Report: Companies increase martech spend but struggle to keep up with the speed of its growth

Though companies say they aren't keeping up with the speed of martech's evolution, they continue to add tools to their stacks at a healthy pace.

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A majority of companies will increase their martech spend in 2018, but they are struggling to keep the pace of their utilization in line with the speed of their investment, according to a new report out this week from communication firm Walker Sands.

The “State of Marketing Technology 2018: Maximizing the Value of Martech Innovations” surveyed 300 marketing professionals at all levels for its third annual report.

The report reveals a marketing landscape that’s working hard to keep up with the speed of martech’s evolution.

A majority of marketing organizations (65 percent) plan to increase their martech spend, with 63 percent feeling like the martech landscape has evolved rapidly or at light speed in the last year. But only 28 percent feel like their company’s use of martech has grown at that same level.

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With more than a quarter of the companies (27 percent) saying they have internal resistance to change and only 15 percent considering themselves “very agile” in adopting new martech solutions, it’s not surprising that there is some lag in adoption.

Slow but steady wins the race

Even though some companies are reporting slow growth, 65 percent of the companies surveyed say they have grown at least steadily in the past three years. And most marketing organizations (76 percent) report that they are adding tools to their stacks at a healthy pace, at least every six months to a year.

Jennifer Mulligan, marketing technology account director at Walker Sands, who co-authored the study with longtime Third Door Media collaborator Scott Brinker, says the news is good for martech.

“This year, we’ve found that despite rapid rates of innovation, today’s marketers are willing to use martech to the best of its abilities,” Mulligan said. “They’re not overwhelmed by the pace of change, but rather are rising to the challenge. A lot of this confidence comes from the overall value marketers recognize in martech solutions. Instead of being discouraged, marketers are ready to learn and invest more to maximize value.”

And, as companies get more comfortable with technology, they are finding what works best for them. Seventy-three percent say they have either created or plan to create a formal methodology for accessing their stacks. They are increasingly using “best-of-breed” or customized stacks built from individual tools, with a rise to 34 over 27 percent last year. And a majority of respondents (69 percent) said that the perfect marketing stack does not exist yet.

Most companies (56 percent) also agree that a balance between creativity and technology will drive marketing strategies five years from now; 41 percent believe that mix is equal right now.

Mulligan said she expects that companies will continue to increase their investments in martech.

“We expect martech budgets to continue to rise in the years to come. Sixty-five percent of marketers expect to spend more on martech next year, and only 5 percent expect to decrease their spend. And with over 7,000 martech solutions in the martech landscape and half of marketers evaluating their martech stack at least every six months, it’s natural that they’ll invest in more solutions that will help them reach their marketing goals,” Mulligan said.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Robin Kurzer
Robin Kurzer started her career as a daily newspaper reporter in Milford, Connecticut. She then made her mark on the advertising and marketing world in Chicago at agencies such as Tribal DDB and Razorfish, creating award-winning work for many major brands. For the past seven years, she’s worked as a freelance writer and communications professional across a variety of business sectors.

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