The marketing technology (martech) landscape, as tracked by Scott Brinker, has exploded from less than 200 solutions in 2011 to almost 5,000 last year. To be sure, part of that is simply better discovery, but there has been real, and dramatic, expansion in spending as well as the number of vendors and products in the marketplace.
Brinker breaks the martech universe down into six high-level categories:
- Advertising & Promotion
- Content & Experience
- Social & Relationships
- Commerce & Sales
Each of those categories are further divided into more specific functional groupings. For example, under Content & Experience are a dozen sub-groups including mobile apps, video marketing, interactive content, email marketing, and SEO.
It’s an eminently logical taxonomy of martech tools, but it doesn’t lend itself to easily envisioning how different categories of tools fit and work together. Alternative frameworks like the Website Visibility and Engagement Model for Martech organize tools by their place in content marketing workflow:
- Content Strategy (e.g., ideation, planning, research)
- Content Development (writing tools, visual content creation, photo and video editing)
- Content Distribution (SEO, social media, influencer relations, email, online advertising)
- Content Performance Analytics (web analytics, competitive benchmarking, performance management)
Marketing teams are best served by mapping out their own optimized workflow processes, then investigating the tools available to help them improve their effectiveness and efficiency at each stage.
Here are 12 martech statistics that illuminate the current state of the market.
Spending on marketing technology and tools is growing, rapidly…
- 28 percent of marketing executives spend more than $100,000 per year on martech. (KoMarketing)
- 54 percent of marketing executives plan to increase their spending on marketing technology in 2018. (KoMarketing)
- Marketing technology spend is now higher than advertising spend for companies. (CMSWire)
…because it works…
- Marketers using automation software generate 2X the number of leads than those using blast email software and are perceived by their peers to be twice as effective at communicating. (LinkedIn Pulse)
…and artificial intelligence (AI) will make it even more powerful.
- Martech use of artificial intelligence (AI) is exploding. Global AI revenue is projected to reach $36.8 billion by 2025, a 57X increase over the$643.7 million level in 2017. (Mobile Business Insights)
- It’s predicted that AI will drive 95 percent of all customer interactions by 2025, with consumers unable to differentiate bots from human workers via online chats and over the phone. (Servion)
However, many companies—particularly small to midsized businesses (SMBs)—are struggling to choose the right technologies, keep up with changes, and use martech tools effectively.
- 26 percent of marketers rate “identifying the right technologies for our needs” among their top marketing challenges. (Digitant)
- 43 percent of marketers use between six and 10 different martech solutions, such as automation, social media monitoring, and SEO tools. 28 percent use more than 10 different tools. (KoMarketing)
- Nearly half (47 percent) of small retailers say their business can’t keep up with the most recent mobile marketing trends, and 54 percent complain it’s because mobile marketing technology moves too fast. (The Marketing Scope)
- When it comes to new technologies like virtual reality (VR) or chatbots, the majority of SMBs are taking a “wait and see” approach before adopting. 47.4 percent are “not at all interested” in VR; a third say the same for chatbots (with 31.5 percent “somewhat interested); and more than half have no interest in voice-command shopping technology through Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. (BigCommerce)
- More than half (54 percent) of retailers say they are “feeling the effects” of AI. And while, across industries, IT is the job function most affected by AI at 61 percent, marketing & communications is second at 32 percent. (Forbes)
- Companies should be taking a hard look not only at marketing technology (martech), but also salestech: 13 percent of sales pros say using sales technologies is harder now than it used to be. 45 percent of salespeople say they spend over an hour per day performing manual data entry. Another 23 percent identify manual data entry as the biggest challenge in using their CRM system. (Digitant)
The use of martech tools is essential to running an effective digital marketing operation. Smart companies will continue to increase their martech investments, and to push the envelope (though perhaps not too aggressively) on new capabilities. Businesses that fail to keep up will increasing find them themselves at a disadvantage to more technically savvy competitors.
Companies struggling with “tool overload” and actually becoming less efficient as they increase their use of technology can improve their operations by focusing on three areas:
Invest Strategically: As noted here previously in Marketing Technology: Too Many Tools, Too Little Strategy?, tactical buying of marketing tools leads to suboptimal technology selection, with resulting gaps and overlaps in functionality. Instead, model your ideal marketing operations and select tools strategically that work together to support your workflow.
Consolidate and Integrate: Where possible, consider buying tools that combine several functions into one platform, rather than separate tools for each. For example, all-in-one SEO tool suites combine capabilities like backlink analysis, rank tracking, keyword research, and competitive intelligence into one product. Where the suite approach isn’t practical, integrate disparate tools using Zapier or an alternative.
Train Your People: With technology advancing so quickly, it’s challenging to find experts in the use of every tool you want to implement. Develop your own experts instead, by training staff not just on how the tools work, but on how they work together to optimize your marketing operations.
As some of the findings above show, marketing technology itself won’t guarantee greater efficiency or better results. Capitalizing on the potential of martech tools requires a strategic approach to technology selection coupled with investments in integration and training.