The State of Marketing Technology

 In Digital Marketing

Let’s face it, technology is pretty awesome. Without it, we wouldn’t have iPhones, Tesla cars or Domino’s Pizza chatbots.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that new technology is changing the face of marketing and how brands operate. In fact, there is an entire industry around it this marriage between traditional marketing and a new technology called Martech (because everyone loves a snappy name).

Chances are if you’re in any sort of marketing today you’re already involved with and using Martech on a consistent basis.

What is Martech?

Still not sure exactly what MarTech is, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Here is the official definition from MartechToday:

Martech is the blending of marketing and technology. Virtually anyone involved with digital marketing is dealing with martech, since digital by its very nature is technologically-based. The term “martech” especially applies to major initiatives, efforts and tools that harness technology to achieve marketing goals and objectives.

Primarily Martech is all about tools and there are thousands of them, literally.

The Explosion of Marketing Tools

These tools run the gamut from content marketing to sales automation to interactive advertising to social media management. Basically, everything most marketers use today to run their business. Tools that many of us would be lost without.

Pretty incredible since the vast majority of the common Martech tools we all use have mostly all been around for about 5 years or less.

Take a look at this graphic from Cheifmartech, it shows over 3,500 different tools in the marketing technology landscape. The incredible thing is, this chart is only as of March 2016, so no doubt there are dozens (if not hundreds) more tools now.

marketing technology landscape 2016

Now, look at the evolution of marketing technology from just the past 5 years until now:

evolution of marketing technology

There is no doubt you’re using at least a handful of these tools in your own personal lives. What’s really fascinating, though, is how Martech is being accepted and used on the brand side of things.

The State of Marketing Technology

In a recently released study, Walker Sands Communications teamed up with Cheifmartech.com’s Scott Brinker to really dig into where Martech stands today. The report is called The State of Marketing Technology in 2017.

While this is only the second year the report has been released, it does give us a nice insight into how marketers and brands are dealing with Martech, respectively.

In the rest of this post, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the findings of the study. Hopefully, after reading this you’ll have a very good idea of what the outlook for Martech over the coming year, and learn some of the biggest roadblocks that you might be seeing in your company.

Playing Catchup

One of the biggest frustrations cited in last year’s report was the feeling of lag between the marketing technology that individual marketers were using in their personal lives and the brands they worked with.

There’s no doubt that many of today’s marketers are tech-savvy and quite a few are early adopters of the newest tools and resources, so many were increasingly frustrated when their brands weren’t on the same page.

tech adoption

Many marketers felt that by lagging behind in tech, the brand was losing out on potential increases efficiency, content, and even revenue by not embracing new tools.

The numbers back it up, in 2015, only 20% of marketers called their companies innovators or early adopters in marketing technology innovation.

The good news is the lag seems to be turning around. This year, that number rose to 48%, so a pretty dramatic increase, which is good news for the Martech industry as a whole.

The Shift in Marketing Stacks

This year’s report also noted two interesting tidbits about marketing stacks.

The first goes to show just how technologically advanced marketing has become, as in the words of Scott Brinker, “Martech becoming democratized, not centralized.” That means that these marketing stacks (tools) are no longer primarily under the purview of the IT department, who in the past typically managed an all-in-one marketing solution as part of the tech side of the business.

Now, marketing managers and departments are taking control of Martech stacks, and that also includes making the purchasing decisions as well.

The second interesting piece of information is that marketers are turning to ‘best of breed’ marketing technology stacks, meaning the best system or tool in a specific niche.


Rather than using full all-in-one marketing solutions, companies and marketers are finding better success by mixing and matching their chosen best of breed tools and integrating them all together to form a bespoke marketing system.

As more and more tools emerge over the coming years, it will be interesting to see if the best of breed integration path continues to grow or shrinks because companies may be faced with too many choices.


Right now, the majority of brands are using between two and five tools in their marketing technology stacks.

martech stacks

So, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that the biggest sticking point for many marketers is finding the right strategy. In fact, in the report, 39% of marketers cited having a better marketing strategy as key to fully leveraging their Martech stack.

What is encouraging about this number is it highlights just how far Martech has come in being seen as vital tools for brands and marketers. Now, their focus is on how they can best effectively use all of the various tools at their fingertips for the best path to success.

Final Thoughts

It is safe to say that brands and marketers are embracing Martech on a large scale level and are using everything marketing technology has to offer to improve their reach and offer a better experience to consumers.