Only 9% of marketers have all the marketing technology they need and fully utilize it.
That remarkable statistic stood out to me from a new report on marketing technology strategy published by Ascend2 that reveals some interesting insights on the utilization and effectiveness of marketing technology today.
Kudos to the 9% who seem to have their marketing tech situation fully baked! Of course, it’s possible that some percentage of those people may feel that way, but are actually delusional (“we’ve been fully utilizing our blast email program for 10 years, and that’s all we need!”). But to be optimistic, let’s say all 9% are rock stars in martech nirvana.
I’m both surprised and not surprised by that number.
Knowing the incredible rate of evolution in the marketing technology landscape — and, more importantly, rising customer expectations of digital experiences — it’s not surprising to me that relatively few marketers feel that they’ve fully optimized their marketing technology stack. For most, marketing technology capabilities are a work-in-progress — and realistically, are likely to remain that way for some time.
But, stepping back for a moment, it is a remarkable commentary on the state of our industry that 91% of marketers don’t feel they have a complete, fully utilized technology stack. Is any other profession facing that dramatic of an upheavel of their toolbox today?
Let’s set aside new technologies for a moment and just consider utilization.
Combining the second and fourth columns in the above chart, 59% say they don’t fully utilize the marketing technology they have today. Or put another way, the features of marketing technologies have outpaced most marketing departments’ developing organizational capital to harness them effectively.
To me, that’s the big opportunity for the growing discipline of marketing technologists. Their overarching mission should be to help companies squeeze the juice out of the potential that these technologies have to offer.
Selecting and integrating the right tools is just the tip of the iceberg. The real opportunities for marketing technologists are collaborating with the rest of the marketing team to creatively apply these tools in the service of brilliant marketing.
In that vein, another piece of data in the Ascend2 report that popped out at me:
87% of the respondents said marketing technology is improving marketing performance at their companies. 32% said that is was improving it significantly.
That’s what matters.
We all know that marketing technology has its challenges. But if it’s able to deliver results, it’s worth the climb.
But 55% say it’s only improved marketing performance marginally. While I don’t have access to the correlation data from Ascend2’s study, I suspect that this cluster corresponds with many of the participants who believe that they’re not fully utilizing their marketing technology stack as well. If so, that’s an opportunity.
Speaking of opportunities: for marketing technology vendors, it’s worth noting that 67% of marketers acknowledge that they don’t have all the tools they need yet — even after “tool exhaustion” has become a recognized psychological disorder in modern marketing. That’s identified need, the lowest hanging fruit. And in a space where the “horizon of the possible” is advancing pretty quickly, there’s clearly a lot more potential for martech sales growth.
To support those identified needs, the Ascend2 study found that 64% report that the budget for marketing technology is increasing at their company. This is another point on the curve to support Gerry Murray’s growth estimates for over $25 billion in worldwide marketing software spending in 2016.