Adapt or Die: What the Multi-Billion Dollar Growth of Marketing Technology Means for Your Brand

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In the wild, there’s a name for animals that move too slowly in the face of danger: dinner.

And just because we wear suits and ties (or, to be real, t-shirts and sweats in our WFH life), the business world is no less ruthless. When you’re competing with a dozen similar brands for the same pool of customers, the smallest edge can make the difference between being the leader in your vertical or putting an “Open for work” overlay on your LinkedIn profile.

If you’re trying to stay ahead of your competitors, one of the most important developments in e-commerce is the rapid acceleration of investment in marketing technology, commonly referred to as martech. These digital tools and programs are designed, to help businesses track and analyze data, increase branding and acquire customers, among other tasks, and they’ve seen staggering growth over the last few years.

In 2019, global spending on martech was estimated to be just over $121 billion dollars, but by 2021, that number more than doubled to $344.8 billion with no signs that it will be slowing down in 2022.

Brands surveyed in a study by the Martech Alliance in association with Moore, Kingston, Smith, reported that they’re currently spending 23% of their marketing budget on martech, and 61% of those surveyed reported that they expect that number to increase in 2022. From fortune 500 companies to start-ups, there is a global recognition that successfully competing in the e-comm space is impossible without making strategic investments into cutting-edge marketing technology. 

However, if all your doing is throwing money at every shiny new program with a cool product demo, you could be creating more problems than you’re solving.

Simon Kingsnorth, chief marketing officer for City Relay, warns that “If the technology just creates different platforms to log into then it might be doing some good, but it’s also creating a huge amount of work. Pulling it all together in a way that’s meaningful is the only way it’s going to make a positive impact on strategy.”

Despite the growing importance of martech, 42% of businesses surveyed said that they didn’t feel like they had the internal skills or talent necessary to maximize their investment in it and 57% said it was a struggle to recruit talent with the necessary skills to manage complex new marketing programs built around machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“It is of no surprise that AI and ML are key technologies driving marketing strategy, with their potential benefits being well understood,” says Thomas Hayden, R&D Director for Moore, Kingston, Smith.  “Despite this, the AI talent pool is still fairly small, and businesses looking to invest in this area will have to fight for the available talent.”

Nearly 50% of businesses surveyed said that they wanted to increase their use of AI technologies in the next 12 months, which means you can expect the competition for employees with the skill set to manage them to be fierce.

If you don’t feel like your business is in a place to make a substantial investment into the marketing technologies that you need to succeed, then consider working with an agency that’s already done that work for you.

Purply, our proprietary AI technology, is an automated program that utilizes machine learning to analyze millions of different transactions from dozens of different verticals, spanning more than a decade.

Purply doesn’t just gather sales data but formulates it into customized KPI reports so that you can act on all of the information that we’ve collected, allowing you to react faster to emerging trends, optimize your existing sales strategy and uncover opportunities that you weren’t aware of.

The rapid growth of martech presents significant challenges and opportunities for brands. While it’s easy to get lost in the thousands of options available to you, mastering these programs and tools is one of the most cost-effective ways to lower your customer acquisition costs and accelerate your sales.

In today’s digital landscape, it isn’t enough to have a superior product, especially if your competitors are doing a better job of collecting and analyzing data, optimizing their affiliate network and targeting their customers.

In other words, the martech revolution is here and if your brand isn’t ready to adapt, then it may not be ready to survive in the world of e-commerce.

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