New: The 2017 Marketing Technology Landscape

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Scott Brinker of chiefmartec.com has proved himself indefatigable yet again.  Here's the latest in his series of annual marketing technology landscape graphs, being unveiled today at the MarTech conference in San Francisco. A more legible version is available at his blog.

(Credit: Scott Brinker, editor of chiefmartec.com and chair of the MarTech conference, and Anand Thaker, CEO of IntelliPhi.)

Headline statistics: the graph displays

  • 5,381 solutions
  • 4,891 unique companies
  • An increase of 39% and 40% respectively over last year
  • Only 4.7% of solutions fell off the graph from last year

The increase in scale is remarkable. I asked Brinker whether he thought the companies and solutions new to the graph were created in the last twelve months, or is if they were just previously undiscovered. The latter would be completely understandable: When he sat down with CabinetM last summer to compare directories, they each found they were missing nearly 2,000 companies which the other had listed. 

Here's what he told me: "I believe mostly the latter — a lot that had been around earlier that I simply didn't discover last year: Different verticals, international ventures, flying under the radar before, etc. We're working on an analysis of the age of most of the companies themselves, but I probably won't have that this week. However, by the same rationale, there could be new ones that came up this year under the radar that I haven't heard about yet either."

The real question, of course, is whether the space is growing faster than ever before. That seems unlikely, but at the end of the day only the data will tell us.

An ancillary question, and one I've been debating with Brinker recently, is whether it's absurd, in the light of this landscape, to claim that the marketing tech space is "consolidating." I think we're both clear now that we were really arguing a semantic point. As Brinker said in an email accompanying the graph: "The distribution of marketing technology vendors is essentially a 'long tail' — a small number of major providers (e.g., Adobe, HubSpot, Marketo, Oracle, Salesforce, etc.), and a vast array of niche innovators, vertical specialists, and disruptive challengers," concluding that the space has grown more than it has consolidated.

I agree, of course, with Brinker's broad description of the space, but — to me, at least — the dominance of a relatively limited number of large vendors does indeed represent consolidation, regardless of the length of the tail. Of course, one of the traditional hallmarks of a consolidate industry is a high barrier to entry: This doesn't seem to exist with marketing tech — but then again, I suspect the traditional view of consolidation preceded the cloud.

What's clear, in any case, is that marketing tech remains vibrant and that we'll still be debating its trajectory when the 2018 landscape appears. The Martech 6000?

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