Martech investment appetite is stronger than ever but confusion and poor results abound

Two new reports into the state of marketing technology and automation utilisation show marketers are keen for the kit, but aren't so good at using or understandingit

Three quarters of senior marketers don’t feel they have the technical ability to realise their digital ambitions and half feel overwhelmed by the amount of martech at their disposal.

Those are a couple of highlight findings from the new State of Martech report, produced by the University of Southampton’s Business School for European marketing services provider, Clevertouch. While nine out of 10 marketers had a priority focus on technology, the report found only 10 per cent are focused on talent management and organisational development over the next 12 months.

And all this tech is overwhelming the marketing fraternity. Fifty per cent of respondents admitted being overwhelmed by the choice of marketing technology out there right now, and 44 per cent admitted to martech platforms that have largely gone unused during the pandemic.

But while 30 per cent say they cannot fully utilise the martech they have now, 34 per cent still plan to buy more of it in the next year.

Southampton University Business School associate dean, Rog Angell, said the results are indicative of the ‘nextopia’ concept he’s devised, where marketers are constantly seeking out the next shiny new technology while failing to executive within their own existing technology framework.

“Martech, especially peripheral technologies within the stack, are often treated much like a disposable gadget; overhyped at the start, but quickly underused and forgotten about,” the report authors stated. “There is too much emphasis on these isolated purchases and too little focus on integration, information management and insight.

“Marketers really need to take the time to assess what tech they have, and then prioritise and integrate that tech into a working structure.”

The report also suggested analysts and publications are reinforcing this drive to build ever bigger and more complicated martech stacks, which makes the situation of marketers feeling overwhelmed by the technology worse. However, against this, just under half of marketers surveyed said they aimed to balance a focus between acquisition of technology and integration in the next year.

“Integration of marketing technologies was found to be the biggest challenge in proving MROI,” the report authors continued. “Technology acquisition should not come before previous technology purchases are fully integrated into a wider system that works together seamlessly.

“It’s promising to see marketers acknowledge this challenge and take positive action to fix it.”

The State of Martech report incorporated a survey of 639 senior marketers across the US, UK and Europe.

This somewhat contradictory bag of marketing technology utilisation success, confusion and growing investment was echoed in another international report released last week around marketing automation by Ascend2. The State of Marketing Automation 2022 report found 64 per cent of marketers find their marketing automation efforts ‘somewhat successful’, while 14 per cent find them downright unsuccessful.

Nevertheless, one in three of respondents were found planning to be in the market for more marketing automation solutions in the next 12 months, with price and ease of use the overwhelming decision factors in making such tech purchases.

Top advantages cited for marketing automation are improving customer experience, enabling better use of staff time and better data and decision marketing.  Across respondents, 31 per cent said they’d mostly or fully automated customer journeys. This compared to 47 per cent who had partially achieved this, and 22 per cent who said customer journeys were not automated at all.

The Ascend2 report was based on survey responses from a panel of 393 marketing professionals and market research subscribers.

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