How CMOs Can Make Sense of Today's Technology Landscape

Quick question: How many martech vendors and solutions do you think are currently available as we speak today? A thousand? Perhaps even two-thousand? The answer is nearly four-thousand, according to the martech tracking guru Scott Brinker. 

Earlier this year he released the latest version of his now-infamous vendor supergraphic as he calls it and by his count there are 3,874 marketing technology solutions on the chart yet he readily admits there are more but he simply ran out of room to fit them all. 

And you'll notice my use of the words "as we speak today" earlier. I included that because as we all know — at least we better, the martech landscape is changing by the day, if not by the hour or even minute. Overwhelming to say the least. 

The Shift Is Obvious

What shift you ask? The one that has seen technology purchasing decisions shift from IT to marketing. Ten years ago marketers’ technology needs were limited to areas such as email marketing and design tools. And, the IT function was charged with making all technology-related decisions, including hardware and software. Marketing had little influence. Even simple activities, like updating a website, required IT management.

This has completely flipped. Gartner predicts that by next year CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs will. Today, marketing technology is in the cloud, which eliminates the need to provision hardware, and marketing organizations have IT staff. In fact, marketers now face HR-related issues in recruiting, training, and retaining IT staff.

This shift is a direct result of the dramatic contextual shift in marketing. In this era of digital Darwinism, customers and consumers evolve faster than marketing. According to Forrester, 60% of all retail transactions are affected by digital interactions, including in-store transactions.

And for B2B purchases, decision makers are 60% through their decision cycle before even engaging with a brand or speaking with a sales rep. The sales funnel is extremely condensed compared to 10 or 15 years ago. The environment today isn’t about customer centricity; it is about adaptability and agility

As David Johnson, Director of Product Marketing at Oracle puts it succinctly: "The context today demands being agile enough to respond to customers’ shortened sales cycles."

Critical Choices

It is hardly hyperbole to say that the choice a CMO or marketer makes when it comes to marketing technology is critical or vital for the long-term growth and success of a given brand. Don't believe me? The aforementioned Mr. Brinker says "your choice of marketing software—and how you use it—will shape the experiences you deliver to prospects and customers.”

The reality is that any technology choice impacts the brand, demand generation, revenue, customer retention, and more. 

So, how can you possibly make sense of the current martech landscape?

Well you can make another critical choice and that is to download The Guide to Building Your Marketing Technology Stack. You can thank me later.