“Heavy Martech” Usage Soars, Giving Tag Management A Big Boost
Columnist Erik Bratt discusses the explosion of marketing technology (martech) over the past few years and its implication for marketers.
Watch out, marketers — here comes “heavy martech.” What else to call the stunning rise in technology use over the last three years? According to a new report by Econsultancy and Tealium (my employer which, full disclosure, offers tag management solutions) called, “The ROI of Tag Management, 2015 Edition,” (registration required) there is clearly an explosion in the development and use of marketing technology. Econsultancy produced the report based upon insight from a January 2015 survey of 311 digital marketers familiar with their organization’s use of tags. Among the many compelling insights in the report is this nugget: 51 percent of organizations are now using 21 or more digital marketing solutions — a 42 percent increase from just three years ago. The figure is compelling because, when it comes to companies using fewer solutions (10 or less), the number has actually decreased from 2012 to 2015, 43 percent to 35 percent respectively. A middle tier of companies, those using 11-20 vendors, is almost even, while the number of companies engaged in heavy marketing technology usage, 21 or more, has skyrocketed. In fact, those firms using more than 30 solutions has jumped a full 10 percentage points, as you can see in the chart below.
Now, the obvious question: Why? Why such growth in the number of solutions that companies are using today? I posed this question to a couple digital marketing experts: Scott Brinker, a marketing technology authority who programs the popular MarTech Conference, and Jay Baer, a best-selling author and keynote speaker with Convince & Convert. According to Brinker, we are in a “perfect storm” when it comes to martech usage: [blockquote]The explosion of marketing technologies is the perfect storm of three things. First, marketers have an incredibly diverse set of needs and desires in their digital marketing programs. Second, marketing technology vendors are doing a tremendous job of innovating solutions that address those needs and desires and inspire new possibilities. And third, the advancement of marketing technology platforms and middleware — including tag management — is making it easier for marketers to put these pieces together in a cohesive marketing stack, tailored to their business.[/blockquote] For Baer, it’s a matter of delivering on the promise of personalization while leaving no stone unturned in today’s competitive marketplace. Baer, however, also sounds a cautionary note for companies that adopt too many technologies without having the right foundation: [blockquote]Marketers recognize that increased relevance is the key to effectiveness now. Simultaneously, hundreds of software solutions have sprung up to address very specific scenarios and relevancy-building use cases. Marketers, me included, end up purchasing access to many tools because they don’t want to leave any stone unturned, or any competitive advantage unexploited. The problem with modern marketing is that you CAN do just about anything. But in trying to capitalize on those opportunities, you often end up with a morass of tools and technologies that do not interconnect, forcing marketers to be their own middleware with… [tag management companies] helping make sense of the chaos.[/blockquote] Against this backdrop of explosive technology growth and limitless possibilities, tag management continues to thrive. According to the ROI report, 86 percent of marketers now view the effective management of tags — the data-collecting snippets of code that most vendors require — as fundamental to digital marketing. One of the reasons is that tag management makes the deployment of these tags amazingly fast, requiring no software coding, thereby helping boost campaign velocity and revenue. According to the report, 76 percent of marketers said they could deploy a vendor tag in eight hours or less, including 39 percent who said they could do it in less than an hour. Compare this to 26 percent and 7 percent respectively for manual taggers, the report shows.
Another reason for the growth of tag management is its ability to support mobile applications, as well as correlate all these disparate data sources together as a stepping stone for unified marketing, i.e., the ability to drive consistent, real-time interactions across all touch points. Eighty-two percent of respondents agreed with the statement that “effectively managing tags is fundamental to real-time marketing that’s based on unified customer data.” Who knows? As marketers continue to learn how to better navigate and maximize heavy technology use, in three years we may be talking about “massive martech.”