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The State of Martech 2017: Why the sudden optimism?

Sarah Hale

Reviewing our second annual State of Marketing Technology Report, we were struck by how much the space has changed. Based on numbers alone, the number of solutions has ballooned 84 percent from just last year. According to, there are now a staggering 3,874 solutions.

Selecting the right solution from this mass of logos reminds me of playing the claw machine - precision is required, but the risk of slipping up is high.

Video courtesy of Picktzar

Most marketers have to make multiple attempts to grab the right CRM, CMS, DMP, etc. Then, the hard work of integrating these solutions begins.

It’s not surprising, then, that 56 percent of marketers say that the marketing tech industry is progressing faster than their companies can keep up. Sixteen percent say that the industry is moving at “light speed,” while the largest proportion of that group said their companies were moving at a more languid pace, or “steadily” toward full adoption, illustrating a gap between individual companies and the industry.

Looking at the situation objectively, marketers are on a treadmill and can’t keep up. Curiously, though, they see the situation a little more optimistically. Last year, 20 percent of marketers called their companies innovators or early adopters. Now, that number has more than doubled to 48 percent.


This could mean that marketers are viewing their work lives through rose-colored glasses - the pace of change is increasing, but their companies must surely be at the forefront. More likely, however, this means that marketers and their companies are willing to try new technology, but are quickly outpaced by new developments in the space.

The data hints that repeat purchases may be common as a result of this constant change: 9 out of ten companies expect to purchase a new tool in 2017. Of those tools, the five most common include social media marketing (32 percent), ad tech (28 percent), email marketing (27 percent), analytics (24 percent) and content marketing (21 percent). These tools have lower up-front investment and switching costs, indicating that marketers are willing to explore their options. If SpyFu doesn’t work out, for instance, it’s easy enough to sub in Moz.

A general sense of optimism and willingness to try or switch tools can serve vendors well. The savviest vendors will promote the low switching cost and high compatibility of their product, capitalizing on increases in both budgets and general attitudes toward marketing technology this year.