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State of Martech Report: Most Companies Can’t Keep Up with Rapid Evolution of Marketing Technology

CHICAGO – Nov. 2, 2016 – More than half of marketers think the marketing technology landscape is evolving faster than their companies’ adoption of the technology, according to a new study from public relations and digital marketing agency Walker Sands Communications.

The Walker Sands State of Marketing Technology 2017 report, called “Closing the Gap Between Martech Innovation and Adoption,” finds that 56 percent of companies can’t keep up with the pace of change in the martech industry, and only 9 percent of marketers say their companies are outpacing the industry when it comes to technology adoption.

Co-sponsored by Walker Sands and the blog, the second annual State of Marketing Technology study shows how marketers are responding to the rapid evolution of the marketing technology landscape. While marketers acknowledge the martech space is moving at a dizzying speed, companies have made significant progress over the past year when it comes to martech adoption.

“Marketers are a tech-savvy group, and they’ve been frustrated in the past at their companies’ relatively slow adoption of marketing technology,” said Dave Parro, a partner and vice president who leads the marketing technology practice at Walker Sands. “That seems to be changing, though, and they’re becoming much more optimistic about innovation within their organizations.”

Based on a survey of more than 300 professional marketers, the study finds that almost three-quarters (72 percent) of marketers say the martech landscape is evolving at
light speed or rapidly, compared to only a third (33 percent) who say the same thing about their companies’ use of marketing technology. Despite that disparity, marketers say their companies are starting to close the gap between martech innovation and adoption:

  • More than double the number of marketers now call their companies innovators or early adopters in marketing technology adoption compared to a year ago (48 percent vs. 20 percent).
  • Seventy percent of marketers expect their companies’ marketing technology budgets to increase in 2017, and only 2 percent expect a decrease.
  • Seven out of 10 marketers (71 percent) believe their companies invest the right amount in martech, up from 50 percent a year ago.
  • The number of marketers who feel the marketing technology in place at their companies helps them do their jobs more effectively increased from 58 percent to 69 percent year over year.

The rapid evolution of the martech landscape appears to be shaping how marketers build
their technology stacks. Instead of getting locked into single-vendor suites, the reports shows that marketers are gravitating toward integrated best-of-breed architecture, which gives them the agility, flexibility and diversity of technology they can’t find in all-in-one solutions.

Nearly half (48 percent) of marketers have embraced best-of-breed stacks made up of multiple tools instead of single-vendor suites (21 percent). More importantly, the marketers who have integrated best-of-breed solutions get the most value from their technology stacks, with 83 percent rating their companies’ ability to leverage the full power of their tools as “excellent” or “good” — compared to 66 percent of marketers overall and 76 percent of single-vendor suite users.

“This space is just changing at a phenomenal rate,” said Scott Brinker, editor of whose Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic has tracked the rapid evolution of the martech industry since 2011. “That becomes one of the contributing factors to why best-of-breed stacks are winning out in popularity over the suites. The space is changing too fast for any one vendor to keep up with the whole thing.”

The Walker Sands State of Marketing Technology 2017 study is based on a survey of 335 U.S. marketers conducted online between Sept. 15 and Oct. 11, 2016. Respondents were limited to professionals who currently work in the marketing department of a company or organization.

To download the full report, visit the Walker Sands website.

About Walker Sands:
Walker Sands is a public relations and digital marketing agency for business-to-business technology companies. With an integrated approach known as the Digital Ecosystem, Walker Sands helps clients build brand awareness, enhance credibility and drive new business. Walker Sands is a four-time Inc. 5000 honoree and regular recipient of some of the industry’s most prestigious awards from organizations including PRSA, Holmes Report and PR News. Walker Sands was founded in 2001 and has offices in Chicago and San Francisco. To learn more, visit