The Marketing-Tech Landscape Continues Its Blazing Growth

Marketers are spoiled for choice. There are 1,876 companies and open source projects represented in 43 categories of marketing technology, according to Scott Brinker, who tracks the mar-tech landscape. But this abundance can be overwhelming. (Click the above image to get the full impact of its breadth.)

“It’s a two-edged sword,” says Brinker, president, cofounder, and CTO of ion Interactive. “On the upside: Marketers have bountiful choice, and all this competition helps drive up innovation and drive down price, while providing many opportunities for differentiating your marketing. On the downside: It’s a lot of choice.”

Indeed, the playing field has doubled since Brinker’s 2014 Marketing Technology Landscape supergraphic, he points out. Why? Innovation and demand. Brinker cites IDC’s prediction that the worldwide spend for marketing software will be $22.6 billion this year and will grow to $32.3 billion by 2018.

Another observation Brinker makes in comparing his 2014 and 2015 landscape graphics is what he calls a “dual narrative” in marketing technology. There’s consolidation, as major players including Adobe, Oracle, and Salesforce.com continue their acquisitive ways, in many cases pursuing platform strategies, he says. But there’s also diversification through a continuous launch of start-ups that is outpacing the rate of acquisition and failure combined. Additionally, what Brinker calls “marketing middleware” is emerging, aiming to improve the manageability of the ever-growing marketing stacks.

So how can marketers choose the right mix of technologies from the array of tools available? “I think the best strategy is to be a “satisficer,” Brinker says. “You’re not looking for the perfect marketing stack; you’re looking to use tools that are a good fit for what you need. Adopting an open platform—or using marketing middleware—as a foundation makes it easier to add and remove more specific products as your needs and capabilities evolve.” 

Not surprisingly, as the marketing technology landscape expands, a growing number of marketing technologists are coming to the fore, as well. Brinker describes them as “hybrid marketing/IT professionals who are architecting and operating increasingly sophisticated tech-powered capabilities within the marketing department.”

Whether marketers are interested in pursuing marketing technologist as a career path, or simply want to get a better handle on the ever-shifting marketing technology landscape, Brinker advises staying flexible. “The most important skill is being able to learn and adapt,” he says. “The space is evolving rapidly, so you want someone who is comfortable with an agile approach to managing your marketing stack. Again, going with an open platform architecture is crucial for being able to maintain flexibility.”

Brinker provides a detailed analysis of the 2015 Marketing Technology Landscape supergraphic at chiefmartec. AND…hear more from Brinker on how to get the most from marketing technology in person at DMN‘s Marketing&Tech Innovation Summit on January 29 in New York.

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