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The marketing technology landscape in 2020 and beyond

October 8, 2020

In this article you will learn:

The marketing technology landscape has grown by a whopping 5233% over the last 9 years, according to website

Since 2011, the site has been annually releasing its MarTech landscape supergraphic, a visual representation of the thousands of marketing technology solutions currently overwhelming the industry.

What began as a simple columnar list of 150 digital marketing tools has mushroomed into a crowdsourced array of more than 8,000 technologies and counting. In fact, those who report on marketing technology have remarked that the 2020 iteration looks less like an infographic than it does like a map from Game of Thrones. But while graphic itself may be an eye-popping visual, the data gathered for it reveals a number of interesting developments.

Marketing technology trends of 2020

There are a few different ways the marketing technology landscape has shifted this year, some surprising and some expected:

  • The industry is consolidating. 615 marketing technology tools from last year’s list have since been absorbed or shut down.
  • The marketing technology landscape is growing. The number of solutions has grown by 13.6% since 2019, despite consolidation. As Chiefmartec founder Scott Brinker noted, “1 in 5 of the solutions in this year’s MarTech landscape weren’t there last year.”
  • Data is leading the way. It’s the fastest-growing category of technology at 25.5%. Marketers and brands are seeking more innovation in this category as they move from simply gathering data to utilizing it and making it actionable.
  • Marketing teams want greater efficiency. Second-fastest growing is the marketing management category at 15%, with products that address workflow and project management making up 41% of that growth.
  • Customer relationships matter. The social and relationships category had the third largest growth at 13%, and also made up the largest percentage of the map, with 1,969 solutions being offered.

How the marketing technology stack has evolved

The way that elements of the MarTech stack work together is also changing. According to the report accompanying the 2020 supergraphic, these changes can be divided into 3 categories:

Platform Ecosystems - In the past, CMOs and CIOs were forced to choose between best-of-breed individual solutions or cohesive product suites. Now that’s changing as platforms become more open to integrations, using APIs and connectors to integrate with each other rather than vying to compete. This symbiosis will have advantages for marketers, who will be able to leverage larger, more seamless technology networks.

Blended Software & Services - The industry is moving from standalone software vs. SaaS to a model that combines all of the above. Solutions using this model will be able to deliver outcomes rather than just services, helping brands and marketers grow revenue and become more profitable. The human talent of MarTech vendors will also help marketers supplement their own teams on demand.

Custom Apps, Common Core - Specialist marketing solutions can now be viewed as more robust because they can integrate with major platforms, allowing them to exchange data with both the platform and other integrated apps, and making each solution and the overall ecosystem stronger and more effective. These integrations can also help lesser-known technologies overcome the objections of potential customers.

Predictions for the future of marketing technology solutions

These days, no future-casting can be done without mentioning the pandemic, and it’s doubtless that the MarTech landscape will experience churn as economic challenges constrict marketing budgets. But it’s not all difficult times ahead, as a few silver linings have also emerged. In an effort to address urgent customer and employee needs, brands have completed years of digitization in a matter of months, making them more reliant on marketing technology solutions than ever before. In particular, technologies that enhance marketing performance in terms of outcomes and operational efficiency will be highly valued.

It’s possible that that churn itself may have some positive outcomes as well. As Liz Miller from Constellation Research points out, the industry is oversaturated, which means it’s overdue for category consolidation. Her hope is that “the customer is actually the last category standing.” Miller also predicts that:

  • Marketers will tire of the rip-and-replace required by technological advances, so they’ll start to look for solutions that “play well with others” and connect easily with their existing stacks
  • The data category will expand to include solutions that aid decision-making for marketers

Overwhelmed by the marketing technology landscape? Focus on the customer.

Until such time as category consolidation occurs, CMOs and their teams are left to wade through these 8,000 platforms, tools and other solutions on their own. So what should guide their decisions? At Formation, we believe the customer should. Customers are expecting a greater level of relevance than ever before, and their behaviors are also becoming more complex. Technologies that enable marketers to resolve these complexities into a single view of the customer will make key additions to any MarTech stack.

To learn more about building a more powerful stack—and getting it funded by the powers that be—read our latest white paper, How to Optimize Your Customer Loyalty With New MarTech.