By Adam Fraser.
Scott Brinker at ChiefMartec.com produces an excellent infographic showing the breadth and depth of the marketing technology landscape.
In 2014 there were 947 companies with offerings in marketing technology. Before you fall off your chair at that number, just a year later in the 2015 update there were 1,876 vendors across 43 categories. That’s right – nearly 2,000 companies with offerings in marketing software! For a longer term context, note that in the first edition of this analysis in late 2011 there were only 100 vendors. Thats quite an explosion of marketing technology in circa 3 years.
What is going on here? 2014 was already a staggering number but in just a year it has almost doubled.
First and foremost (and self evidently from the growth in the number of operators) this is a macro market growing fast. Really fast. IDC forecast a global sector valued at $20.2bn on software solutions for marketing in 2014, growing to $32.3bn by 2018. Hence the much quoted stat from Gartner that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs. Investors like the potential of this sector having invested almost $50bn in this space. The world (and hence the marketing world) is increasingly digital.
Suddenly CMOs are operating in a world where they need to be familiar with a range of bigger picture IT related issues – roadmaps, data architecture, platforms, the cloud, integration – as well as ‘mechanical’ issues re the operation of numerous individual tools. No question the worlds of the CMO and CIO are converging. This is driving a “new” job definition in the USA of ‘marketing technologist’ – hybrid marketing/IT professionals who operate increasingly sophisticated tech powered capabilities from within the marketing team.
Realistically, all marketers must now become part ‘marketing technologist’, regardless of their specific job. Big data is having a big impact on the world of the marketer. Beyond analytics, there are now certain skills all marketers need to have in 2015.
Scott has 4 key take away high level points from the landscape
- Marketing has unquestionably become a technology-powered discipline.
- The quantity of martech ventures is a barometer of how much marketing is evolving.
- The marketing technology field is heterogeneous, with a very broad range of products.
- To thrive in this environment, marketing should steadily develop its technical talent.
I think points 2-4 are self evident but I would like to explore point 1 a bit further. This is not what Scott is saying, but my extended rhetorical question is – has marketing become a science not an art? Do smart tools, big data and algorithms now power marketing rather than creativity and intuition? Do we just flick a switch for magic to happen?
Very few issues in business are black or white and I think this topic is also one of relativity. Marketing has always been about knowing your customer and understanding the numbers, but I think most would agree, the rapid evolution of technology since the advent of the internet has allowed a depth and granularity of numeric analysis, together with a speed and ease of capture, not previously possible. Marketers can quickly and cost effectively track and access more data than ever which inter-alia should assist business decision making.
That being said we need to always remember tools are….just that…tools. Technology is there to help. Let’s not put the cart before the horse. Tools are not a substitute for effective business processes, strong corporate culture, aligned happy employees, insightful strategic analysis or creative brilliance. As Bill Gates said:
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
Having the world’s best CRM system doesn’t magically transform a business into an effective sales organisation. Likewise you can implement the best workflow and content marketing software in the world, but if your content stinks and you don’t care about your audience’s needs, you won’t succeed. There are a myriad of tools available in social media marketing but without the correct strategy, they won’t be a magic wand to success. Human IP still matters. You need the right advice and the right people to drive your marketing strategy and business processes, facilitated by the right tools.
Don’t start with the tool, start with the business problem you are trying to solve.
We shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the volume of marketing software tools out there. We should be grateful that we will live in an era where if the correct culture, processes, people and strategy are in place, we have some amazing, cost effective and easily accessible tools available to fast track us to success.