Making Sense of the Martech Universe

A marketing technology or martech stack is a group of technologies that marketers can use to implement, analyse, and improve their marketing across the customer life cycle. These technologies enable marketers to improve internal collaboration, measure the impact of their marketing activities, and reach customers in new ways.

A 2018 study by Gartner found that "Marketing Technology" ranked fourth in terms of how Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) allocated their budget, behind “Labour”, “Paid Media” and “Agencies”. In 2019, CMOs allocated 29% of their budgets towards marketing technologies.

Marketers and vendors keep finding new ways to communicate with consumers and other businesses, expanding the total number of martech solutions every year. Scott Brinker, Editor of, and foremost expert in the field has been publishing an annual look at the state of the martech sector since 2011. For 2020, Brinker identifies no fewer than 7040 unique solutions available, spanning 6 categories, and 49 subcategories.

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That’s a lot of products. And the sheer scope of what’s available can make choosing the right solution for your marketing needs a very daunting task.

Changing Patterns Of Technology Use

In his 2020 assessment of the martech space, Scott Brinker observes a shift in the technology market where there are more platform ecosystems with a “blending of software and services business models”. This reflects the fact that marketers are now looking for solutions that help them address multiple needs in a single place, rather than using different apps for different purposes. It’s a shift that marks the evolution of martech from a disparate set of siloed tools into fully integrated solutions.

Certain patterns of technology use are also emerging. 83% of B2B marketers are going to focus more on data analytics in 2020, according to a recent survey by Dun & Bradstreet. And according to the International Data Corporation, spending on AI-based marketing technology solutions is projected to reach $52.2 billion by 2021.

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Globally, there’s a strong demand for martech solutions. A survey by BDO, WARC, and the University of Bristol observes that marketing automation budgets increased 25% last year. The martech industry in North America and the UK is valued at $65.9 billion, with the global market estimated to be $121 billion.

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Challenges To Understanding The Martech Universe In Australia

Despite the intention to invest, many marketers remain at a loss on how to choose, and how to use, marketing technology. Research conducted late last year by digital strategy agency ntegrity reveals that Australian companies are generally lacking in martech know-how. And worryingly, while 49% of marketers speak positively about their martech stack, one in five have only negative things to say.

Customer experience in the martech sector is also less than positive. The ntegrity study reveals that one in four companies get duped and experience buyer’s remorse after buying into a martech platform that fails to live up to expectations. Around 30% are unable to identify which martech provides them with the best Return On Investment (ROI).

The annual study conducted by independent market research agency, The Insights Grill, places much of the blame on a low level of digital sophistication in the country, with the top 76% of marketers reporting there is a lack of digital talent in Australia overall.

The Australian Digital Success Report indicates that the largest challenge Australian companies face with their martech is knowing what to invest in. Second on the list of constraints is training staff on how to use the technology, and making ongoing training a workable priority. The situation is so acute that one in four companies are unable to use the martech they’ve invested in.

The bid to stay on top of new and existing technology leaves many organisations with a martech stack that’s in a never-ending state of construction. Most worrying of all, one in five Australian marketers described their martech stacks as a ‘convoluted mess’.

How To Make The Right Martech Choices

Much of the problem with martech stems from the assumption that technology is an end in itself. The true value that marketing technology offers is in the strategies and approaches it enables marketers to adopt, and in the way it can positively impact the customer experience.

For this reason, the first step in deciding on a martech solution needs to be a strategic one. Before your can build or update your marketing stack, you have to have a marketing strategy in place that’s built around your product, the customer base you’re looking to attract, and the ways that you’ll reach out to them.

You’ll need to adopt a customer-centric approach, and incorporate customer insights into the decision making process, before any technology purchase or implementation. Besides a thorough knowledge of your customers needs and pain points, you should take into account any industry best practices and other conditions specific to your business.

Putting the customer at the centre of your considerations is also a prescription for including your consumers in the workings of your martech processes. That means making provision for customer feedback, customer satisfaction and survey data, the analysis of churn and attribution data, and other mechanisms that enable your organisation to measure the success and ROI of your martech efforts. You should use the technology to deepen human ties, keep the focus on the consumer, and enhance your marketing strategy.

Before making a technology choice, it’s also important to carefully analyse your current marketing practices, identify where they match the strategy you’ve established, and where they hamper it. Identify where you lack processes and where you need to do things differently, and make these observations the basis on which you select your martech solutions.

Note that business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) marketing require different channels and techniques to acquire customers, and will have varying technological needs as a result. This said, all schools of marketing require tools to attract consumers, mechanisms and processes to engage the customer, and platforms and tools to analyse and optimise the marketing activity.

Benefits Of A Successful Martech Deployment

The right choice of tools and technology partners can streamline, enhance, and even transform your marketing and sales efforts. A successful martech implementation will also assist your organisation in keeping pace with changing industry trends, and enables management to allocate the right resources across the digital marketing spectrum to see consistent ROI.

Adopting an integrated solution that connects disparate martech tools provides the single view of the consumer and single source of truth you need to deliver the level of customer experience that boosts sales, increases conversions, and engenders greater loyalty. A coherent technology platform also promotes consistent delivery of content, while increasing efficiency and agility within the organisation.

Making Martech Make Sense

With a universe of martech options available, there has to be strategy behind your technology selection in order for it to be successful. And getting a balanced mix between the right tools and the right staff is crucial.

Richenda Vermeulen, founder and CEO of ntegrity, puts it this way: “If you hire talent but they don’t have the right tools in place, it’s like hiring a Michelin Star chef and then giving them a microwave to cook with. How can organisations navigate the more than 7000 martech options? Don’t fall into the art of ‘what’s possible’ and be duped by a flashy sales pitch. Understand what you need, be led by your strategy and always insist on a pilot run. Speak with existing users of the tech to understand their experiences, as the most valuable intel will come from those who have been there, done that.”

Making the right marketing technology choices and navigating the martech maze will be hot topics at eTail Australia 2020, which takes place from 13 - 15 October, 2020, at the Sydney Harbour Marriott, Australia.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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