MarTech is one of many technology sectors to earn the affectionate -tech suffix. Think of similar portmanteaus such as FinTech, AdTech, PropTech, and BioTech, just to name a few. This article will explain the forces behind MarTech and some of the biggest trends to look out for as we move into the year 2021.
The term MarTech is an abbreviation for marketing technology that was first coined by Scott Brinker, editor of the chiefmartec blog. Though MarTech hasn’t been around that long, it represents a huge field that includes more than just marketing technologies. MarTech is also about how marketing and technology are constantly being innovated and combined. As technology is constantly evolving, so are marketing strategies. This blending of marketing and technology is at the core of MarTech, an industry that is constantly evolving.
To give you an idea of the scope of the MarTech landscape, look at the following 2020 infographic that Scott Brinker publishes annually:
You can tell from the sheer amount of information that MarTech is not only a large but a complex industry. The infographic amalgamates technology logos to form different categories and subcategories. Brinker divides MarTech into five main segments:
Of course, Brinker admits that the boundaries are so fluid at this high-level view that it is hard to categorize MarTech software neatly or define strict boundaries between market segments.
What remains constant about MarTech is its constant flux. That is why in this article, we provide you with the top 8 trends in MarTech leading into 2021.
But before we dive into the current trends, consider the long history of marketing technology. This way, we can better appreciate just how significant the recent MarTech boom is.
Though MarTech is a relatively new term, marketing technology has been around for centuries. The following chart offers a glimpse into how MarTech got to where it is now:
Marketing has come a long way since the age of signs and newspapers. Today’s technology and the internet have led to a massive explosion of marketing insights and possibilities. From marketing technology channels, applications, and data elements, the MarTech industry has made exponential progress. Consider how much change has happened in the last few decades compared to the centuries before. The rate at which MarTech is changing is only accelerating. We are always at the cusp of new MarTech opportunities, a new software frontier.
Without further ado, here are the latest MarTech Trends leading into 2021:
With the incredible variety of marketing technology that is constantly arriving on the market, there is a growing need for platform-based ecosystems that integrate MarTech tools with each other. Having too many different marketing software tools can be cumbersome and frustrating. As a result, we are seeing the rise of platforms that efficiently combine digital tools for marketers. Ecosystems serve as stable foundations with which to integrate third-party marketing apps.
As MarTech tools become more available, in-house marketing campaigns will become more common. Instead of outsourcing marketing needs, businesses will opt to hire in-house marketers who can take advantage of DIY marketing techniques made possible by an array of new software tools. Not only is MarTech software exploding but it is becoming more accessible. Still, some marketing campaigns will benefit from outsourcing to expert firms who have the latest technology and know exactly what they are doing.
In addition to the increase of in-house marketing campaigns, MarTech is seeing the rise of low- or no-code marketing solutions. Non-developers can create their own marketing applications with limited or no coding experience. As a result, such non-developers are often referred to as citizen developers. In other words, they are the laymen of marketing software developers. This means more marketers can create their own marketing apps according to their business’s organizational and customer needs.
With recent privacy legislation that restricts online data collection, more and more marketing intelligence will be contextual.
In 2018, both the European Union (EU) and California implemented privacy laws: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). As a result, online marketing campaigns are shifting from big data to big operations. Instead of focusing on collecting more data, marketers will focus on better ways to analyze and process the data available for maximum insight. Businesses will collect less data, more sensitively. For example, websites might ask customers to voluntarily fill out surveys to collect targeted data. This way, they engage directly with the customer, and the data will be more informative.
Furthermore, tech giants Google and Apple have already announced that they will block third-parties from collecting data. So instead of relying on users’ browsing history, marketers need to rely on other data sources. For example, some have shifted to displaying advertisements based on page content alone. Overall, MarTech solutions have started moving in the direction of contextually intelligent advertising tools.
Ultimately, contextual data collection is poised to replace marketing based on user data. Again, this trend results from legal necessity, but it will drive a lot of software innovation, too.
As third-party data becomes increasingly off-limits, MarTech solutions will focus more on zero-party data.
To get a better grasp of what this means, you must first understand the tiered levels of data:
To incentivize giving zero-party data, many businesses offer rewards in return, like perks or giveaways. You can also request information when users register as new members to your membership site. However you decide to collect zero-party data, you are explicitly asking for it, not collecting it in the background.
Zero-party data means engaging with the customer on a more individual level to gage their personal tastes and preferences. It can be harder to collect, but it is far more informative than other types of data.
Automation and AI are affecting nearly all digital markets, and they have an important role in marketing technology. Because marketing relies heavily on data, MarTech is always innovating new ways to automate data processing and analysis.
With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), automation in MarTech is rising to new levels. A prominent example of AI in MarTech is chatbots. Chatbots enable conversational marketing campaigns that engage with customers in real-time. No longer do you need to rely on third-party data nor expensive real-time human engagement. Chatbots mimic human interaction and allow for direct collection of data.
The potential for AI to revolutionize marketing can’t be overstated. We don’t even know yet all the ways in which AI can optimize marketing software. So this is a huge area of potential when it comes to MarTech.
Voice search technologies like Siri and Google Assistant are creating new channels for data collection. Today, people use voice searches more than ever to engage businesses. For example, users can order food or hail rides by speaking into their smartphone. This allows them to do business hands-free and on the go. MarTech solutions can explore how users use voice search functionality to better market to them. As we speak, voice search is creating new areas for marketing software. No pun intended. Voice search channels are bound to be a major part of new marketing campaigns.
Videos are everywhere. The increase in video channels offers new opportunities for collecting marketing data.
Nearly every social media has integrated video. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have been targets for digital marketers for a while now. But TikTok, which relies heavily on video, has over 500 million users and brought in $17 billion in revenue in 2019. And it now offers marketing insights in the form of TikTok Analytics for Pro accounts. The emerging social media giant is based entirely on shared videos. Obviously, there is a wealth of marketing data to be mined from video channels like TikTok. By tracing how videos are made, shared, and viewed, MarTech softwares can learn how to reach target audiences.
It goes without saying that the market for MarTech is exploding. As of April 2020, there were a total of 8,000 MarTech solutions. That is up 5,233% from 2011, when there were only 150 MarTech solutions on the market.
The market sector that has grown the most in the last year is data. Especially in our age of stricter privacy laws, this makes sense. New marketing software has been developed to manage data properly when it comes to compliance and privacy. Even though companies may be forced to mine less data, their software will need to be increasingly complex to understand the data available.
Another area of the MarTech market experiencing exceptional growth right now is conversational marketing and chat. Again, this can be partly attributed to the move away from third-party data collection. MarTech companies are innovating ways to collect data more directly, and one of those ways is real-time conversations via technologies like chatbots.
As you can see, the new MarTech trends discussed are at the forefront of some of the market growth we are seeing.
MarTech has a bright future. As the market grows, we can expect an increase in spending on MarTech. Specifically, 60% of marketing leaders anticipate increasing their MarTech spending in the next year. COVID-19 has only accelerated this trend as marketers need innovative ways to reach customers who are shopping online more than ever.
The role of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is set to evolve as well. In the past, CMOs were primarily responsible for branding and a company’s image. Now, CMOs will have a larger responsibility for the profits and losses of a company as business performance relies more on marketing data, analytics, and technology.
As marketing campaigns become more focused on personal conversation, the number of market segments will increase. MarTech solutions will abound to meet more individualized marketing approaches. Market segmentation will skyrocket.
Finally, MarTech ecosystems will play a greater role in the future. As businesses forge new partnerships, there will be a growing need for platforms that combine different marketing software so that they can interact with each other seamlessly.
If you want to get in on the MarTech hype, now is the time. Make sure your business is at the top of its game. With all that is changing due to COVID-19, government lockdowns, and advances in technology, incorporating robust MarTech solutions is more important than ever.
Here at Dev.co we know what it takes to create effective marketing software. From search tools for SEO to CRM solutions to data visualization, we can develop the MarTech solution you need. You name it, and we will make it. Contact us today to get started.
Ryan is the VP of Operations for DEV.co. He brings over a decade of experience in managing custom website and software development projects for clients small and large, managing internal and external teams on meeting and exceeding client expectations–delivering projects on-time and within budget requirements. Ryan is based in El Paso, Texas.