It’s the closing of the year. A time for gathering together with family and friends. A time for consuming far too much food and drink. A time for celebration and reflection. And for me, it’s the time when I lounge by a fire pit and lay out the next edition of the marketing technology landscape. A logo wonderland…
And in case you’re looking for some sitting-around-the-fire conversation topics — surely everyone in your family is as passionate about marketing technology as you are, right? — I wanted to give you a sneak preview of the “marketing automation” category for the next edition of the landscape.
I believe this category is a bellwether of the larger marketing technology sector: it is both consolidating on one side, while exploding with new entrepreneurial ventures on the other.
In fact, this year, I decided to split out the “major” platforms and suites into their own category. This was partly due to the need to reduce redundancy (otherwise, they’d deserve logos in a whole slew of categories) and partly to recognize that they are qualitatively at a different scale.
I know, this will undoubtedly get me in trouble as to who is in that category. I intend to shift the blame to Gartner and Forrester, as I relied on their latest digital marketing hub and marketing cloud reports, respectively, to make those picks. (A few that are missing will be included in the “customer data platform” category in my marketing middleware section, not shown above.)
But if we accept this as merely a “representative sample” and not a comprehensive analysis — my blanket disclaimer for the whole landscape — the main takeaway is this: this is an incredibly vibrant space. And it’s still growing.
There are 83 companies in these two categories, 15 in the platform/suite group and 68 in the marketing automation/campaign & lead management groups. They range from offerings for very small businesses, with nothing more than a WordPress site, up to solutions for Fortune 500 enterprises, orchestrating dozens of marketing technologies around the world. And, of course, everything in between.
A number of the companies in the marketing automation group are new, launched this past year. It shows there are still entrepreneurs coming up with fresh ideas in even one of the more mature categories in the landscape. This “second wave of marketing automation” will be very interesting to watch.
I can tell you that this is a phenomenon that I’m seeing elsewhere in the landscape too. For instance, I expected the “web analytics” category to shrink this year — but it’s actually expanded quite a bit, with some intriguing new entrants. Email marketing is another category that’s experiencing an innovative rebirth. I’ll have more to say on that when I release the full landscape in January.
The dual narrative of consolidation and diversification will continue for 2015. It’s going to be a fascinating year. (And I hope you’ll join us for the next MarTech conference in the spring!)
In the meantime, I wish you happy holidays and the best for the New Year.