The Kaleidoscopic Marketing Technology Landscape

Marketing is thriving. Budgets are growing. Responsibilities are growing. Influence in the C-suite is growing. And the marketing technology landscape — an amazing array of software products that are built to empower the modern marketer — is growing, too.

Marketing Technology Landscape - January 2014

Click to enlarge

You can click on the above graphic to zoom in on a higher resolution version of that growing landscape.

You’ll know the image has rendered properly on your screen if your reflexive reaction is a colorful expletive.

With nearly 1,000 different vendors represented here, the scale of the marketing technology space is staggering to behold. And this isn’t even the complete picture. There are hundreds of other great companies selling software to marketers that weren’t included in this landscape, due solely to constraints of time (I did as much as I could over the holiday break) and space (I wanted to keep this to one page).

If you bop over to the post on my blog where I first released this graphic, you can browse more than 100 comments from companies who chimed in to say, “Nice job — but you forgot us!”

Frankly, I’m humbled by all the amazing companies that I inadvertently overlooked. (Mea culpa!) But that unto itself is a testament to the richness and diversity of this space.

Would You Say I Have A Plethora Of Marketing Technology Vendors?

Now, before you sue me for causing infographic-induced emotional distress — and my editor would note that this graphic is solely the responsibility of the guest author and not Marketing Land — let me first say: this massive landscape is actually a good thing.

Yes, 1000 different marketing technology vendors, out of which you only know some, all jostling together in the bazaar, is a good thing. No, really.

It’s a good thing because it illustrates just how vibrant the digital marketing industry is. It shows how much entrepreneurial talent is being directed into the space — all competing to offer you, dear marketer, better capabilities. It assures you that no matter what kind of innovation you’re looking for in your marketing, there’s almost certainly some software vendor out there tackling that very challenge. Probably two or three of them.

It’s a good thing because you have choice. And while making choices can be hard (hey, there is some downside to this massive field too) having choices is good. Marketing technology is a buyer’s market. And you’re the buyer.

(“Would you say I have a plethora of marketing technology vendors?” Yes, I would.)

Priorities, Team & A Relentless Focus On The Customer

Now, you may be asking, “If it’s such a good thing, why does it feel so overwhelming?”

Well, it’s both good and overwhelming. But the overwhelming part can be managed. The key is to not attempt to absorb the entire landscape in your head — much less in your marketing operations — all in one fell swoop. You can suffer vertigo that way.

Instead, focus on the one or two things that you know you need to get right. If you don’t yet have a great content management system for your website — or a web experience management platform, as many of those vendors prefer to label themselves these days — start there. Then move on to the next most important piece.

How do you decide what’s important? The oversimplified answer: what’s most important to your customers? How are they finding you? Where are they not finding you that they should be? What does their buyer’s journey look like, and where are the leaks in that funnel where you’re losing them?

Those questions aren’t necessarily easy, but the answers will give you a good roadmap for prioritizing your marketing technology investments.

As surely someone will note in the comments, it’s not about the technology. All this software is simply a means to an end. What matters is delivering amazing experiences that attract and retain happy customers, from their very first touchpoint with your company onward. More often than not, the bottleneck in achieving that is not the technology.

Finally, one of the best ways to tame this wild garden is to invest in a good landscaper. In other words, hire or nurture your own marketing technologists. You want people on your team who are comfortable digging into these technologies, evaluating, configuring, and orchestrating them — but who do so through the lens of enabling brilliant marketing (not just geeking out on the tech for its own sake).

In the spirit of full disclosure, I included my company, ion interactive, in this landscape, in the Testing & Optimization and Marketing Apps categories. However, since my company’s logo accounts for only 1/1,000th of the ink on this page, surrounded by the logo of every competitor I’ve ever heard of, I hope that will acquit me of any charges of blatant promotionalism.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Analytics & Marketing Column | Channel: Analytics | Marketing Tools


About The Author: is the president and CTO of ion interactive, a leading provider of landing page management and conversion optimization software. He also writes a blog on marketing technology, Chief Marketing Technologist. Follow him on twitter via @chiefmartec.

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    Cool insight served-up with a side of humor. Great read Scott, thanks!

  • Scott Brinker

    Thanks. We all have our own El Guapo somewhere in our marketing stack.

  • Stewart Rogers

    Thanks for including Salesformics in the latest edition Scott – very much appreciated.

    Would love to show you the product in case it changes your mind as to whether it belongs in the CRM or Marketing Automation category (or both!); let me know and we’ll set something up.

  • Scott Brinker

    Thanks, Stewart.

    Yes, that was a tough call on a number of products. I usually chose one category or another just for space reasons, but in products like yours, I could see it going either way. If I can find a space solution, I’d add you to both (perhaps some overlapping section?).

    If you had to pick just one though, which would it be? Or would it be a different label entirely?

  • Stewart Rogers

    It’s always a tough call with multi-function software, isn’t it Scott?

    There aren’t many marketing automation solutions that include a full CRM; many I’ve seen are stand-alone and link to a CRM. Are there enough of these solutions to warrant a new category? Not sure at this point…

    Even I’d be hard pushed to pick either CRM or Marketing Automation for Salesformics, if pressed, since both categories are equally present in the product! What a conundrum…

  • Scott Brinker

    Aye. In fact, I do feel a bit sheepish about the use of black-and-white categories in general. Some of the most interesting innovation in this space is happening across the boundaries of traditional labels. It’s just a “failure of visualization” on my part to represent that at scale. Maybe if I move to Colorado, I’d have better luck.

  • Akin Tosyali

    Missing Exact Target from email, Adobe from Search, and Merkle from CRM.

  • Scott Brinker

    Hi, Akin. Thanks for the feedback! I’m afraid this was a visualization fail on my part. My intention was that vendors listed in the platform layer would be implied has having capabilities in the more specific categories above that layer. I’ll need to work on something better for that for the next version. Thanks for the heads up on Merkle’s CRM platform too.


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