And the martech train keeps rolling. More than 8 in 10 marketers either strongly (36%) or moderately (46%) agree that they will have to add, remove, or replace components of their current martech stack to improve performance this year, according to a report [download page] from Ascend2 produced in partnership with Oracle.
The results come after research released late last year by Third Door Media, in which 2 in 3 marketers reported having replaced a martech solution in the previous year. As it stands, marketers continue to tinker with their martech stacks in the hopes of bettering their output, with 7 in 10 CMOs saying that they invested in a martech solution last year in order to improve their digital marketing performance.
The emphasis on improving performance is due to this being the top-cited challenge by marketers, who also said that key marketing challenges include the ability to change/adapt to circumstances as they arise, and delivering an exceptional customer experience. Interestingly, only 1 in 8 said that a poorly integrated martech stack is a challenge, with this at the bottom of the list of challenges. This is somewhat surprising in light of previous research indicating that few marketers believe their stack is fully integrated into a single platform.
CDPs High on the Agenda
Recent research has suggested that more than half of marketers have adopted a customer data platform (CDP) in the past 18 months, and this survey likewise finds that these solutions are high on the priority list for marketers.
Indeed, when asked which marketing solutions they plan to invest in the most this year, the B2B and B2C marketers surveyed pointed to CDPs (37%) first, followed by segmentation and targeting solutions (32%), email marketing platforms (32%), and testing and optimization solutions (30%).
Additionally, respondents were quick to point to CDPs as indispensable to their martech stacks. Some 36% cited them as a marketing solution they absolutely cannot live without, on par with email marketing platforms, and ahead of content management systems (32%), marketing automation platforms (28%) and testing and optimization solutions (25%).
The report’s authors point out that a CDP will help B2C marketers “make their social media efforts more effective and targeted,” as experimentation with new social platforms is a key marketing tactic that B2C respondents reported that they will add this year. On the list of new marketing tactics for B2C companies, this was second only to personalized content and offers.
B2B marketers also placed personalized content and offers atop their list of marketing tactics to add this year, with customer loyalty programs second (fourth on the list for B2C marketers). Close behind, a sizable share will add video marketing efforts, with the report noting that B2B marketers are more apt than their B2C counterparts to make video editing software an investment priority this year.
- Almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) said their marketing budgets are increasing from last year, versus one-quarter who said they’re decreasing.
- Fully 88% either strongly (42%) or moderately (46%) agree that they will have access to the appropriate data to make critical marketing decisions, an almost identical result to previous Ascend2 research in which 84% responded either “yes” (29%) or “somewhat” (55%) when asked if they had enough data to make effective decisions on where to spend marketing and/or sales resources.
- If they could integrate data from another business application into their martech stack, the one that would have the most impact on their success would be customer service, followed by customer loyalty, according to B2B marketers. For B2C marketers customer loyalty edged out customer service.
- Customer purchase history is the first-party data source that will be most valuable to the broadest set of respondents in addressing the loss of third-party cookies.
- Trust in artificial intelligence (AI) is highest for targeting ads and personalizing content and offers in real time, and lowest for writing subject lines and copy.
About the Data: The results are based on a January survey of 853 marketing professionals in management and leadership positions throughout the US, UK, Canada, and India. Respondents hailed from B2B (41%), B2C (24%) and both B2B and B2C (35%) companies.