Martech Landscape Approaches 10,000 Solutions: Oh My!


PHOTO: Ethan Beute

Marketers, the final numbers are in for the Marketing Technology Landscape 2022. And you’re going to be shocked: there are more marketing technology solutions than last time.

Ok, maybe not shocking. Martech apps have seen growth each year since the first landscape in 2011.

Scott Brinker, author of the Chief Marketing Technologist blog, and fellow researcher Frans Riemersma of MartechTribe, released the latest martech landscape this month and reported 9,932 solutions. That represents a 24% growth from 2020, or 2,904 new solutions added to the landscape.

Surely, not the expansion of, say, 2012 to 2014, which saw 186% growth (350 to 1,000). But ultimately, companies still produce more and more solutions for markets despite the pandemic- and economic-related factors.

Growth Room for Marketing Technology Churn

“I was surprised by the amount of growth,” Brinker said in an interview with CMSWire. “I mean, I knew there was a lot of startup momentum in the pandemic. And in some ways, the pandemic has had this weird, almost counter cyclical effect of it spurred a lot of people to decide that they want to try their hand at entrepreneurship.”

At the same time, Brinker added, the marketing technology landscape saw a lot of consolidation from major deals happening: 12% churn off the previous 8,000 solutions. Martech exits came in at 972 during the past two years, factoring in acquisitions and pivots to unsuccessful products shutting down.

“That’s a lot of churn,” Brinker said.

Related Article: CX Decoded Podcast: Scott Brinker on Rise of Low- and No-Code in Marketing Tech

Marketing Management Apps See Largest Growth

The “how many” number usually steals the headlines from the Marketing Technology Landscape. But the “what” of marketing solutions is always the better story.

So what kind of apps that marketers use saw the most growth? By a landslide, it was management-based solutions, which saw a 67% uptick from 2020. How do marketers manage the work of marketing? Adobe paid a lot of money to support this in its acquisition of Workfront. Salesforce paid even more with its Slack acquisition.

Trailing management-app growth were:

  • Content & Experience: 34%
  • Commerce & Sales: 24%
  • Social & Relationships: 17%
  • Advertising & Promotion: 16%
  • Data: 7%

Naturally, marketers need management tools to justify the onslaught of digital needs, data, campaigns and operations — especially in light of the huge transition to remote work post-March 2020 and COVID-19.

“A lot of those tools aren’t specific to marketing,” Brinker said. “They’re the tools that marketers are now using to manage projects, manage their teams, manage the organization. But very often, these are also tools that are being used by other teams across the board. Part of my philosophy is marketing tech is arguably any technology that marketers are using to get their job done. Some people will argue with me on that.”

The pandemic forced marketers into a “digital or nothing” operating mode, Brinker added, and not just by which they engage with customers but also their internal teams and how they run the business.

“So I think you saw this incredible rise in the adoption of tools that we use for that sort of internal management,” Brinker said. “And you’re also seeing a lot of innovation there because people are realizing again…that martech tools themselves are great, but they’re really only about 10% of the equation.”

Getting the Work of Marketing Done

The real success for marketing and martech, he added, is all around people and process. What’s your strategy? How does the team execute this?

“And at the end of the day, a lot of that comes down to the operating system of how does the team run?” Brinker said. “How does the business run? And we’re just seeing a lot of innovation with tools. We can have these new cadences, these new operating systems with remote teams and much more digitally integrated work. And we can give people access to this data. We can configure our workflows dynamically. It’s really an awesome time for the amount of innovation that’s happening in that area.”

Related Article: Will Marketing Technology Tailwinds Help Power Through the COVID-19 Crisis?

New and Established Marketing Technology Making Waves

Speaking of the type of marketing apps in the landscape, Brinker and researchers found the age of different martech categories and the number of vendors in each have a fair amount of variance.

They dissected the average founded date of vendors in a particular martech category and the frequency by which products in those categories appear in martech stacks and came up with this:

  • Established & Niche: Call Analytics, Budgeting, Affiliate & Channel Partner, PR, etc.
  • Established & Growing: Web Analytics, Email, Marketing Automation, CRM, Display Ads, DAM, etc.
  • New & Growing: Mobile Marketing, Content Marketing, Social Media, BI, Interactive Content, etc.
  • New & Upcoming: Influencers, CDP, Chat, IoT, Governance, Video, ABM, Agile Management, etc.

“The truth is that a lot of these things around influencers and CDPs and ABM…the adoption’s still relatively early,” Brinker said. “It’s fair to disclaim this has changed, depending on your industry. If I’m some sort of a fashion B2C brand, odds are I have influencer technology in my stack.”

Brinker noted we’ve barely scratched the surface on some of the new apps coming through, like NFTs and Metaverse-related solutions.

“I’m quite sure the landscape currently under-represents things like all the craziness around and NFTs, and all the stuff that’s happening now with the Metaverse and how people are thinking about that,” Brinker said. “These are actually holding net-new categories probably that we didn’t get a chance to add in this version. …Clearly holes to be plugged.”

What’s Ahead: Consolidation or Explosion?

Anita Brearton, founder and CEO of CabinetM, a marketing discovery and management platform, said she’s not surprised at the growth in the landscape because her teams are still uncovering products across the globe. Brinker, too, said he believes there are likely now more than 10,000 marketing technology solutions since his landscape was published last week.

“I do think that we are approaching a stability point in terms of the absolute numbers of companies and products but that doesn’t mean stability in the makeup of the landscape,” Brearton said. “As long as consumer behavior continues to change and new channels to reach customers appear, there will be a need for innovation in marketing technology.”

Existing companies will depart, and new companies will arrive, she added, but the landscape itself will not shrink in the foreseeable future.

Brinker said there will be a ceiling for martech solutions, but we’ve yet to hit that, adding, “You know, at some point, there is a limit to the number of atoms in the solar system. There are only so many people on planet Earth. …I mean, there’s some ceiling here. I don’t think we’ve hit the ceiling.”

With cloud software trends, the industry still sees continued specialization and atomization. However, as long as there is a need for marketers to market, Brinker said he’ll continue to be amazed at his inability to predict what’s coming year to year.

“I think we’re probably seeing more growth ahead,” Brinker said. “11 years of working on this, and I am so comfortable sharing the empirical data of what we’ve actually found. This is what actually exists in the world. I am incredibly humbled by the ability or lack thereof to predict. Because I would have not been able to predict any of what I’ve seen happen in this industry in the past 10 years. I’ll leave the predictions to better people than myself.”

Dom Nicastro is a Manchester, NH-based managing editor for Simpler Media Group’s CMSWire.

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