It’s been a busy few weeks for the marketing technology analysts at Gartner. They recently unveiled the results of their survey of 200+ senior executives responsible for enterprise marketing technology purchase decisions at the world’s biggest companies. This week, they also just published their 2017 Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs, in which, we’re proud to say, mParticle was cited as a Vendor To Watch (Gartner subscription required for both links).
Reports like these are immensely helpful not only to get a better understanding of where specific vendors sit in relation to one another, but also in painting a complete picture of the state of the marketing technology stack. For us, their findings reinforced the enormous need for modern data infrastructure to integrate and coordinate across all of the new devices and tools marketers (and the people they are seeking to engage) now have access to.
Before getting into that, though, let’s look at 3 big trends from the research…
1) Martech fragmentation is real.
We’ve all seen the crowded logo charts, but it’s never obvious how many of these logos belong to companies who’ve never actually sold something into large enterprises. Gartner’s research shows that, even considering only those companies that have, the fragmentation is significant.
The average company in the survey (Gartner subscription required) had 22 martech platforms/tools in their stacks, and 8 more in the process of being deployed. In other words, despite the much-anticipated convergence of “martech” and “adtech,” there is also a reverse trend unfolding in which more end users are demanding ever more tools tailored to their specific needs. I suspect one reason for this is that, while martech and adtech are indeed consolidating from an execution perspective, there are increasingly diverse analytics and insight requirements, plus ever more platform-specific opportunities, like mobile push notifications, which will require their own best-in-breed solution at least for the foreseeable future.
2) The Big Five vendors are not making the problem go away.
The Big Five diversified marketing technology providers (Google, Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle & IBM) account for only about a third of all marketing tools in use by large organizations, according to Gartner’s research; that’s a fragmented market by most definitions, but even more so when you consider this number is highly skewed to certain categories. For example, Adobe is the market share leader in web analytics, and the other Big Five are also well represented in that category, which is the single most widely deployed of all martech types.
But a Big Five is not the marketshare leader in a majority of categories; in some categories, they collectively have 0% share. And none of them is dominant in mobile. In other words, large companies invariably will need to have a multi-vendor data integration strategy no matter which of the Big Five they partner with.
In fact, one of the most interesting findings of the Digital Marketing Hub Magic Quadrant research this year was this: “Of the 123 references surveyed…88% reported integrations with at least one hub product other than the one by which they were referred.” Meaning that it’s typical for companies, intentionally or not, to employ multiple Digital Marketing Hub solutions in their stacks.
Which leads us to the next point…
3) The demand for “Customer Data Platforms” is increasing.
Most Digital Marketing Hubs offer built-in executional tools as part of their suites. These range from DSP’s and ESP’s to CMS’s and multichannel campaign management (don’t worry if you don’t know all these terms, most people don’t).
Gartner sees these as separate from standalone Customer Data Platforms, or CDPs, which focus on providing a unified customer view across tools, and are by definition execution-tool agnostic. However, the categories are not wholly exclusive of one another (mParticle is considered by Gartner to be both a CDP and a Digital Marketing Hub).
Whatever you want to call them, the need for more unified customer data is resoundingly clear. David Raab, who heads the Customer Data Platform Institute, has a great blog post in which he compiles several stats on the topic (I won’t repeat them here, but it’s certainly worth reading). More recently, Gartner’s survey (Gartner subscription required) found that, of all the marketing technology types, Customer Data Platforms was one of the top three in terms of planned adoption rates for 2017.
To learn more about why Customer Data Platforms are so in vogue right now, and yet most of them will fail to live up to expectations, check out part two of this post, The App Gap.