The market technology pie is getting big. How big? Over the next five years, we’ll spend $130 billion on everything from CRM systems to omnichannel analytics. According to IDC, CMOs will spend $32.3 billion annually on technology by 2018. That’s a compound growth rate of 12.5%.
Yes, we’re in the middle of a marketing technology feeding frenzy, but that doesn’t mean we should just jump in and see how much we can eat and how fast. With an explosion of tools, apps and platforms available to us, it’s more important than ever to put serious thought into exactly how much and which flavor of marketing technology pie we’ll consume. In other words, just like we need a go-to-market strategy, segment penetration strategy, channel and campaign strategy, modern marketing today demands that we also have a marketing technology strategy.
There’s no getting around the fact that technology now fuels today’s marketing discipline. Chief Martec’s latest Marketing Technology Landscape calls out 1,876 companies across 43 categories. Three short years ago, there were 350. Clearly, we can’t possibly gobble up the whole marketing tech pie. But how do we choose what to consume? Should we just pick the best offering in each of the 43 categories and be done with it?
No, and here’s why: New niche players are arriving all the time and we shouldn’t expect that to end any time soon. Marketing technologies—indeed, entire marketing tech categories emerge, flounder, thrive, die and get subsumed into other categories every day. “Gamification”, for instance, called out as a separate category two years ago never did emerge. Today, it’s more or less an engagement feature included on community and social sites. Completely absent from the tech landscape just three years ago, “Influencer Marketing” is now a full blown marketing tech category with scores of solution providers. In the 2012 Landscape, there were three categories related to analytics and measurement: Analytics, Testing and Optimization, and Business Intelligence. In 2015, those three categories expanded to five: Performance and Attribution, Dashboards and Visualization, Business/Customer Intelligence and Data Science, Web and Mobile Analytics, and Call Analytics/Management.
Our marketing technology strategy needs a simpler, more fundamental approach than simply diving into every new solution category that pops up fearing that if we don’t, we’ll get left behind. Don’t just expect the marketing tech pie to keep growing, expect it to morph. Expect those 43 buying categories to look completely different in five years.
So how should we look at the marketing tech landscape in a more fundamental way? Look a little closer at those 1,876 solutions providers and you’ll see they all have something in common. They all produce, manage, and/or analyze marketing data. As such, data is the most basic ingredient in the marketing tech pie—a true fundamental.
So when you sign up for the marketing technology pie-eating contest, think first about your strategy for marketing data management rather than getting mired in worries about which tools you’ll need for tactical execution. As the pie continues to grow—and morph—marketing data integration should be your first thought. How all those 1,876 solutions (or your particular five or six or twelve) work together must be central to your strategy, or you’ll be forever cursed with falling for the flavor of the day.