Looking back at what happened in marketing in 2018, we think of countless data blunders and the shake up of traditional marketing methods. One big trend? MarTech is taking over and claiming more budget at companies than ever before.
As we near the end of the year, I’m taking stock of the industry trends I’ve observed and projecting which ones are here to stay and those that are most likely to taper off as time goes on.
The Rise of Data for Social Good Will Gain Steam
Following this year’s major data mishaps, executives and organizations will seek to leverage data in ways unseen before. Companies will start to invest more heavily in how they use data, specifically as it relates to social responsibility and impact programs.
Through accurate data sets businesses will use data to identify other businesses that have been impacted by natural disasters, or other unforeseen events. This will allow them to offer their services free for a certain period of time while they get back on their feet and up-and-running.
Using data for good will start to become a trend, and more and more we will see businesses leveraging this and bring to light how data is important during times of need and can help others.
Customer Data Platforms Will Continue to Gain Momentum
Today, there are over 62 customer data platforms (CDPs) and the CDP Institute estimates revenues in this category will surpass $1 billion. Just a few years ago, this category didn’t even exist. With the boom of this category came an extreme variety of CDPs, some having an analytics focus, while others feeling like an extension of marketing automation with advanced segmentation or master data management platforms with deep integrations. This wide variety in some cases is problematic for buyers navigating the landscape.
In 2019, vendors and analysts are going to need to help the market by adding qualifiers (Enterprise CDP, Analytics CDP, Engagement CDP) to the type of CDP, in order to avoid buyer confusion or jadedness about the category.
Expect to see more M&A in this category as the marketing clouds and CRM suites look to embed unified data solutions into their solutions.
Marketing Budgets Will Level off as Companies Shift Back to It-Owned Tech
Up from 22 percent in 2017, technology now accounts for 29 percent of marketing expense budgets, making MarTech the single largest area of investment in marketing resources and programs. This means that whoever owns the data will ultimately dictate where budgets increase next year and beyond.
Some organizations have a centralized team, others a technical team reporting to the CMO, while some sitting in IT report to the increasingly common and prominent Chief Data Officer. But no matter where it sits, a comprehensive data management strategy for enterprises is complex and will require IT.
In the same vain, CMOs are being tasked to own evolving, complex customer experiences. With this in mind, unified and trusted data will be essential to deliver a unified customer experience.
New Ecosystems Will Rise Up
There are no longer dominant players that can deliver a full suite of technical capabilities in go-to-market tech stack, as buyer needs quickly evolve and grow.
Knowing this, we’ll see more platform partnerships and integrations between startups to create ecosystems that play nice versus stretching to offer end-to-end capabilities. One example we can imagine becoming more common is a data platform that will feed data into analytics tools and an AI platform. Better data will lead to better artificial intelligence models, and better models will lead to more advanced analytics.
Mergers and Acquisitions Will See Large Players Buying Smaller Vendors in High Volumes
All of the big MarTech players, besides Hubspot, have been bought out. In 2018 alone, Salesforce acquired both MuleSoft and Datorama, Adobe acquired Marketo, and SAP acquired CallidusCloud. This consolidation trend will continue into 2019, but we will see a focus on smaller vendors. Some of those acquired will be very early stage companies with great tech and talent that big brands want before they get too pricey.
Watch for acquisitions of players in AI, data management, chat, Sales Enablement, and security, as they are natural extensions to big marketing clouds that make more sense to buy than build internally.
Our industry is constantly experiencing shifts, but this next year promises to narrow in on the conversation around data, and we’ll see companies grapple with how to positively leverage it after a number of mishaps in 2018. Marketing tools are becoming more sophisticated as a result, so we’re sure to feel this impact.
Radius looks forward to serving our ever growing customer base in 2019 and continuing to lead as the first-ever enterprise B2B customer data platform on the market. Happy Holidays!