Courtesy: Scott Brinkler. Chief Martech

Once a year, Scott Brinkler of ChiefMartec releases the supergraphic of Martech landscape. This year, the companies in the list grow nearly 40% from 4700 to 5000. It’s a great piece of art that arouses interesting discussions and debates, lambasting the overheating sector, questioning percentage of vapourware in these companies and the confusion created for marketers.

Contrary to the negative views of the current state of Martech industry, below are some of my thoughts. (Disclaimer: At a quick glance, SAP, the company that I am working for, is well-represented in the list, covering Marketing Automation, CRM, Retail & Proximity Marketing, Sales Automation, Commerce, Collaboration and Talent Management).

  1. As a marketer, you probably do not need to care about most of the 5000 companies out there. For example, if you are in the retail sector focusing on B2C, you may not even know what ABM stands for. The same for Affiliate Marketing & Management section. Depending on the industry and segment you are in, you won’t even think such companies or sector existed.
  2. Some of the companies in the list may be surprised why are they listed and considered as Martech in the first place. I will never associate Slack, Atlasssian and Dropbox as Martech players. Why is Talent Management in the list? The same question for Product Management and Collaboration. Sales Automation and eCommerce are debatable. Yes, these are important categories but they do not fit 100% into the Martech space. That will probably eliminate 10-20% of the companies.
  3. The number of companies reflect the current sophistication required to manage end-to-end marketing activities. It is a direct reflection of the complexity on customer journey and the abundance of tools available to manage the process. Let’s say you are running an event. Now there is a solution (Eventbee) that seamlessly manage your event ticketing, a tool (Attendify) that helps you develop event app instantly and a tool (Presentain) that focuses on presentations and engagement between speakers and attendees during the event. Each of them provides a unique value proposition in serving an event marketer’s needs. Companies such as Zapier provides opportunities for these disparate tools to work closely together via API. So as marketers, we should be glad that there are vendors at every segment ready to jump in to solve our business problems.
  4. Every company has the right to exist if they provide value to the marketers and can solve real problems. Are we in a false economy? Is Martech over-heated and is it the right time for consolidation? That is the role of both the VCs and markets to sort it out. Some may struggle and cease to exist while others will thrive. Marketing landscape is changing and new companies will emerge. The question we really need to ask is do we really want to have an industry that is dominated by a few big players, or do we prefer to see sprouts of companies flourish? Behind every logo is sweat and toil of founders and their team while they create a business value and solve marketing problems. They help to create employment, spur innovation and drive the industry forward.

If you are a marketer who is only familiar with using Excel and Powerpoint, and relying on agencies to run campaigns, you might be missing the bandwagon as the marketing world is changing. The marketing space is getting more complex and the convergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, internet of things, into marketing is inevitable. Rather than lamenting the complexity, we could make sense out of it, filter out the fluff, adopt what is best for us and our customers, and start thinking the possibilities. For those who embraces technology, it has never been more exciting than now to be a Marketer.

This is just the beginning.