Growth of Commercial MarTech Use Spurs More Replacements

September 6, 2023

With more than 10,000 marketing technology applications available to marketers, it’s no wonder that having to choose between too many options is the biggest challenge when making martech investment decisions. It also leaves room for marketers to swap out applications for one another, and recent research [pdf] from MarTech confirms that many marketers are doing just that.

In fact, in surveying almost 450 marketers, the report reveals that about two-thirds (66%) had replaced one or more marketing technology applications in the past 12 months.

Those replacements were overwhelmingly for commercial rather than homegrown applications. This year, almost 90% of those who replaced one or more tools chose a commercial application as the replacement.

Specifically, about two-thirds (68%) replaced a commercial application with another one, up from 57% last year and 53% the year prior. This year one-fifth said that they had replaced a homegrown with a commercial platform, down slightly from last year’s 26%. However, in just 5% of cases was a commercial application replaced by a homegrown platform, down from 11% last year and 13% the year previous to that.

The report’s analysts note that “the growing use of commercial applications is accelerating the pace of change,” as this year’s study reveals that almost one-third (31%) of replacements were made for applications that had been in place for 2 years or less, up from 21% of replacements in the 2020 study.

The most oft-cited important factor when choosing a replacement was improved customer/digital experience, as cited by almost 4 in 10 (38% of) respondents. This makes sense given that the top goal for marketing technology stacks is to improve the customer experience.

Close behind, marketers considered cost (37%), integration capabilities/open API (36%), data centralization/data capabilities (35%) and ability to actively measure ROI (33%) as important factors when choosing a replacement.

Which Applications Are Being Replaced?

This year, out of the 18 application types listed, respondents were most likely to report having replaced a marketing automation solution, the third consecutive year in which marketing automation platforms have topped the list. This latest survey indicates that among those who had replaced a solution, 24% switched out their marketing automation platform.

Close behind, more than 1 in 5 (22%) replaced their SEO software, while 18% replaced work and project management and 17% their CRM. The 17% replacing their CRM is down from more than 20% the past couple of years, with the next-most replaced solution, email marketing (16%), also at dampened levels relative to previous years (21% last year and 24% the year prior).

Other applications less likely to be replaced this past year than in years prior include digital events/webinar platforms, e-commerce tools, attribution/performance tools, and identity resolution applications.

Other Survey Highlights:

  • Executive management championed replacements in about one-third (32% share) of cases, equalled by the share that were championed by marketing management (32% share).
  • IT was the champion for replacement in just 6% of cases cited.
  • Replacements were most commonly approved in either 2-3 (31% share) or 3-6 months (31%), and some 72% in total were approved in less than 6 months.
  • After implementing new marketing technology, about two-thirds (66%) chose to retrain existing staff rather than hire new people in conjunction with the replacement.

For the full results, check out the study here [pdf].

About the Data: The results are based on a Q2 survey of 443 respondents, 294 of whom had replaced a marketing technology application in the past year. Among those, one-quarter (25%) worked at enterprises with sales of at least $500 million. A majority work for companies that sell to other businesses.


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