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The State of Martech 2018: Maximizing Value

Jennifer Mulligan

Jennifer Mulligan

In early April, my colleague and I sat in eager anticipation for the latest Martech Supergraphic at the Martech conference in San Jose. If this sounds exciting to you, you clearly know something about the space, which is centered around enabling marketers to better connect with their customers via technology.

At Walker Sands, we’ve been eagerly watching the number of available marketing technology solutions grow from under 200 in 2011 to nearly 7,000 with the latest Supergraphic release.

This year, we once again partnered with the Supergraphic’s creator and martech thought leader Scott Brinker to survey marketers on their attitudes, perceptions and beliefs regarding their own use of technology and thoughts on the future.

Our 2018 State of Marketing report shows that, as in the past three years, marketers remain eager and invested (emotionally and financially) in the tools that they’re using. In 2018, however, we discovered that marketers have abandoned the “set and forget” mentality and the desire to make one major purchase. This is a natural evolution from our findings last year, which found that marketers are forgoing all-in-one cloud-based suites in favor of comprehensive stacks. According to Brinker’s Martech keynote, these stacks contain an average of 91 different SaaS solutions.

How are they managing those solutions? Our annual survey of 300 marketers found:

Adoption Isn’t the Challenge

When it comes to the use or concept of martech, marketers are all in – so much so that they’re evaluating their stack every six months to a year. Twenty-four percent of respondents said that they evaluated their tech at the half year mark; the same proportion evaluated solutions annually.

This indicates that solutions are so plentiful that marketers have myriad options to meet their needs – and are content to play the field. As Brinker stated in the report: “Marketing technology is evolving faster than most marketing organizations can absorb it.”

Agility Follows Adoption

Nearly half of marketers feel that the space is evolving rapidly, which is not a surprise. The largest proportion of marketers, however, feel that their company is one step behind in the space. Thirty-seven percent of marketers say their company’s use of marketing technology has evolved steadily, but only one-fifth of marketers say their company has kept pace with the industry and evolved rapidly.

The discrepancy isn’t universally due to budgets, however: over half agree or strongly agree that their companies are investing the right amount in martech. Internal resistance to change may be the culprit: after cost and implementation struggles, it’s the factor most often cited as a hurdle to martech success.

Optimism is on the Rise

Along with budgets, marketers’ willingness to embrace change means that vendors will have big potential in 2018. Forty-one percent of marketers say they have the tech skills to elevate their entire department. That optimism, however, is tempered by the additional challenge in ensuring that martech stacks are up to date and sufficient. Fewer marketers felt that their tech was up to date and sufficient to help them do their jobs (63 percent this year vs. 69 percent last year).

Download the latest version of Walker Sands’ State of Martech 2018 here, and check out past studies here to view the evolution of marketing technology and marketers’ attitudes toward it over the past three years. If you’re interested in learning more about how Walker Sands can elevate the awareness around your solution and drive leads, check out our martech capabilities here.