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VB Insight released its first-ever State of Marketing Technology report today, built on analysis of over 3.2 million businesses and in-depth surveys of 320 marketing technologists.

marketing-ideas-roiThere’s some good news, and there’s some bad news.

The bad news is that despite some $49.1 billion in investment scattered among 537 marketing technology products that have received major funding, overall penetration of the top 25 marketing technology products across a broad swath of 151 industries is a miserly 4.1 percent. That would be primarily, of course, outside the Silicon Valley bubble.

“As a whole, marketing technology is still on the wrong side of ‘the chasm,'” report author Stewart Rogers says. “While some categories have done well, the vast majority have yet to capture the hearts and minds of the average marketer.”


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But the bad news is, in a sense, good news: There is plenty of opportunity.

VB Insight is VentureBeat’s research division.
The State of Marketing Technology report is available here.

That’s precisely why, Rogers says, we’ve seen marketing technology tools, platforms, and products grow from just 100 a few years ago to well over 1,400 today. Most of the funding has gone into the social media platforms and search engines on which large parts of the marketing technology ecosystem rests (Facebook, Twitter, Yandex, and Baidu, for example). Meanwhile, the marketing experience space is taking off, with over $5 billion in funding going to the likes of SurveyMonkey, Cvent, Hootsuite, Eventbrite, Applied Predictive Technologies, and others.

And that means it is still early days.

“It is as if the majority of the money is being spent on building mountains to house the gold, rather than on the shovels and tools to dig it out,” Rogers writes in the report. “That, in itself, suggests we are very early on in the evolution of marketing technology.”

Another sign marketing technology will continue to evolve? While there are over 1,400 marketing tech solutions available today, there are no single clear leaders in any category. With the top tools only seeing 4.1 percent average penetration, the overall market is very much still up for grabs.

Mass marketing is deadThe top tech solutions in use at the small business level (1 to 200 employees) are primarily email marketing, marketing automation, and web experience optimization tools, the study says.

The top tech marketing tools in small business:

  1. MailChimp

  2. Constant Contact

  3. AWeber

  4. HubSpot

  5. Mixpanel

  6. InfusionSoft

  7. Optimizely

  8. Salesforce

  9. Wistia

At the enterprise level, the most common tools are marketing automation, marketing automation, and marketing automation, with five of the top 10 slots. Other tooks include web experience optimization, CRM, and email marketing.

marketing-strategy-shutterstockThe top tech marketing tools in enterprise:

  1. Optimizely

  2. HubSpot

  3. Marketo

  4. Constant Contact

  5. comScore

  6. Eloqua

  7. Salesforce

  8. MailChimp

  9. Pardot

  10. Act-On

In terms of industries that are using the tools, there’s a clear — but perhaps surprising — winner.

E-learning companies, who need to sell new students on their benefits, are the top user of marketing technologies, followed by a variety of industries in the technology, publishing, media, and health/fitness spaces. The bottom 10 industries in terms of marketing technology use is perhaps less surprising, consisting of resource companies, heavy construction companies, import/export businesses, and legislative/judicial sectors of the economy.

“Adoption might be low across the Fortune 80 million,” Rogers says with a smile. “But the sheer number of solutions, amount of data they’re handling, and their implications across the entire gamut of sales and marketing strategies tells me that this is the most important technology space to focus on for the foreseeable future.”

This just the first installment of the report, Rogers says, adding that it will evolve, dig into different elements of the story, and stay current through regular updates. The State of Marketing Technology report will be released quarterly.

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