Latest data on the size of tech stacks, er, app portfolios, and a philosophical question about shadow IT

How Big Are Tech Stacks in 2021?

Productiv, a SaaS management platform (SMP), published a report on The State of SaaS Sprawl in 2021. Since Productiv’s software manages the tech stacks — or “app portfolios”, as they like to call them — of hundreds of organizations, the data in their report is based on objective facts of app adoption, instead of merely […]

29 visually striking martech stack illustrations from the 2021 Stackie Awards

29 Martech Stacks from the 2021 MarTech Stackie Awards

Every year, when the entries to the Stackie Awards flow in, I feel like the kid in A Christmas Story, excitedly opening up that present he’d be dreaming of. I am always delighted and inspired by the creative ways marketing teams visually represent their stacks — and so immensely grateful that they were willing to […]

47 new martech companies from latest Y Combinator cohort — the counter-consolidation narrative lives on

Martech Seedlings Everywhere

Last week, Y Combinator held their Demo Day(s) for their Summer 2021 cohort. This was a massive graduating class: 377 startups from 47 countries. You can read a quick overview of all 377 (!) on TechCrunch, split across part one and part two. I read through all 377 and discovered 47 that I would put […]

Aggregation and integration: why 67% of marketers replaced a martech tool in the past year

Reasons for Replacing a Martech Product

My friends over at MarTech just released their 2021 Martech Replacement Survey, revealing insights into what and why companies switch from one martech application to another. The top-line finding: there’s a ton of martech swapping happening! 67% of the 374 marketers they surveyed, from SMBs to large enterprises, reported replacing a marketing technology application in […]

35 of the Forbes Cloud 100 companies are in martech

2021 Cloud 100 in Martech

Last week, Forbes published the 2021 edition of The Cloud 100 — their “definitive ranking of the best, brightest, most valuable private companies in the cloud.” The selection process involved an unpublished editorial formula that considered growth, sales, valuation, culture, and a “reputation score derived in consultation with 34 CEO judges and executives from their […]

The Quest for the Holy Grail: Martech Edition

Integrate Thy Martech

There’s a scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where God appears in the clouds — in delightfully unsubtle Monty Python fashion — and commands Arthur and his knights to seek the Holy Grail. (Arthur: “Good idea, O Lord!” God: “‘Course it’s a good idea!”) I was reminded of that scene when reading the […]

Should you build or buy martech? Yes

Martech Stacks: Suites, Platforms, Best-of-Breed, Custom, Hybrid

“Homegrown martech is like homemade pizza.” That’s the kind of quip I might have likely shot back a couple of years ago if someone asked me, “Should we build our own martech software or buy a packaged app from a martech vendor?” It’s not that you can’t make your own pizza at home. Anyone can. […]

Metcalfe’s Mirror: Complexity in networks (P.S. your martech stack is a network)

Complexity in Martech

Fair warning: this post is pretty wonkish, even relative to my usual style. (Yikes.) Robert Metcalfe, the godfather of computer networks, famously stated that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of users connected. This became known as Metcalfe’s Law: The classic example is the telephone. When only two […]

A 2×2 view of systems of record in martech

Martech Systems of Record 2x2

The phrase “system of record” has been bandied about in martech for years. In the absence of any other context, it’s usually assumed to mean the software that holds the authoritative (or “golden”) customer record. Most often in practice, this is a CRM. This is why illustrations of martech stacks often have a CRM product […]

Aggregation Theory applied to martech stacks

Integration Layers = Aggregation Layers in a Platform

I recently wrote how martech stacks have arguably become virtual platforms. Even if you have a completely heterogeneous, “best-of-breed” stack, you likely have a set of products that work across your stack to provide cohesion, albeit each at a different layer of integration: Data: everything ultimately ends up in a “data lake” platform such as […]