Almost half (48%) of marketers describe their companies as innovators or early adopters in marketing technology, more than double the share (20%) who saw their employers in that light last year, according to Walker Sands’ second annual State of Marketing Technology survey report [download page]. The study shows that budgets are declining as an obstacle to martech adoption, and that more marketers this year believe their companies are investing the right amount in marketing technology.
Specifically, while budget remains the leading obstacle to martech adoption, it was cited by considerably fewer respondents this year (50%) than last (69%). More than 7 in 10 marketers now agree that their company invests the right amount in marketing technology, up from just 50% last year. Perhaps as a result, marketers now have the right tools in hand: about 7 in 10 agree that the marketing technology at their company is up to date and sufficient for helping them do their job, up from fewer than 6 in 10 feeling that way in the prior edition of the survey.
This growing confidence is supported by separate research. Just recently, a survey from Ascend2 and its Research Partners found almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents having all the tools they need, almost double the proportion (34%) from the last time Ascend2 fielded similar research.
One of the other key takeaways from the Ascend2 study was the perception of improved technology integration – and this also is seen in Walker Sands’ survey. Fewer than 1 in 4 marketers now say that difficulty of implementation and integration is a barrier to martech adoption, which is down from more than one-third saying the same last year.
As for marketing technology stacks, they appear to favor best-of-breed solutions over single-vendor suites. A leading 27% share of respondents described their stack as integrated best-of-breed architecture, while another 21% said they have a fragmented best-of-breed architecture. By comparison, 21% said they use a single-vendor suite. These results align with separate research from Campaign Monitor, in which the vast majority (82%) of respondents reported using best-of-breed technology stacks as opposed to a single vendor marketing cloud. It’s worth noting also that in the Walker Sands survey, the likelihood of having an integrated best-in-breed architecture as opposed to a single-vendor suite increased alongside company size.
Interestingly, though, both groups seem relatively happy with their ability to fully leverage their stack: 83% of those with an integrated best-of-breed architecture feel good or excellent about that ability, compared to 76% of those with a single-vendor suite. To better leverage the full power of their marketing technology stack, respondents pointed to better strategy (39%), better analytics (36%) and better training (33%) as the key factors.
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Finally, looking at the various marketing technology tools, the survey indicates that social media marketing, ad tech and email marketing top the list of planned purchases next year, and also are among the leading tools purchased in the past 3 years. This again aligns with other research, as a separate report from DataXu demonstrated that email, social and digital advertising are not only the most widely used marketing technology solutions, but also the ones with the broadest planned usage.
In sum, then, here are 5 takeaways from the Walker Sands research that are supported by other studies this year:
- – Budgets are receding as an obstacle to marketing technology adoption;
- – Marketers are growing more confident in technology integration;
- – There is a growing sense that available solutions fit companies’ needs;
- – Companies tend to be favoring best-in-breed stacks over single-vendor suites; and
- – Email, digital and ad tech are the most popular marketing technology tools.
About the Data: The Walker Sands State of Marketing Technology 2017 study is based on a survey of 335 U.S. marketers conducted online between Sept. 15 and Oct. 11, 2016. Respondents were limited to professionals who currently work in the marketing department of a company or organization. The survey has a 5.5 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level.