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steelhouseforrester-marketing-tech-vendor-management-dec2016Recent research has offered competing visions of marketing technology needs, as the flexibility offered by best-in-breed solutions is contrasted with the array of choices and vendors that need to be managed. And while it seems that more marketers opt for a best-in-breed architecture as opposed to a single-vendor, newly-released survey results [download page] commissioned by SteelHouse indicate that marketers truly are managing a variety of vendors.

On average, the 153 marketing decision-makers surveyed by Forrester Consulting in the US – who hailed from organizations with at least 500 employees – reported using an average of about 4 media and marketing vendors. That includes one-quarter who are managing at least 5; separate research from DataXu goes even further, suggesting that some marketers are working with 10 or more specialized solutions.

It’s likely that marketers will be tasked with managing more vendors in the future, too. Currently, respondents to the SteelHouse-commissioned survey use more than 5 technologies, but a sizable share of those who aren’t using these tools plan to implement them within the next 12 months. Additionally, new research from Conductor [download page] suggests that 31% of the almost 400 marketing executives it surveyed are using more than 10 marketing technologies, with more than 8 in 10 having introduced between 1 and 5 new technologies this year.

Somewhat predictably, then, among the close to one-third of the SteelHouse the respondents who said that a single platform would be most effective for purchasing and managing digital buys, the most common reason given (60%) for that preference is simpler vendor management. Likewise, many (44%) point to simpler management of buys as a reason for preferring a single platform.

On the other side, the chief fear associated with preferring a single platform is being locked in to a single vendor and not wanting to be over-dependent on that one solution.

How Are Marketers Spending Their Tech Budgets?

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In a nod to just how important marketing technology has become, here’s an important statistic courtesy of Gartner’s latest CMO Spend Survey: CMOs are allocating more of their budgets to technology (27%) than to paid media (22%) and services (22%). In fact, they’re spending almost as much on technology as on labor (28% share).

Breaking it down by revenue, and the CMO’s average spending on technology now equates to 3.24% of total firm revenues. These figures are based on a survey of 377 marketing leaders from the US (56%), UK (30%) and Canada (14%), of whom 70% come from companies with at least $1 billion in average revenue.

Gartner compares the marketing tech spending figures with another of its studies, on IT spending, finding that the CIO technology spend equates to 3.4% of revenue. In other words, CMOs are on track to spend as much as CIOs on technology, in keeping with Gartner’s famous prediction that “by 2017, the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO.”

As for CMOs’ marketing technology spend, respondents estimated that it is broken down as follows:

  • Infrastructure (23%);
  • External services to develop, implement, and integrate marketing applications (21%);
  • Marketing software as a service (20%);
  • Analytics software as a service (19%); and
  • Cross-charges from internal IT (17%).

Almost 9 in 10 respondents report that their marketing function has its own marketing capital budget. About 3 in 4 marketing leaders say that marketing has ownership of the capital budget, with only a quarter saying that internal IT organizations maintain control over marketing technology capital investments.

Marketing technology budgets are expected to continue rising, too. Indeed, 7 in 10 marketing executives responding to Conductor’s survey anticipated spending more on marketing technology next year, a figure that includes more than one-third expecting their spending to rise by upwards of 25%.

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