Why more Martech is not the answer

June 23, 2021 Kevin Davis

Conference season is finally over and my biggest takeaway from this year will be the sheer number of marketing technology vendors hawking their wares across different sectors in new and innovative ways.  

Some truly are impressive pieces of Martech that should have a place in the tactical plans of some organisations, but it’s become almost impossible to work out which ones will really add value to your business. 

Scott Brinker produces an excellent infographic each year which shows just how many different technology solutions exist to ‘solve’ your marketing issues. This year’s chart, below, lists over 7,000 such solutions, up from circa 150 in 2011 and 2,000 just three years ago.  

That’s a lot of salespeople hunting you down.

(Source: www.chiefmartec.com/2019/04/marketing-technology-landscape-supergraphic-2019/)

Every vendor you see at a show, who calls your office or (worst of all) stalks you on LinkedIn will come armed with a case study showing a 10x return on investment and an inspirational quote from a client saying their business has been revolutionised. I have no reason to doubt any of these claims, but if the future of marketing really does lie in our ability to purchase and integrate all these technologies, should we just rip up the Marketing Director’s job spec and double the IT Director’s salary instead?  

Inevitably, the number of Martech solutions will continue grow and the modern-day Marketing Director will also be ‘Chief Martech Vendor Manager’. But all the solutions in the world won’t make the challenges facing most business any easier. In fact, it can be that much harder as this tech replaces people and removes the capacity for businesses to be self-critical and ask the hard questions. 

Our desire to buy the next new toy and integrate it into our marketing plans has led us to lose sight of the things that are actually important to the success of our business.  

We allow our software to mark its own homework with little or no questioning of the numbers it presents. 

Identifying which solution is right relies on you having a real understanding of the root cause of your challenges, identifying new opportunities, and measuring your success against the right metrics – and not just the ones native to your technology stack.  

Solving one tactical challenge rarely transforms any business. Only with a solid understanding of your strategic drivers can you even begin to understand which of these 7,000 great solutions is right for you. 

Theres a Martech solution for every tactical challenge out there but if you’re going to benefit from any of them you need to be able to independently measure their success and keep your customer at the heart of all your decisions.  


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