Introducing the CXtech 100K, a $1 Trillion Market. You’re Welcome.


Share on LinkedIn

Over the past few years the Martech (Marketing Technology) space has expanded to over 5,000 vendors. Scott Brinker has done an amazing job cataloging this dynamic space and creating graphics to organize vendors in a number of different subcategories.

The 2018 “Martech 5000” graphic actually contains 6,829 marketing technology solutions from 6,242 unique marketing technology vendors, up 27% in just the last year. You can review the complete chart here (a strong pair of reading glasses highly recommended).

However, some of that growth seems to be coming from the addition of categories that don’t seem very, um, marketing oriented. Like 490 vendors in “sales automation, enablement and intelligence.” The rational: because “marketing and sales are deeply entwined.”

For the same reason, “Customer Experience, Service & Success” are also now part of the Martech landscape, says Scott. Here’s that segment clipped out from the supergraphic:

Source: Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2018): Martech 5000 (actually 6,829)

This prompted me to think about what exactly is a “CX solution” and how big is the market.

How Big is the CXtech Market?

A few years ago a vendor emailed me to ask: “How big is the CX market?” I replied that CX wasn’t a market, it was a strategy.

I stand corrected. Clearly CX is a market (I’ll call it CXtech just to be trendy) because vendors are going to market under that label. According to Gartner analyst Ed Thompson, a good starting point would be these:

Biggest Claimed CX Technology Vendors

Source: Gartner

Ed says Gartner doesn’t have have a formal CX market sizing, because “drawing the boundaries around CX tech is near impossible.” Depending on what people think is included, CXtech could range from $2 billion to $1 trillion market.

I say, why draw any boundaries at all? All enterprise software is part of CXtech!

  • Start with CX solutions for Voice of Customer and Analytics. Can’t very well execute a CX strategy without understanding customers, can we?
  • Then look at technologies that help engage with customers directly (e.g. self service) or indirectly (via employees) — which scoops up all Martech, Salestech, Servicetech.
  • Contact center platforms obviously have to be included, because these support all sorts of customer interactions.
  • Then let’s add technology for product design, development, and manufacturing. Because products are part of the customer experience.
  • Supply chain management is clearly important to deliver what customers want, at the right price.
  • And internal productivity tools and HR systems support employee engagement, which is linked to CX.

I’m probably leaving out a few categories, but just looking at the above list and doing some quick research, I found at least 100K vendors. Wow!

In the coming weeks and months we’ll try to build out the CXtech 100K landscape — or CXscape for short. Please let me know what should be included in the comments!


  1. Agreed that, because of growing digital applications, the lines for CX as a strategy and an application are, increasingly, becoming blurred. Whether for consulting, research, training, or tech systems, CX is definitely a market, though a somewhat squidgy and one, where the goal markers are always moving.. One area that, notably, is in your list is recognition that employees and HR are active stakeholders in the progress and effectiveness of CX.

  2. Excellent article, Bob, and truly mind-boggling stats. While I’m certainly not a luddite, I believe that many organizations get lured into the marvels of technology, and forget vital issues such as culture and strategy when it comes to CX. Technology buys you a seat at the table, but is a waste of time if other vital components of CX are not in place. I’d like to underscore that culture comes first, strategy second, and technology third.

  3. You have left out Verint from several other categories of which Verint is a leader. Customer Analytics (Speech, Text Analytics), Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) & Social.

  4. Great graphic which illustrates how fragmented the CXTech market is. I don’t think there is much value in sizing it as a whole as most will be niche vendors offering a fragment. Perhaps of more value is to consider what any enterprise needs to ensure persistent customer relevance, and that starts with an underlying and coherent enterprise-wide customer strategy and a business model that drives better customer engagement. The tech side is then about developing a customer engagement platform (CEP), and orchestrates value throughout every interaction along any customer journey, as opposed to a host of fragmented point solutions to support departmental siloes.
    This is the direction that the CX industry is stumbling towards, and many of the niche vendors will become part of the more successful CEP vendor ecosystems, or be acquired along the way. I also agree with Sudhir, without the right culture firms will simply get better at annoying customers with new tech.

  5. I like the statement, ”CX wasn’t a market, it was a strategy.” Yes, by creating the CX culture and strategy, we can engage technology for continuous improvement.

  6. Though not a perfect comparison, the challenge you’ve described in putting boundaries around the CX technology market compares to defining business applications software, Pre-ERP. Though somewhat easier to categorize (General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Payroll, HR, Inventory Management, Order Entry, etc.), the effort became more challenging as the footprint spread out like an oil slick on water: CAD/CAM, MRP, MRPII, Distribution and Logistics management, and more. Then, under the umbrella ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, these applications became integrated, and supported by a single vendor. From there, we got lots of interest in measuring the ‘ERP Market.’

    Perhaps the same thing will occur with CX where developers will begin offering end-to-end solutions to manage the many disparate applications that currently are considered CXTech. When – or if – that happens, I think we can truly say we have a CXTech industry. Until then, I see CXTech as a big glob of tangentially-related software that arguably supports enhanced customer experience.

  7. and maybe we are falling back to some more old style names like CRM or even CEM 😉 – just because vendors are starting to tell us that a customer experience can get managed doesn’t make that statement any more correct. An experience is an outcome. What all these categories in the Gartner chart enable is enabling or delivering the next engagement or step in a conversation if one wishes. And if we (desperately?) want to create a CX market we better include ERP systems, platforms, and supply chain systems into it, as they all make sure that important aspects of ‘CX’ are delivered.

    So essentially, the ‘CX market’ comprises of the complete business applications market.

    I am not sure whether this is helpful for businesses, analysts, consultants, or vendors.

    2 ct from Down Under

  8. Thomas, apparently a lot of big vendors (per Gartner’s chart) believe their technology has something to do with managing experiences. Else why go to market under the CX banner?

    For example, Oracle now sells a wide variety of CX solutions ( that I previously thought were CRM or CEM — where the E means Engagement.

    If you think CX through to its logical conclusion, that everything the enterprise does has something to do with the perceived experience, at least indirectly. So you’re right that all business applications are part of CXtech, including ERP and supply chain.

    If we learned anything from the CRM days, it’s that when a term becomes popular, the tech industry will use it aggressively to position and market solutions. Whether it’s helpful or not doesn’t seem to matter. When the marketing buzz wears off, then it’s time for a new term!

  9. The reason for following a banner is simple: It works for them. It is the buzzword du jour. You reiterated it in your last paragraph. Still, this doesn’t make it a software category, nor any better 😉

    It is part of our role as advisors and analysts to smoothen out industry exaggerations instead of increasing their amplitude.

  10. I think Andrew Rudin is right and we are seeing the start of this with customer engagement platforms that provide the orchestration capability to inject relevance into every customer interaction. ERP Supply chain, logistics are subordinate systems that the CEP has to push and pull data to and from. To survive when customer expectations are evolving at an accelerated rate, enterprises will need to harness their capabilities in a coherent customer centric manner. This is driving demand for a mechanism to orchestrate info, content next best actions intelligently and in realtime , what we refer to as customer engagement platforms. At the recent PegaWorld 2018, event, this is precisely what Liberty Global is striving towards and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. A unifying mechanism to increase relevance at every contact.
    It is early days, but to echo Andrew’s thoughts, this is the emerging category, that has sucked in AI, RPA, etc and among some vendors e.g.SAP with Gigya for customer permission, Adobe, Salesforce extending their reach to commerce. The messaging is all over the place and CRM like chewing gum stuck to your shoe is hard to get rid of, but we expect before the end of the year the CEP category to surface. Ovum is currently evaluating 11 vendors in this category, and expect to publish in July.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here