Market Trends Guide Marketing Technology Investments
Marketers spend their time developing their marketing strategies, executing their orchestrated programs, and measuring their account based success, so they don’t have time to do the work required to keep up with all of the latest marketing technology trends. Marketing technology constantly undergoes rapid changes and that’s why TOPO analysts gather data, talk to companies, and watch the entire marketing landscape to discover the latest market trends.
The amount that marketing organizations spend on technology is a significant portion of their budget, so it is important to have guidance as to what it is important and what other marketers—especially competitors—are paying attention to. These market trends reflect the point of view of the TOPO analyst team.
The mid-market is the martech proving ground. Marketing technology vendors almost never launch products directly to the enterprise, even if that is their ultimate goal. New products enter the market to solve problems at the mid-market with an eye towards scaling up to the enterprise once they have reached a level of success. These products succeed with a mixture of innovation, customer experience, and brand-building (but with smaller budgets).
Marketing technology acquisitions broaden vendor offerings. The martech acquisitions continue, however the majority are not competitive acquisitions. Technology vendors are acquiring adjacent technologies to broaden their offerings and adopt a more comprehensive platform positioning.
Lines are blurring between marketing and sales technology. There is no longer a great divide between marketing and sales where technology is concerned, and it is more apparent in the tech stack than ever before. This is yet another external force that drives marketing and sales alignment, and before long, the martech and sales tech stacks will merge. In addition to specific marketing or sales categories, there are common points of intersection around critical pieces of the tech stack like data platforms that are used by marketing, sales, and sales development.
As teams try to leverage the promise of artificial intelligence, better quality data is needed. Nearly every tool listed in this report claims some amount of artificial intelligence in its technology, but before AI can truly make a difference for marketers these tools must have large amounts of high-quality data. Every company has volumes of unstructured customer data and they don’t have the resources to make it usable by the AI recommendation engines. This is why many of the most successful technology platforms include their own data sources and tout their use of AI to provide better results.
Innovation is down in marketing technology due to reduced Series A funding. SaaS marketing technology tools rely on outside investment to fund innovation and there has been a decrease in the flow of VC money in the marketing tech space. While category leaders are attracting more funding than ever before, the earlier rounds have dried up as Series A funding of U.S. technology is down approximately 5% from 2018 to 2019 (Source: Crunchbase). This has prevented the smaller, minimally funded startups from innovating in new categories, but it has also limited the challenges from the bottom of the market in mature martech categories.
Intent data is a major growth category, but it needs to be better defined. Enterprise companies have an insatiable appetite for data, specifically the data that indicates prospect interest. We’ve seen companies buy all the intent data they can from multiple sources. Technology providers across several categories—including media—are adding their own proprietary intent data to increase the viability of their offerings. Because it is used to indicate buying interest on the part of the prospect, its primary use cases are to prioritize accounts and to launch trigger-based programs.
Marketing automation vendors should look back to see what might be gaining on them. Marketing automation—the tool used by almost every marketing organization—is having a quiet year from an innovation and mindshare perspective. Marketing automation lacks the account based data, planning, and management functionality that marketers need as they grow their account based GTM. The account based platform vendors need one or two more key features— like automation and email—to begin challenging traditional marketing automation vendors for the central position in the marketing technology stack.
Marketing organizations are using technology to track multiple go-to-market strategies consistently through to closed-won. The marketing organization increasingly supports multiple go-to-market strategies and technology is a key component of measuring this effectively. The adoption of an account based go-to-market has changed the way that marketing organizations think about measuring their entire operation. Account based and volume/velocity marketing approaches may run separately—as do other GTMs like channel or sales-sourced—but all relevant activities and results need to be measured side-by-side as they drive prospects through the entire funnel to closed-won.
To learn more about TOPO’s latest research into the Marketing Technology Stack, register for our Marketing Technology Report webinar on Tuesday, January 14, at 10 a.m. PST.