Every year (friend of ODF) Scott Brinker, who also has a new book out, does a personal survey of the marketing technology landscape to map out the number and array of martech vendors. It's remarkable that his latest survey shows around 3,500 vendors, representing a growth of 87% year-on-year (represented by that horrendously complex visual above which you can view in all it's glory here-PDF).
That latter number should, I guess, be less of a surprise given the exponential growth in vendors that the market has seen over the last few years (Scott pegged the number in 2015 at around 2,000, in 2014 at 1,000, and as recently as 2012 at 'only' 350). But if anyone ever doubted that marketing is now as much about technology as any function within an organisation (if not more) they surely can't be in any doubt now. There are some things I read that seemingly (still) want to pretend that this is not a reality, but I think you ignore this at your peril. Marketing is increasingly driven by technology whether you like it or not.
Apart from this headline figure, one of the most interesting aspects of Scott's market mapping was the way in which he has restructured it from last year. Scott used a 'stack' metaphor for his 2014 and 2015 mapping that positioned infrastructure and platform systems at the bottom and experience and operations applications on top, understandably reflecting a belief that in most organisations martech would coalesce around a single platform (with some notable large players competing for that role) augmented by an assortment of specialised applications and services that might plug into that platform. But as Scott notes, that dominant single platform approach has largely not materialised (albeit the exception being in smaller companies that are more likely to have a single solution).
Instead, he says, marketing stacks in many companies feature multiple platforms and vendors, all providing a specific role from web experience to content marketing to marketing automation to CRM. This has been enabled by the improving integration capabilities that many technologies have developed (with plug-and-play support for big CRM and marketing automation technologies), and notable growth in 'marketing middleware', tag management and so-called iPaaS (integration-platforms-as-a-service) solutions which are able to connect various marketing technologies to a common 'data exchange backbone':
'This has empowered marketers to select 'best of breeds' solutions and avoid vendor lock-in with a single marketing technology provider - and, indeed, many are now successfully embracing that more open and heterogenous approach.'
So instead of the stack metaphor, Scott has reconfigured his mapping around 6 marketing technology capability clusters...
This kind of segmentation is becoming increasingly important as a way of navigating complexity and understanding the key kinds of capabilities that are important to the modern marketing organisation. These, says Scott, are most often the clusters that not only divide key vendors but also more broadly the skill-sets and practice expertise that now makes it all work. Fascinating.