I remember the mad rush to finish the 2016 marketing technology landscape five years ago, just in time to present it for my opening keynote at that spring’s MarTech conference in San Francisco.
In the previous years — 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015 — the landscape had grown exponentially, from 150 solutions to just under 2,000. Many pundits (*cough* here’s an old article with a few *cough*) thought that the field would consolidate dramatically.
I wasn’t so sure. The dynamics of software seemed to be changing around us.
But while everybody can have a theory, one of my main motivations for producing the martech landscape was to provide empirical evidence of what was actually happening in the marketing tech world. Maybe it wouldn’t shrink? Maybe it might even grow a little more?
So when the 2016 landscape was finally complete, and the numbers counted, I gasped: it had nearly doubled again, up to 3,874 marketing solutions.
I confess, I felt a little vindicated. Not by the growth per se. But by the evidence that, indeed, something very different was happening in the marketing technology industry than the patterns of classical business software markets in the past.
It would take me a few years before I could really explain the new patterns at play.
Fast forward five years, and the team at MartechTribe in the Netherlands, just released their 2021 European Martech Supergraphic. Organized in the same way as my landscape, they collected, vetted, and categorized martech companies that were based out of Europe (including the UK, no hard feelings over Brexit in martech).
It includes 3,647 European marketing technology solutions.
More or less, Europe now has as many marketing technology companies as the entire world did back in 2016 — which, at the time, was considered an astounding number globally.
Frans Riemersma of MartechTribe collaborated with over 120 contributors from across Europe to assemble this map. In the processes, they also produced a dozen country-specific maps. You can download them all for free at MartechTribe. In case you were wondering, say, how many martech companies are based in Norway, Spain, or Italy.
Of course, just because a martech solution is based in a country doesn’t mean it’s limited to serving only marketers in that same country. Indeed, martech is a truly global industry. Many European martech companies are selling their solutions across five other continents (we’ll assume Antartica is low-penetration market, at least for now). And, vice versa, tons of marketing software made outside of Europe is adopted by companies there.
But seeing these many martech solutions that originate out of Europe is inspiring on a number of levels:
- The startup ecosystem in Europe is thriving! Martech is just one category. Silicon Valley has no monopoly here anymore.
- European marketers are embracing in martech-powered innovation within their local markets, feeding this ecosystem.
- The global martech landscape is constantly evolving, with acquisitions, pivots, and failures on one end, yet continuous entrepreneurial creation on the other. But the one thing it is certainly not doing is shrinking dramatically. The global 2016 martech landscape wasn’t an anomaly. It was a harbinger of a software-eaten world.