The global marketing technology market is now worth $99.9 billion, according to a report from Moore Stephens and WARC. But the lead channel used by brands remains humble, reliable email.
Of over 800 brands and agencies surveyed worldwide, 79% employ email. Second among channels is social media, utilized by 77%. SEO is being planned for most in the coming year, perhaps because of advances in algorithms.
Not that these channels are getting all that money: The biggest increase in martech spending is in analytics and measurement, with 75% selecting it, a 19% increase over last year.
Indeed, “this budget is coming from media spend and will have a resounding impact on the value of media-centric agencies,” states Damian Ryan, Partner, Moore Stephens.
The most established tech now in use is the Internet of Things. Second is voice, which is increasingly used for search — 36% in the UK employ it for this purpose, and 1% expect to do so in the next few months. Voice-activated lifestyle tools like Alexa are also driving brand interest.
Overall, firms in the UK and North America have increased their martech investment by 44%, putting the total spend at $52 billion. They’re laying out 23% of their budgets on the area, up from 16% a year ago.
Two thirds of European brands foresee increases. In addition, 18% of firms in North America and 17% in the UK expect budget increase of 25% or more.
At the same time, 63% of technology budgets have been spent in-house, vs. 44% last year. Moore Stephens sees this as proof that brands want to create a great customer experience — and that they distrust agencies.
“Investment in martech has reached a tipping point over the last 12 months,” Ryan says. “Established marketers in disrupted industries, such as insurance and financial services, realise they need to invest if they are to future-proof themselves, and view martech as a key area of investment.”
What’s holding them back? “Understandably, the number one restriction for 43% of respondents is marketing budget constraints,” Ryan continues. “Second, however, for over a quarter (26%) was a lack of understanding of the technology coupled with increasing complexity is creating issues for marketers.”
Amy Rodgers, research editor for WARC, agrees that “understanding of the technology available continues to be an issue for brands.”
Rodgers concludes that “with many planning to move tech in-house over the next year, agencies will have to adapt to a changing, advisory role in the martech strategies of their clients.”