New Insights on the State of Marketing Technology

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A recent survey by WARC and BDO (with interviews by the University of Bristol) provides more evidence that the role of technology in marketing is continuing to grow. Martech:  2020 and Beyond is based on a survey of more than 750 brands and agencies located in North America, the U.K., Europe, and APAC. The survey was fielded in June and July 2019.

The explosive proliferation of marketing technologies has been widely discussed and well documented. The inaugural (2011) edition of Scott Brinker’s marketing technology landscape graphic included about 150 companies. The 2019 version of the graphic includes 7,040 technology solutions.

Market Size and Growth

WARC and BDO estimate that total spending on marketing technology in North America and the U.K. will reach $65.9 billion this year, up from $52.4 billion in 2018. This equates to a year-over-year growth rate of 25.8%. WARC and BDO had previously estimated that 2017 spending in these two markets was $34.3 billion. So, in North America and the U.K., the market for marketing technology has nearly doubled over the past two years.



The WARC/BDO study found that marketers’ commitment to technology is still growing. On average companies in North America and the U.K. will spend 26% of their total marketing budget in 2019 on technology tools and services, compared to 23% of the budget in 2018. While spending on technology seems to have leveled off in the U.K., it’s still growing robustly in North America, as the following table shows:

A slight majority (53%) of the global survey respondents expect their spending on marketing technology to remain stable over the 12 months following the survey. However, of those respondents who believe their technology spending will increase, 51% expect the growth to be more than 10%. Growth expectations among North American respondents were more temperate. Only 35% of those respondents expect spending increases of more than 10%.

Need and Utilization

Fifty-five percent of the global survey respondents said they have all the marketing technology tools they need, but the findings regarding technology utilization were decidedly mixed, as the following table shows:

As the table indicates, only 24% of the respondents reported that they have all the tools they need and fully utilize them, while 41% acknowledged that they aren’t fully utilizing the technology tools they have.

Among respondents from North American companies:



  • Only 15% said they have all the technology tools they need and are fully utilizing them.
  • 57% said they don’t have all the technology tools they need.
  • 45% said they aren’t fully utilizing the technology tools they have.
Current Uses
In terms of how companies are using marketing technologies, more than half of the survey respondents reported using a technology tool to support each of the following marketing disciplines or activities:
  • Email (79% of respondents)
  • Social media (77%)
  • Content marketing and management (68%)
  • Customer relationship management (65%)
  • Analytics, measurement and insights (65%)
  • Mobile (60%)
  • Data management (60%)
  • Advertising technology (58%)
  • Commerce, lead generation and sales (53%)
Key Takeaways
The WARC/BDO survey provides two important takeaways for marketers. First, the marketing technology space is extremely dynamic. The number of technology solutions available to marketers is still increasing, although the pace of development may be slowing slightly. And second, it’s likely that most marketers will always be challenged to keep up with the rapid pace of technological innovation.
Top image source:  WARC/BDO

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