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Why Best-of-Breed MarTech Solutions Aren’t the End of the Road

Sarah Hale

One of the most striking findings from our most recent study on the State of Marketing Technology was that the vast majority of marketers are embracing best-of-breed solutions in their roles. Nearly half (48 percent) of those surveyed have embraced best-of-breed solutions, compared to 21 percent who were using a single-vendor suite and another 21 percent who had embraced limited piecemeal solutions.

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Viewed at face value, implementing martech seems like an end game. Sure, companies may face implementation challenges or ultimately change solutions, but adoption is what the industry and individual companies have been focused on for at least a decade.

Yet the popularity of highly designed, descriptive slides of a company’s martech stack and a corresponding award indicates another problem. The average marketer uses 12 distinct tools - a number that’s struck me as low after seeing countless “typical” stacks of 20+ solutions.

In our study, 21 percent of marketers said that they were using best-of-breed solutions - but those solutions are fragmented. Coupled with the number of marketers using piecemeal solutions, this indicates that in 2017, marketers will be looking for data infrastructure and addressable marketing solutions, for example - showing that organizations will need to bridge the gap between their existing solutions and show they can coexist.

Here’s how B2B marketers can anticipate what marketers will be looking for in 2017:

  • Emphasize interconnectivity: It’s common for martech solutions to tout their integration with Salesforce and Marketo, for instance. But with fewer marketers than last year concerned about implementation (24 percent, compared to 35 percent last year), martech vendors should begin to shift their focus from easing concerns about implementations to bragging about the ability to connect with other solutions. It’s likely that, given the complexity of the martech space, marketers will do the same.
  • Don’t neglect emotional appeals: Fifty-six percent of marketers say the marketing technology space is moving faster than their companies can keep up. It’s a logical concern, and one that undoubtedly creates a lot of anxiety. In 2017, present your solution as one that’s futureproof and easily integrates with other solutions as mentioned above. Go further, however, and demonstrate that you have marketers’ concerns and interests at heart by sharing case studies and testimonials that emphasize your solution’s ability to bridge to others.
  • Target early adopters: Martech integrators will gain steam in 2017, but marketers will undoubtedly still be grappling with basic implementation and adoption. Focus, then, on the early adopters. The good news is you can target early adopters at the individual level, as early adopters on a personal basis tend to be early adopters in the industry: our study found that innovators are more likely to call their companies innovators, for example, and laggards, laggards, at every part of the tech adoption bell curve.

Download the complete State of Marketing Technology 2017 report to learn more on how marketers feel about martech and what your company can do to adapt and anticipate where the industry is heading.