How Martech Will Play a Critical Role in Marketing in 2017 [Interview]

martech, marketing, b2b marketingBefore the end of 2016, Walker Sands published its “State of Marketing Technology 2017” report to gauge how marketers intended to invest in Martech in the New Year. Research showed that about 70 percent of respondents expected their organizations to increase their budgets in the coming months.

For more insight into how marketing professionals intended to use this technology in 2017, we spoke to Sarah Hale, account director at Walker Sands.

How have you seen Martech specifically benefiting B2B marketers?

“Through the State of Martech 2016, we surveyed marketers in a variety of roles, including both B2B and B2C. While we didn’t segment or tally responses by company type, we found that, overall, marketers are showing signs of success with implementation and use of marketing technology when compared to last year.

More than a third of marketers said that implementation challenges served as a barrier to Martech adoption last year. This year, the number dropped to 24 percent.”

What types of new tools do you think we’ll see in the coming months?

“We’ll continue to see a number of all-in-one solutions from the Adobes and Oracles of the world, but their role may be diminished as marketers take an increasing amount of pride in their marketing stacks.

Nearly half (48 percent) of marketers have some form of best-of-breed solution (whether integrated or not), and only 21 percent have adopted single-vendor suites. The seeming turnover with social media management and other solutions (see below) indicates that the space may become more complex and crowded.”

In your opinion, what Martech solutions are marketers under-utilizing? Where is there room for improvement?

“I wouldn’t say that they’re under-utilizing any particular type of marketing technology, but if we piece together portions of the data it tells an interesting story. The data from this year’s report indicates that while marketers may not be under-utilizing social media management and a few other platforms, there may be quite a bit of dissatisfaction and turnover with these offerings.

A full third of those surveyed said that they planned to buy a social media management solution during the next year, followed by ad tech (28 percent), email marketing (27 percent), analytics (24 percent), and content marketing (21 percent).

All of these solutions have relatively low purchase price and switching costs. More than 50 percent of marketers who plan to purchase social media marketing (62 percent), email marketing (61 percent), content marketing (58 percent), ad tech (56 percent), and analytics (50 percent) tools in 2017 have already done so in the past three years.

The overlap between these two lists indicates that marketers may frequently purchase social media management solutions, for example, and may be dissatisfied with these types of solutions overall.”

How much do you think budget will play a role in organizations’ investment in Martech in the future? Do you see it becoming feasible, even for smaller B2B companies?

“Absolutely. We surveyed companies of all sizes, and 70 percent of marketers expect their companies’ marketing technology budgets to grow in 2017, and just 2 percent expect a decrease.

What’s interesting is smaller companies tend to be taking the leap and adopting single-vendor suites rather than best-of breed solutions. Nearly a quarter of companies with less than 50 employees use suites, while nearly half of companies overall use some form of best-of-breed solution (whether fragmented or complete).

Yes, suites cost more upfront, but they may benefit smaller organizations with smaller staff, less time, and budget for training and fewer inclinations to chase after the latest and greatest for each individual need.”

What were the most surprising statistics in the report to you?

“The sense of optimism in the marketing space amidst increasing complexity is surprising. Basically, marketers realize that the stakes are high and Martech, itself, is overwhelming, but they’re giving it a go anyway.

Seventy-two percent said that the Martech landscape is evolving at light speed or rapidly. Fifty-six percent feel that the industry is evolving faster than their companies can keep up.

Despite this, more than double the number of marketers now call their companies innovators or early adopters in marketing technology adoption compared to a year ago (48 percent vs. 20 percent). This indicates that while marketers acknowledge the complexity of the space, they may feel optimistic about their ability to conquer it.”

Visit the Walker Sands website for your free download of the report.

marketing, digital marketing, martechABOUT SARAH HALE

As the account director who leads the marketing technology PR team, Sarah is an expert at telling stories about how marketers can use technology and tools to execute better strategies. Since joining Walker Sands in 2013, she has helped dozens of Martech companies identify and reach their key audiences and generate leads. Working with a team of account executives and media relations specialists, she shapes client strategy based on client priorities, market forces and media interest while leading her team to secure placements that clients value.

“I worked with KoMarketing during my time at Pongo in a variety of roles. At first, they were doing the work for us, but in the end, they trained my growing team on Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Their education of the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) led to us launching a job search blog, over 30 learning center articles, and a social media campaign. I would not hesitate to recommend the KoMarketing team for any size project you may have.”

— Jodi Coverly, Marketing Manager, Pongo LLC

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