Spent time at MarTech West the other week listening to key note speakers and visiting all 80 of the exhibitors at the show.

Talked with each of the exhibitors to learn directly from them, about their world.

I wanted to learn  about the trends and challenges and opportunities they are facing – as well as the challenges facing marketers in this space.

While the growth of broader-reaching MarTech solutions has slowed (only up +3% in 2019 versus 2018), there are still 7,040 MarTech solution stacks.  In 2011, there were barely 150 firms.

What this conference revealed to me (and my recent study of the space has revealed to me) is that there are a number of trends that are worth knowing about as you work with your marketing agencies to move your business forward.

marry martech

Marketers are Marrying MarTech

Marketers like McDonald’s are buying MarTech companies and turning themselves into technology-driven marketers.  McDonald’s recent purchase of Dynamic Yield puts customization control directly into their hands.  Now they have the ability to better personalize the experience for their customers.  So instead of hiring an agency to optimize that part of their business, they are bringing the expertise right in-house.

Marketers are in a Maze

52% of marketers state that integration of different MarTech platforms is limiting to their success.  56% of organizations report under-utilizing their MarTech stack.  21% have bought and don’t use what they buy.  Only 9% of companies surveyed state they fully use their full-on stack.  While I don’t expect marketing agencies to become MarTech stack consultants, you do want your agency to be knowledgeable about platforms so that they can help you optimize how you’re using MarTech tools.

Marketers can be Techies Too

The other thing happening is there is a growing number of no code/low code tools being dropped into the market today.  There are now open APIs that allow users to extend usage and create customization much easier than they ever did before.   So agencies shouldn’t assume that you’ll automatically need them.  If they’re good, they’ll use these tools to build better platforms for you.


Marketing Microscope

And the last thing that’s happening that I’d like to mention is the coming of “ecosystem specific MarTech”  solutions and niche vertical solutions for specific industries.  So while the growth of broad reaching MarTech tools is slowing, what is growing is the number of platforms that address specific niches in specific industries.  Products like loyalty platforms specifically designed for the dental industry and CRM platforms tailored to the religious communities are examples of where companies are carving out homes in areas that were once dominated by agencies.

So the bottom line is marketing agencies need to know what’s out there and know what’s happening in and around your world as it relates to MarTech. 

If they aren’t talking about it, they need to.  They can’t know everything, but they should know just enough to be helpful to you.

If you operate in a particular vertical, you want your agency to know what’s being developed so they can be the firm that brings the ideas to you.

Next week we’ll talk about some of the more interesting tools I unearthed at MarTech West earlier this month.