By Adam Fraser
Scott Brinker, aka chiefmartec.com, has released his annual infographic into the marketing technology landscape (the one you see at almost every marketing conference on the planet with the tiny logos jammed in, that tends to get a “that’s insane” reaction).
Incredibly, it keeps getting larger and more complex. From 2,000 tools in 2015 to 3,500 in 2016, up to an amazing 5000+ in 2017 when the “Martech5000” was born. However, 2018 has gone up a notch again with an incredible 6,826 tools from 6,242 unique vendors. Wow!
From social media to newsletter marketing, e-commerce to CRM, all the subsections continue to grow. As one stark data point – the size of the 2018 landscape is equivalent to adding all of the martech landscapes assembled from 2011 to 2016 together.
I was lucky enough to have Scott as my very first podcast guest back in April 2015. Even back then – in a world of “only” 2,000 tools – we discussed the complexity of the market and whether consolidation was imminent. We discussed this again on the podcast in 2017 as we hit 5,000+ tools, exploring why consolidation was still seemingly not on the horizon.
It should be noted that the raw landscape doesn’t accurately reflect the sizes of the different martech companies. If they were to be organised by valuation, it would illustrate a classic long tail; a handful of multi-billion dollar giants in the “head,” quickly tapering out across a very long “tail” of thousands of smaller firms.
There are a number of drivers of this breadth and complexity in the marketing technology landscape – including (at a high level) low barriers to entry in a cloud-driven world, media fragmentation in a post-internet world, the rapidly changing consumer buyer journey, constant technology innovation and increasing private equity interest (2017 was a record year with over $14 billion invested in the sector).
The landscape is divided into subcategories. The largest category — the category with the greatest number of vendors — this year was Sales Automation, Enablement & Intelligence, with 490 solutions. Salestech is a big thing!
One final (also mindblowing) data point – the average enterprise uses over 1,000 cloud services, led by 91 in the marketing function. The world of the API – and stitching together best of breed solutions – is alive and well.
If you are feeling utterly overwhelmed by this landscape and what it means for marketing and IT professionals please know you are not alone! The basic premise remains – strategy first, technology second. Focus on your business objectives and your marketing strategy and execution. Then, and only then, start to think about how technology can enable and potentially turbocharge your business processes.
People, process and technology. A three-legged stool. In almost all cases the technology decision should come last not first.