Marketing takes a lot of organization and technical chutzpah these days, so marketers are scrambling to buy software and build out their tech stacks. CMOs want to stay ahead of or at least keep up with their digital-savvy competitors in order to retain, if not gain, market share.
Today’s chart shows what tech types brand leaders are buying and how fast. The marketing technology buying trends illustrate what marketers need to purchase to get ahead in 2018.
(As seen in the MarketingSherpa Chart newsletter. Click to get a free subscription to the latest research and case studies from MarketingSherpa.)
CMOs are feverishly buying marketing tech this year in order to build out their marketing stacks and keep up with the marketplace as well as their competitors’ tech. While all brands have bulked up on martech significantly in previous years, this year digital marketing tools are in extremely high demand.
And high-revenue businesses are purchasing digital tech at greater rates, like the 70 percent spending on web tools in 2018 versus 57 percent spending from low-revenue businesses. Richer marketers are also snapping up more bleeding-edge technologies and at faster rates than their slimmer-revenue peers.
A comparison of high-revenue companies, whose brands bring in $5 million or more in revenue annually, are compared with low-revenue companies in this chart based on our recent “2018 Marketing Technology Stack Investment Trends” survey:
Q: What is your company's annual revenue?
Q: Which technologies/solutions/services will your company be investing in for 2018? (Please check all that apply.)
Richer Marketer, Poorer Marketer, What Marketing Tech Will You Buy?
The wealthier the business, the more likely the brand leader is to buy web analytics/web design/web optimization tools. While this martech is tied at No. 1 with social media for the high-revenue companies, 13 percent more plan to buy web tech this year than low-revenue ones. So 70 percent of high-revenue businesses value both tools, but only 57 percent of the low-revenue ones are optimizing their web tech this year, and 66 percent are doing so with their social media marketing software. Those results pair well with the overall survey responses in which the No. 1 tech is social and No. 2 is web.
This is no surprise to MarketingSherpa readers who know web optimization technology literally pays. It aids in call-to-action testing, for instance. Testing increased conversions for IT security solutions provider Sophos by 77 percent, with “Request pricing” far outperforming “Request a quote.” Content personalization was also a fast-growing web optimization tool four years ago, MarketingSherpa found.
So while web tech is a staple tool in a marketing stack, it’s constantly changing and needs to be optimized itself.
Content marketing tools are the second most popular purchase among high-revenue businesses surveyed by Target Marketing. Eleven percent more of high-revenue businesses want to buy this tech, at 65 percent; and 64 percent vs. 50 percent of less-rich ones report purchase plans for search engine marketing tools this year. (The interwoven, omnichannel aspects of all these purchases are evident.)
Bleeding-Edge Marketing Tools Are Ruled by Data
The staple marketing tech tools all brands are buying range from social to CRM, with direct mail thrown in for good measure — which is perhaps more viable as online data privacy laws become the norm. But 2018 is the first time Target Marketing included artificial intelligence (AI) in its martech research, and surveyed marketers showed they were ahead of the curve — but, as with web tech, high-revenue companies were outpacing all CMOs.
Based on the data-backed aspect of AI, it’s not surprising that a plurality of the 31 percent of marketers who plan to buy the tech will do so at the end of the year (11 percent). Richer marketers weighed the average, with 38 percent of them scooping up AI in 2018 and only 27 percent of their lower-revenue counterparts doing so.
Database marketing and personalization ranked No. 8 at 53 percent overall, but 59 percent of richer marketers planned to buy it — a trend that continues throughout the data-backed and bleeding-edge tech purchases. (Especially compared with poorer marketers. For instance, 59 percent of richer marketers are spending on retargeting software, while only 32 percent of poorer marketers are doing the same.)
This trend makes sense. In order to use data-backed and bleeding-edge technologies well, companies need to have a chief data officer or similarly skilled professional — a position which richer organizations can afford to fund. At the same time, no surveyed organization found the marketing technology trivial.
“This year, 55 percent of responding marketers plan to spend $10,000 or more on technology, and 4 percent plan to purchase $1 million or more,” reads the research.
Conclusion: Invest in digital marketing tech
Web martech ties customer-facing marketing experiences together, which is why brands want the tools. But data-driven marketing and aid from martech in other channels — search and social, for instance, directing traffic to the sites — make marketing engines hum.
The implication is clear: Marketers who want to stay competitive need to buy the digital marketing tools their peers are purchasing. Those who want to get ahead should buy the bleeding-edge options the richer marketers are pivoting to buy, such as web optimization tools.
It all adds up to 2018 being the year martech becomes synonymous with marketing.
2018 Marketing Technology Stack Investment Trends (free report via Target Marketing magazine)
A Love Letter to the Landing Page (via Target Marketing magazine)
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