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Marketers are now spoiled for choice when it comes to technology. The latest analysis from ChiefMarTec.com now lists a staggering 7,040 martech solutions on its annual landscape, a number that has typically exhibited double-digit year-over-year growth since its first inception in 2011.

But this year the number of solutions has grown by just 3% from 2018’s number, when 6,829 solutions made the list. What are the reasons behind this slowdown in growth?

ChiefMarTec’s Scott Brinker is open about the limits to the methodology, highlighting that identifying new solutions is dependent on both time spent on research and the exact definition of a discrete martech solution. As such, it isn’t necessarily that solutions are starting to consolidate, or that fewer products are coming onto the market.

But there is other research that suggests that there are limits to the adoption of technology within marketing, which according to Gartner, now takes up an average of 29% of the CMO’s budget. Here’s a review of some other data that helps provide a clearer picture of the space.

Marketers Add Tech Frequently, But Not All Utilize It Fully

An Ascend2 study incorporating both B2C and B2B marketers found that marketers are adding technology solutions rapidly – nearly 2 in 5 (39%) report adding new technology quarterly, while close to 3 in 10 (28%) are adding to their stack monthly.

But progress within companies may be a limiting factor. Research from Walker Sands notes that technology is typically innovating faster than their own company’s use of it. About half of those respondents also said they assess their marketing technology stack holistically every 6 months or less.

In addition, demand could slow as marketers start to feel they have what they need. A study from Moore Stephens and WARC found that within the North American region, 57% of brand-side marketers indicated that they have all the tools they need. Among those, brand marketers were twice as likely to say that they fully utilize (38% overall) than don’t utilize (19% overall) those tools. That being said, more than two-thirds of respondents said they don’t believe there’s such a thing as the “perfect stack” for marketing technology, believing instead that it’s always a work in progress.

Skills: The Limiting Factor

PwC’s annual study of CEOs put technological change as one of their top 10 threats to growth. It also noted that because of skills gaps, more than half (55%) believe they won’t be able to innovate effectively.

And as technology often relies on data, having data analysis capabilities comes top of the list for areas they would focus on if necessary.

Put together, it therefore might be the case that the limiting factor to technology is actually people – both in terms of their individual capabilities, and how they work together in organizations as a whole.

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