then selling more things feels like a viable way to maintain growth. After all, if you’re not increasing your customer count each month … then the only real way to grow revenue is by upselling a bunch of new solutions to existing customers.

allthethings

The problem with being an all-in-one marketing suite is that doing “all the things” grows harder and harder every year as markets mature, customers get more sophisticated, and the scope of digital marketing increases.

Not only are additional categories of digital marketing software being created every year. The pre-existing “traditional” categories are getting more and more sophisticated.

It’s Getting More & More Difficult to Do “All The Things” Well

Every year, what’s required to have a best-in-class marketing product (in any given category) increases dramatically.

Five years ago, marketing suites only had to do a handful of things well.

Today, an end-to-end marketing suite needs to be competent in 7 to 10+ categories, each of which is 10 times more sophisticated than it was just a few years ago.

Let’s say, for example, that your all-in-one marketing suite includes (1) social media marketing tools in addition to (2) a blogging platform, (3) a shopping cart/checkout page/payment processing solution, (4) email marketing tools, (5) marketing automation, (6) a CRM, and (7) an affiliate management system, among other things.

In that scenario, your social media marketing tools alone are competing with companies like Hootsuite—which has been focused on social media marketing solutions for 7 years, has raised almost $250M in venture capital and has over 500 employees, all of whom are focused on the company’s social media marketing mission.

Hootsuite probably has more engineers just focused on social media marketing than your all-in-one provider has working on the entire platform. In addition, 100% of their top product people and their founders are focused on social media marketing. Add to that companies like Buffer (social media broadcasting and scheduling), Edgar (reuse of social media posts) and 22Social, and you’ve got a social media marketing stack that no marketing suite can compete with.

Of course, if your marketing suite comes with a blogging platform, you’re competing with WordPress.

Game over.

We could do this analysis for every aspect of your all-in-one solution. The point is that trying to do everything well makes it really difficult to do anything at a world class level.

This brings us to …

Opposing Force #2: Customers’ Desire for Higher Conversions & Best of Breed Software

At some point, we all want an all-in-one suite that does everything for us.

I have a prediction about you and your current all-in-one marketing suite: you probably don’t like it that much.

For example …

  • Maybe the automation features are good but email deliverability sucks.
  • Maybe the email marketing features are serviceable, but it has a clunky API with a high error rate, so it’s hard to integrate with other services.
  • Maybe the analytics are good but it’s not so good with forking logic, custom fields, or relative time/dates … or maybe the shopping cart or affiliate program leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Maybe they’ve released some awesome new updates, but their e-commerce order forms for selling your products are still ugly.

I have another prediction about your current all-in-one marketing suite: you probably dislike it but use it because it’s a lesser evil than others.

And this is only going to get worse, not better, as these providers struggle to keep up by doing more and more.

Not only do these systems have to keep building more in order to “do it all,” but they have to deal with technical debt, legacy systems, and integrations across their product portfolio, while building deep institutional domain expertise across so many systems.

But, my guess is that you’ll buy another tool time and time again if the return on investment is there and you have the chops to use it effectively. Time and time again.

This is important: we are not saying that people will stop using these suites altogether. We’re just saying that, over time, a smaller and smaller percentage of these suites’ feature sets will be used or be relevant. Most people are still using their all-in-one system AND they’re still buying more apps to bolt onto it.

That’s why, even if you have a marketing suite, you probably still have a number of other point solutions. And if you’re like most marketers, you’re buying more and more of them every year—even though this probably isn’t your first preference.

Which invites the question:

If People Want One Trusted Company to Provide All of Their Marketing Needs, Why Are They Buying Several Best of Breed Point Solutions?

Every single aspect of digital marketing, if done just a little bit better (in a sufficiently sized business), can add millions to your bottom line.

And given enough time, numbers win over just about everything in a discipline as quantifiable as digital marketing. It is for this reason that there’s no stopping the rise of single-purpose best of breed software.

The issue is that no matter how convenient all-in-one software might be, there will always be a company focusing exclusively on one or two of that system’s features, and doing it 10 times better. Given the leverage afforded by digital marketing, doing something just a little bit better—when it comes to any category of marketing software—makes a huge huge difference to your bottom line.

Let’s say you you pay $4,000 per year for a marketing suite that does about 10 things (email marketing, automation, shopping cart, affiliate system, landing pages, analytics, split testing, etc.). And let’s say you find a piece of software that does just one of those 10 things so well that it gets you a 5% lift in revenue or productivity and costs $100 per month (although in many cases a much larger lift is likely).

You’re probably going to buy it because—in a small business with recurring revenue—that increase likely represents tens of thousands of dollars, and in a medium-sized business or enterprise, the increase could provide millions of dollars in increased revenue.

Here are some notable areas where people are opting for best of breed point solutions over all-in-one marketing suites:

Payment Processors and Shopping Carts:
Even a small improvement in your payment success rate can mean thousands or hundreds of thousands to your bottom line. And if you’re using a payment processor like Stripe, it comes with an entire ecosystem of software that reduces churn, gives you analytics on business growth, helps with dunning, makes customer management easier, etc. Each of these things could create a huge revenue lift. And of course, a shopping cart engineered from the ground up to increase conversions or make it easier to do upsells, etc., could have a similar or even greater effect.

Affiliate Systems and Tracking: Better stats and analytics create trust and motivation among affiliates. And all things being equal, an affiliate system that provides more thorough and segmented analytics—and takes the friction out of promoting a product—will generate much more revenue than a system that does not. The corresponding lift could be huge for most businesses with affiliate programs. Companies like Cake are crushing it in this space.

Email and Deliverability: Getting into inboxes is getting harder and harder these days with filtering mechanisms like Gmail’s “Promotions” tab. And of course, ending up in spam folders because your email providers is grey-listed or blacklisted on URIBL (or some other similar site) can potentially cost you thousands—if not millions—of dollars. Conversely, getting in more and more inboxes can create a real lift in revenue. Using an email service provider that is single-mindedly obsessed with getting into inboxes can have a real upside for your business.

Analytics: Most digital marketers don’t know exactly which blog posts are creating customers for them, or the lifetime value of customers associated with every ad group they’ve created. They don’t know the exact ROI of their content marketing efforts vs. their PR and social media efforts, and they don’t know where to increase spend if they want to achieve maximum growth. That’s because their analytics are lacking. Highly focused products like MixPanel can help with this.

Landing Pages and Lead Generation: We’ve found that that biggest driver of increased conversions on a website is not landing page conversion rate, but the sheer number of landing pages and unique opt-in opportunities available. Yes, people are using LeadPages instead of the landing page tool provided by their marketing suite … but not just because of increased conversions. It’s also because we make it so much easier (and faster) to create a signup/opt-in opportunity (whether that be through SMS with LeadDigits®, an automation link with LeadLinks®, a landing page, or an opt-in form with LeadBoxes®). Folks like Neil Patel are using LeadBoxes® on every single blog post to skyrocket their list growth … and we’re using this strategy as well; we invented it.

Source: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33756/Why-You-Yes-You-Need-to-Create-More-Landing-Pages.aspx

It’s likely that every single aspect of your all-in-one system can and will be done better by a laser-focused, disciplined, and well-funded company that does nothing but obsess (and create thought leadership) about just one of the several feature sets included in your marketing suite.

But guess what: there’s more where that came from, because the increasing demand for highly focused and specialized best of breed point solutions is creating an abundance of marketing technology companies.

See below:

martech_jan2014_to_jan2015

According to ChiefMarTec.com, the number of marketing technology companies almost doubled from 947 to 1,876 in just a year.

The doubling came (almost exclusively) from highly focused point solutions.

So disruption is happening in the marketing space because people care more about higher conversions than they care about using one tool to run all of their marketing.

But …

Here’s the Downside: The Disruption Happening in the Marketing Space Is Leading to Painful & Unmanageable Fragmentation

Let’s face it: using several best-in-breed point solutions to create a cohesive marketing campaign can be a pain. Having to log into and stitch together 5 different point solutions to create a marketing campaign is laborious and painful; creating integrations and gathering analytics across several platforms can be even more difficult.

So yeah, all of these platforms, and the integrations needed to make them work together, are becoming frustrating and increasingly difficult to manage.

Another issue is that there really isn’t a single database of record anymore. All of your leads, prospects, and customers are no longer in one place, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult—even impossible—to have a single database of record.

For example …

  • Some of your leads might be in your webinar platform (like GoToWebinar).
  • Some are in your email service provider (like MailChimp).
  • Some are in your CRM (like Salesforce).
  • Some are in a Google Docs spreadsheet.
  • And some might be in your call center software.

This isn’t, in and of itself, problematic—until you need to create rules and segments across your entire marketing stack.

Let’s say, for example, that you want to email everyone who …

  • Attended at least half of your sales webinar
  • Watched over 75% of your Wistia sales video
  • Visited your checkout page but didn’t actually purchase a product

Because of “database fragmentation,” quickly creating the above segment can be next to impossible for most marketing teams (unless you do a lot of manual work or do custom API development).

This is a problem.

So If All-In-One Suites Are Being Slowly Disrupted, and Point Solutions Are Painful, What’s to Be Done?

That’s where our new product comes in. 🙂 Stay tuned.

– Clay

  • This is going to be interesting… Looking forward to your new product announcement tomorrow!

    • Thanks @codylister:disqus!

      • Bryon

        I think it’s evident you are building the database with campaign development with a crazy open easy to use 2 way api. Just let us save and share campaigns. That’s a killer app and would change the marketplace

        • stressebookllc

          I use AWEBER and they have a new feature called Campaigns, probably similar to what @claycollins:disqus is going to announce.. just a guess.

  • WhitneyHoustonZombie

    “Product launch formula” is so annoying. Just tell us what the product is already, instead of all this fake mystery stuff.

    • @whitneyhoustonzombie:disqus I really think there’s a lot of valuable content here. Content that has value independent of any launch. I hope you have some time to really read the article and let me know what you think.

      • WhitneyHoustonZombie

        Since you took the time to respond, I’ll promise I’ll read the article. Just know that the internet is full of valuable content and most of us are busy, so basically we read the title and then scroll down to the end for the big reveal. And when it turns out there’s nothing there (for the second article in a row) it feels like we’re being fooled with. That said, I wish you good luck with your launch and I’m curious to see what it is. 🙂

        • I agree with @whitneyhoustonzombie:disqus. It’s not that I didn’t find the past 2 posts valuable, because I ended up liking them, but the expectation vs. reality felt way off for me. Both emails made it seem (to me, at least), like the post would have actual details to tease the announcement, not just posts related to the announcement – leaving me feeling tricked. This didn’t feel like an announcement or preview, just a behind the scenes post, albeit an interesting one.

    • It’s called building anticipation. They’ll get higher buy in with the art of the tease.

    • Joshua Fechter

      This type of blog post is so web 1.0. Good marketers read posts like this and think, “Ah, they’re pulling this type of sh** again.”

  • Noah Mandel

    Hmmm, infusion soft killer ?

    • Not trying to kill InfusionSoft. They’re a great company.

      • P.S. We’re not trying to do “all the things.” Good guess, however.

  • Another reason to get up and check my emails tomorrow 🙂

  • Bill Enross

    “Curiouser and curiouser!”

    • I hope this means you liked the post @Bill Enross:disqus

      • Bill Enross

        Loved it! Was hoping it involved a Zapier like functionality. One (of many) reasons I love LP is that it integrates with Infusionsoft so easily – looking forward to tomorrow @claycollins:disqus

  • AHHH! Can you please email me RIGHT NOW and tell me what you are doing?! The suspense is killing me. But seriously, I read your whole article and enjoyed it… and I agree with you. I’m just a food blogger so I don’t have a lot of these problems, but you’re right. I want something that does it all. I want the email ease of ConvertKit built into the effortless use of LeadPages but the reliability and Mailchimp. I want Edgar and Instagram to be friends. I like some of the features of SumoMe, but it’s just another tool I have bolted on, as you say. My best guess is you’re launching some sort of email integration… but I really have no idea. Like you said, there are already other providers crushing it in certain areas. But I haven’t seen anyone crush it in email yet. ConvertKit is trying, trying hard, but they’re just not there yet. I’m not married to Mailchimp; I hope you’re doing email and I’ll be your first signup. 😀

    • @Meggan | Culinary Hill:disqus thanks for the comments. I think the reason why nobody has nailed email yet is that they tend to move onto other things before they perfect email. Trying to add lots of integrations, form acrobatics, landing pages, shopping carts, etc. Better to do one thing well than to do several things in a mediocre way, at least when it comes something so intimately tied to revenue as marketing technology.

  • YES! This has long bothered me as a software guy. Monolithic apps are never good long term. That’s one thing I love about LeadPages – it plugs into the ecosystem that’s a best fit for the client I’m working with at the time.

    • Thanks for appreciating this, @deaconbradley:disqus. As a software guy, I think you’ll appreciate the architectural and product decisions we’ve made with our upcoming product.

  • Maybe a database that pulls from any source, and segments the exports back to those sources? The missing link in the fragmented system? (Zapier but with databasing and segmenting)

    • You’ve come the closest so far!

      • JP

        If you are integrating with Zapier or creating your own Zapier, it would fix most of my pain points! Looking forward to the announcement! I use ClickFunnels and Connectio products also… first one to create a Zapier-like experience wins!

    • I NEED DAT !!

  • I would guess that this is a horizontal data play tying together different marketing channels (lead pages visitors, webinar, e-mail recipients) into a cohesive list with associated behaviors…

    • Dang, these last few comments are getting close @Tim Kilroy:disqus.

  • Tyler Pruett

    I’m guessing you’re launching middleware that will glue all of the best of breed together like a plugin framework.

    • These guessing are getting dangerously close. Very educated and sophisticated guess.

    • YES! That was exactly my guess…I hope we’re right cuz that would be MAGIC 😀

  • Julian Castañeda

    Is not just a page builder… is a conversion funnel builder 🙂

    I bet it !

    • Philosophically, we’re opposed to the page building driving progress through a funnel. We believe marketing automation should be driven by backend systems, and should not be linear (they should have forking logic).

      • Ash

        This makes perfect sense

      • Interesting point Clay, by backend systems you’re meaning email automation? I’m a fan of leading people through a series of pages after optin, i.e. the thank you page is the sales page for the next product as well as autoresponders to indoctrinate and then lead people through too.

  • I have no guesses, but I’m certainly intrigued. You have my full attention!
    Kimberly
    http://FiftyJewels.com

  • David

    The great “Integrator” which takes all the marketing databases known to mankind and puts them into a single catch all database. So we keep leveraging all the best of breeds and even all the suites, but you guys become the platform of platforms, the integrator of integrators. This way you don’t compete with anyone, yet participate nicely in the ecosystem.

    • Very sophisticated analysis. Sounds like you’re a product person.

  • Adrien

    Great article !
    I totally agree with your analysis.
    I m looking forward to discovering this new tool. Especially if it provides the ability to easily aggregate data – analyze them and comunicate with the aggregated leads ! It would fill a gap between the all-in-one solution and the dedicated solutions !

    • I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised then. Thanks for the thoughts and comments.

      • Adrien

        HEHEHEH I bet I will.
        And It will be vital to have such a tool for one reason : to (easily) the customer lifetime value.
        In my opinion the metrics of the metrics ! Without it it hard to really improve 😉
        Right now it takes agesssssssss !

  • Jon Morrow

    I agree with everything you said here, Clay. One of the things we are looking at right now is integrating multiple services through segment.io, a centralized database service, but it’s not really a tool built for our industry. I’m guessing what you are working on is something like that but custom tailored to replace all in one solutions. We’ll see if I’m right tomorrow. 🙂

    • @jon_morrow:disqus it’s been a while and it’s great to see you here. Also, you’re a mighty fine guesser.

    • Since Segment.com has an open source code base (most do not know this) that could be forked (https://github.com/segmentio) and then give something like https://www.meldium.com/ (just got bought for a lot by logmein) and/or also https://www.bitium.com/ which allows for teams to have access (and removed) on one login.
      The company that connects apis seemlessly is http://www.snaplogic.com/ yet was built only for enterprise type apps.

      Look forward to whatever it is… (so much so that I applied to be on the team 🙂 )

  • productivli

    Being in the middle of stitching together a marketing solution right now, this viewpoint really resonates with me. I was just having the “there must be a better way to do this” thought last week. REALLY looking forward to your solution.

    • Just about every day I think “there must be a better way to do all of this.”

      • productivli

        And that’s why you’re successful, Clay. 🙂

  • Ron Aguilar

    very good idea to discuss and equally interesting comments. I will look for the email tomorrow, now get back to work people…

    • Ha! OK. Going back to work now :-). See you tomorrow.

  • Scott Severson

    Good luck with the launch Clay.

  • Aimee

    Since you mentioned the apps killing it in the other spaces, but didn’t mention anyone killing it in email list, I think it has something to do with that. Plus it you mention how hard it is to have all contacts in one place, I am running into this problem right now for a new woo commerce platform, I can’t get all my leads/customers and their history, purchases, tracking behavior, etc in one email system that I can easily segment, and run automatic campaigns like abandon cart, you might also like this. I use ontraport but it is too limited and your predictions were right on both about my all-in-one. I hope you are coming out with this because it is perfect timing for me for my new platform.

  • brian_desertech

    Great article Clay. I agree with a few others on the “middleware” and cross integration where this new offering will tie in and integrate all marketing platforms you mentioned in the article with one central “dashboard” and centralizing all CRM data into one location. Of course I am also still coming off of a Christmas food stupor so I could be hallucinating.

    • A Christmas food stupor is the best kind of hallucination.

  • Audrey Melnik

    An integration and automation platform to integrate and keep track of all these tools in a smart way.

    • @audrey_melnik:disqus I’m truly blown away by the quality of guesses. I knew that the article had some hypotheses, but I didn’t know that they so obviously pointed to a specific solution (that everyone seems to be mentioning). You folks are wicked smaht.

      • Ash

        Given my experience with LeadPages I would imagine the solution would be very plug and play. Something with the capacity to easily visualise trends in the data (across the various platforms) would be very powerful

      • Audrey Melnik

        @claycollins:disqus I’ve actually been looking for something that does exactly this and have been testing out a few solutions that combine a set of tools. Happy to chat further!

  • So it has to be some type of “surge protector” for all these different sources…a “master key” so to speak that analyzes and organizes all the systems and data from the platforms “plugged” into it. That’s my guess…I hope I’m right cuz that would be awesome hehe

    • Great idea!

    • Diane Holmes

      Surge Protector! Well said, Taylor Marie.

  • Nic Bird

    Can’t wait to see what it is!! We have been believers in ‘do one thing well rather than many with mediocrity’ as the corner stone of our software since day one so I LOVE this post:)

    • Thanks, Nic. I think that especially with software it’s really difficult to do everything well.

  • dan shea

    Would it have anything to do with creating & hosting my digital courses? Thanks

  • Tim

    I like it, bro – someone needs to have their head out of the weeds and thinking about the big picture. Bring it, ZenMaster Clay Collins!

  • ian david chapman

    Maybe a tool & dashboard to link together all the other best tools. Making the stitch together easier. Custom built marketing stacks for different business needs. A single monthly payment for each stack. That is cheaper than all the other services together .

    • @ian_david_chapman:disqus getting very close.

      • ian david chapman

        Probably not even possible to do the last thing on my list “A single monthly payment for each stack. That is cheaper than all the other services together .” since the strength of relationships with each of the top companies may be hard to pull off. But a good API integration and feedback mechanism giving stats and insights and also able to pass information back and forth would be cool. I was really wanting something like this when doing a job for a client who rents out apartments who was using about 6 different booking systems and nowhere was there any solution to pull everything together.

      • Alright . . . let’s make the announcement! 🙂

  • Ryan_Rahlf

    I’m in the middle of recommending a stable of these best-of-breed solutions for a client and struggling with finding an integration pattern that will allow them to automate as much as possible and still build reports across platforms. Some apps like DataHero are getting close, but have some glaring limitations. @claycollins:disqus, can’t wait to see what you’re releasing next…just in time for me to submit my recommendations. 🙂

  • So.. my initial fear is that this would be a reactionary pivot to companies like clickfunnels who are competing directly with the early vision of leadpages (and innovating on it, let’s be honest.. it’s all good, you still get to rest on your laurels in this space). But I’m glad to see that this is probably wrong, the larger opportunity is way beyond stickier front-end interfaces (landers, opt-ins, etc.) but really lies in the data.

    If you give us a back end to intelligently interact with all the awesome front-ends out there, then you’ve really got something awesome.

    I would like to see all ‘Do Everything’ suites out there slowly fade away, honestly, they promise too much, and deliver too little.

    • I really think CF and LP are trying to do different things. I think you’ll see this as the product roadmap develops.

      • I agree, but there’s clearly crossover 😉 hence my fear of a reactionary pivot to counter them… glad to see that’s probably not the case.

  • MediaGuy

    It sounds like an API “router” that directs contacts into our best-of-breeds apps…a Grand Central Station for all of our digital marketing assets — with a sweet, easy-to-comprehend GUI.

    • Man, did I give that much away in my post? Excellent conclusions. Will have more to say tomorrow.

    • Diane Holmes

      This analogy is genius, MediaGuy.

  • I had this argument with the CEO of one of the big marketing suites a while back. He’s absolutely convinced that “one platform to rule them all” is what his customers want. What he’s missing is that what his customers say they want and what they really want is different. They say they want one system that does everything because that’s the only way they think they can get what they really want: great results without lots of technical complexity and fiddling around.

    But the history of pretty much all technologies is that over time standard evolve to interconnect them and having best of breed solutions glued together becomes relatively simple. We may not be quite there yet but I’m so glad you’re moving in that direction rather than in “jack of all trades, master of none”.

    • Yes, Landon is going to cry.

      • Chris L. Davis

        Good one @TheActiveMarketer:disqus! We all know 😉

    • Really interesting. I received a text message from a marketing leader saying something similar.

  • Sheila Ludwick Paxton

    Email marketing solution with higher proven deliverability and ease in developing campaigns using LeadPages landing pages.

    • Not an ESP. Although I still think there’s so much room for improvement there.

  • Hm, I’m thinking something similar to Zapier (just in that it’s connecting other apps – I’ve explained Zapier to friends as “build your own connected suite”) but more focused on just marketing, and therefore simpler in some ways and more complex in others?

    • Zapier is great, but it’s mostly just pipes that connect one system to another. I don’t see Zapier as the thing you use to run your marketing stack.

      • It’s possible but clunky – not an ideal solution. :/ I’d love to see something similar that could be really specialized to the marketing team! Where instead of focusing on breadth of integrations, they could get really deep into a smaller category of tools. 🙂

  • Of course! It’s an all in one marketing suite!

  • Emma-Louise Smith

    I couldn’t agree more with this analysis. And based on this and what I personally view desirable – I expect you will be offering a way to stitch together the various best of breed platforms to create one powerfully unified database…

  • Gabrielle

    Yes, sound like might be building a database aggregation platform (bi-directional?) and a user-friendly dashboard for management? Something that makes all the toys play well together for a true customized best-of-both solution. (one can hope) And yes, you hit the nail on the head with your article, since I’m seeing the exact same issue in my industry… lots and lots of specific apps, but managing them all and getting them to play nicely together is the huge pain point, but using them is the only way to get exactly what you want for your business needs. Paying attention to see how close I am on this guess.

    • We wouldn’t do anything that wasn’t bi-directional.

  • Stephen Mayall

    It’s sure going to be interesting to see this, I’ve just started using Hubspot after being a big fan of their brand for a whilst, and have been hugely disappointed, what it does well: keeps everything in one place allows easy tracking and analytics and lead scoring. But mostly everything else is a bit painful and gluggy. So my guess reading this, maybe something that integrates any number of tools together with the ability to track and measure thrown in. Close?

  • Lee Shadle

    My guess is a Lead Management platform that integrates with the best of breed third party point-solution software.

  • Centralized platform to manage leads, customers, campaigns, pages, and everything in between…

  • Clay, thanks for sharing all this content. The all in one solution for Small & Medium sized businesses is my guest. This is a great opportunity to corner another piece of the market.

  • Katy

    I’m with a lot of these other guesses. Increased integration like what Trello and Slack are aiming for in other spaces. Use our software and you can easily hook in your Google Docs, Dropbox etc.

  • Diane Holmes

    What I see is the people with any hint of tech savvy end up bolting things together, because (absolutely) some piece of every solution out there seems to let you down. *cough, cough, sputter* Or your vision is grander than the “black box” you bought. Or today’s a new day and a new solution will make your life easier and free you up to do the visionary things you *should* be doing.

    But the FLOOD of new entrepreneurs who are now being invited to play online are everyday, almost-anti-tech-savvy heroes with dreams (often grand dreams that could change the world). And the only way they’ll ever be able to really do it is by getting that silver bullet app.

    So… what is the silver bullet app. Maybe, choice. 😉

  • Ricky

    Love what I am hearing
    If it’s a platform for marketing solution providers.
    I am all in and look for to talking to your head of biz Dev to
    Add our amazing low tech relationship building platform that has mass market appeal
    For smbs and enterprise as well.

    It’s the type of solution that could bring broad appeal to everyone involved

  • Ricky

    Oops..

    You and your team deserve all the success ,met Kat at pubcon..

    I hope to add some real value ….

  • baldarab

    You’re buying Zapier and putting a decent accessible database behind it?

  • If it lets me create actual connected and organized funnels instead of a huge collection of pages I’ll be a happy guy? 😉

  • I’m guessing you are going to do ONE thing really well, but create a “marketplace” via API where you can bolt on the other things. You’ll probably also have some kind of arrangement with the marketplace apps where you’ll generate revenue on the back-end every time the API is pinged. You have the customer base to attract multiple players who will want to play along. You’ll probably also have an arrangement with the marketplace partners (kinda like an affiliate arrangement) where they will be incentivized to bring you new customers. Win-win-win.

    I’m looking forward to see what you’ve got up your sleeve Clay. 🙂

  • Charles

    Brilliantly written Clay. Right on target in my opinion. My guess is this. Your new product will integrate with current third party best-of-breed point solutions. As newer and better solutions emerge those will be added. If current members fail they will be dropped.

    Am I right or am I right?

  • troymuir

    We’ve been using Zapier to do this for some time. I’d love to see something off the shelf! 🙂

  • I’ll bet you are going to integrate LeadPages using a SaaS integration tool like Dell Boomi to give easy integration between multiple hosted systems.

  • Brandon Cordoba

    I would guess something like zapier. But more advanced something where you can a set specific parameters & based on those commonly wanted triggers that bridge the gap between the gamut of products on the market.

  • This sounds like a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) solution for marketing tools – cannot wait to see the unveiling tomorrow!

  • Seventh Sense

    As the title says, “Most Important Blog Post of the Year”! Couldn’t be more accurate and as one of “those” plug-in technologies, look forward to seeing what you’ve got tomorrow!

  • Razak

    Well I am extremely happy to read this post as I was worried you were going to build your own all-in-one but now I am happy with the very obvious direction you are taking instead. Keen to see how it will all be implemented!

  • Twitopoly

    Clay, All I can guess is that it would be integration hub that talks too everything. All I can say….. why do I have wait one more day. I’m ready to BUY now! sold done… take my money… take it.

  • Razak

    It would be absoultely amazing if there was an article that continued the expansion of the social media software breakdown!

  • Terrance Collins

    Piggy in the middle that can be the overseer, benign autocrat that pulls all these disparate info/contact points together?

    And surely a strong dose of IFTTT so we can set our own rules.

  • Interesting. The reason I moved from my ISP provided mail solution to Google mail was integration. The cloud is changing everything. I am guessing that maybe you have teamed up with Zapier or similar to build plug and play integrations with leading marketing automation tools.

  • Here’s my guess which is heavily influenced by previous posters.

    You’re building a ‘Center’ (I saw that name on your pre-notification title) that will extract data from key ‘best of class’ solutions. You’re not trying to “be” those solutions, you simply want to unite their data.

    You’ll have a WordPress plugin that sends WP information about users and visitors to this ‘center’.

    Then you’ll obviously connect with Leadpages and other page builders to pull conversion rate info.

    There will be email integrations that connect to Aweber, MailChimp, GetResponse, etc that also pull in user information and email click/open activity.

    You’ll also connect with Shopify and other carts to pull in sales data.

    Then…we’ll **finally** be able to see that visitor A arrived to your blog via Facebook and joined your Aweber list through LeadPage C. Email #4 in your autoresponder results in a sale in Shopify 3 days later.

    LIke a dashboard with a holistic view of your customer/lead database. Much more than a CRM though.

    That’s what’s missing in the marketplace right now. At least from my humble perspective. If you pulled this off, my jaw will be left hanging.

    Congrats on all the success, Clay!

  • This is a VERY SMART group based the deep and thorough answers …and yes I can see that you found + served a niche with LeadPages originally…and since I’m a Leadpages FAN girl.-I’m excited to learn about the newest solution. I agree Clay that it is the execution that is the competitive edge longer term not the propriety info. I’m guessing a more seamless plug and play system for data base management for sure..I That is my biggest head ache right now as a start-up with my marketing education +consulting company. I am struggling trying to piece the endless pieces together for the best results…

  • Another great informative post Clay, good to see you posting again. Definitely look forward to tomorrow’s announcement!

  • The ability to be able to use best in class software due to having inbound integrations (i.e. push lead from close.io to sequence in getdrip,com) as well as outbound (send email address captured in leadpages to pre-populate samcart checkout) and have that data available to be seen in one place / dashboard is super needed in the fragmented space and will allow these smaller companies to focus on product rather than the next integration.

    However if one piece of software is able to do a good enough job of providing the entire funnel (design, automation, checkout) then it already has all of this data and behaviour to segment in one central place.

    The future of marketing automation is an exciting one!

  • Oh Clay, you’re such a tease to keep us guessing like this! But, guessing is what I do best, so here goes. Cloud based, multi-level and multi-faceted, platform and database aggregate compiler, with easy to learn and apply features; that seamlessly produce desirable, multi-page and multi-segmented results! I hope I didn’t leave anything out? Now, to decipher what this all means, please wait till tomorrows unveiling, and I promise to explain everything! Till then…:)

  • You are purchasing segment.io and creating a conduit and analytics platform between all things marketing?

  • Tai Goodwin

    Great post Clay! One of the things I love about LeadPages is how tapped in we are to not only the the needs and wants of our customers -but what’s also in the best interest for their bottom line.

  • Steve Zwonitzer

    I’m a digital marketing newbie and have been learning about the industry via HubSpot. I’ve been sold on them, but can’t afford their pricing. I’m guessing you’ve developed a great bridge type software. But, now I’m concerned about having to pay for so many different pieces of software plus yours…

  • Steve Zwonitzer

    I’m going to deploy the Jeff Walker Product Launch Formula to launch my own consumer products. I hope your new software will be the perfect match for me!

  • The anticipation is killing me.

  • Matt Bisogno

    A painless (or at least less frictious), modular solution that is sufficiently extensible/configurable to be tactical (point) or strategic (panoramic), depending on user’s needs?

    Very interested to see what’s coming.

  • VeloNomad

    An image credit to hyperboleandahalf seems in order.