Gartner: Marketers are using less than half of their martech stack capabilities

While marketers have been empowered with greater control over vendor selection and stable budgets, they are leveraging far less of their martech tools than two years ago, survey finds.

The number of marketers using all of their tech stack is down noticeably since 2020. (Photo credit: Unsplash).

Marketers spend one-quarter of their budgets on marketing technologies, but are severely underutilizing what they buy, according to a new survey from Gartner.

On average, marketers use only 42% of the capabilities in their martech stack, Gartner found, based on a survey of 324 marketers in May and June. This is a marked decrease from 2020, when marketers reported that they used 58% of their tech stack.

Marketers cited three common impediments to taking advantage of their tech stack: overlapping martech solutions; difficulty identifying and recruiting talent to drive adoption and utilization; and the complexity of the martech ecosystem.

Talent gaps and poor tech literacy mean marketers are struggling to take advantage of the solutions they buy and prove the value of these investments. Marketers cited turning data into actionable insights and generating sales or profit from investments as the most difficult gaps to overcome in the next 12 months.

Yet marketers reported having more direct control of vendor evaluation and selection than two years ago: 27% said the marketing department controls these decisions entirely, up by 9% from 2020. Meanwhile 61% of respondents say that marketing and IT jointly collaborate on martech evaluation.

The proportion of an average marketer’s budget assigned to martech has been largely stable over the past three years at around 25%. While scrutiny over the ROI of these investments is increasing as a potential recession looms, CFOs that Gartner surveyed in August said they planned to protect their organization’s digital investments when looking for areas to cut costs.

Integrated tech solutions have also become much more common, preferred by 60% of marketers surveyed, compared to 42% a year ago. Meanwhile, just 25% of marketers surveyed said they prefer a “best-of-breed” approach. Gartner said this reflects more cohesive offerings from vendors such as Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce, driven by internally developed data platforms.

But increased reliance on integrated solutions clashes with a requirement for CMOs to test new identity and privacy solutions and emerging technologies like NFTs, Gartner said. 

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of marketers said they are exploring or piloting technology to support advertising and measurement in audio and CTV environments. Meanwhile, 62% of marketers said they are investing in metaverse and social commerce technology, and 59% said they are exploring NFTs. 

“The fact that marketers are already leveraging technology to support emerging activities underscores their desire to outfox the competition and get a head start on controlling their own destinies in a world of more fallible identifiers,” said Benjamin Bloom, VP analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice.

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