Marketing tools dominate DEMO

DEMO Traction is the latest example of marketing technology taking over the world of enterprise tech. The benefit is lots of new tools. But one side effect is confusion.

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Marketing tech startups took the stage at the DEMO Traction event on the outskirts of San Francisco this week to give a four-minute spiel, hoping to impress a panel of judges and voting audience. These startups are diving into a booming market of some 3,000 vendors, including giants such as Oracle and Adobe. Their email pitches will surely end up in the cluttered inboxes of marketers across the country.

Can they rise above the noise?

On the social and content front, Unmetric claims it could evaluate the effectiveness of a brand's social media content against other brands' content. Beachfront Media touts a video distribution and ad platform for marketers. DocSend says it can tell marketers what happens to documents they send out. Booshaka promises to connect audiences across various social channels.

[Related: 8 DEMO Traction products you have to see ]

On the mobile front, Stanza has taken dead aim at the mobile calendar app with an add-to-calendar button that updates events on the fly. Appboy analyzes how users are engaging -- or not engaging -- with marketing apps. For marketers in the hospitality trade, GuestU is an app that acts as a mobile concierge. Candy Lab unwrapped its CandyBAR mobile platform for location-based custom apps. And FollowAnalytics bills its service as mobile marketing analytics and automation for enterprise marketers.

When marketers market marketing tech ...

For marketers already bombarded by marketing tech pitches, that's a lot to take in. Even worse, many marketing tech vendors pepper their speech with vague buzzwords and lofty promises, making it all a little unclear what they actually provide or how they plan to compete in a market chock full of competitors -- a theme echoed time and again by the judges.

"Where do they have the heads up on the market?" says Kara Nortman, partner at Upfront Ventures and DEMO judge, about a presenter.

"There are a number of other players," says Rohit Bodas, partner at American Express Ventures and DEMO judge, about another presenter. "It's a very crowded space."

"What are they doing that's unique?" says Alex Rosen, managing director at IDG Ventures and DEMO judge, about yet another presenter.

CMO Des Cahill at Samepage and DEMO judge did give DocSend a ringing endorsement. "I think there's a jewel there," he says.

Herein lies the problem.

Step aside for marketing tech

DEMO Traction is just the latest example of marketing tech taking over the world of enterprise tech. There are boundless opportunities, as digital marketers in practically every company seek to wield new-fangled tools and seize the customer experience. Tech stalwarts and entrepreneurs alike are flocking to this space to provide them with those tools.

"It's a moment in time when there's a lot of confusion," says Nortman at Upfront Ventures.

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