More and more marketing tools for marketers

Peter Desmyttere
July 2, 2023
⏱ 4 min. read

The number of marketing tools (IT tools or marketing technology) for marketers and marketing teams has exploded in recent years. Read in this article which tools exist and how they relate to office software such as Microsoft365.

The digitization of media consumption and communication have ensured that you as a marketer can - or should - keep more and more in your hands.

  • Draw up and send out a newsletter?
  • Complement the website with blog articles?
  • Create and optimize an advertising campaign?
  • Communicate directly with your ambassadors on social media?
  • Personalize the website to suit your visitor?

Check, check and double check.

Marketers have more than 8,000 tools at their disposal

Marketing needs to adapt faster to the market and take into account a more complex customer experience. Moreover, it is no longer about devising and launching temporary campaigns, but about developing long-term marketing processes that produce ever better results. You do this by setting up small-scale experiments and applying them on a broader scale in the event of success. In the manner of grandmother Growth Hacker.

Nice theory, but in practice a multitude of marketing initiatives and tools cause chaos or - in the worst case scenario - burnout. There is also a danger that you lose yourself in the execution and don't take the time for the global marketing strategy anymore.

The landscape of marketing technology solutions (often shortened to martec) has been documented for several years by Scott Brinker on the Chief Marketing Technologist Blog. His scheme is a touchstone for many marketers looking to improve their marketing processes and organization. In 2011 there were only 150 different solutions. The 2016 version already counted 3874. The new 2020 schedule maps out more than 8,000 different IT tools for marketers.

How does the IT department view the rise of marketing technology?

For some marketers, the diagram above looks like a candy store. Today, for every marketing technology challenge, there is a marketing tool available that promises to work faster and more efficiently. Almost all tools are based on a SAAS business model (Software As A Service) where they make the marketing tool available on a subscription basis. This means that the average marketing team quickly obtains a multitude of marketing technologies and that the budget for marketing software is skyrocketing. IT departments in larger companies have long held back the use of SAAS or cloud applications because they risk losing control over the use of IT tools in the company. In addition, IT departments are increasingly concerned about data privacy and security when marketers distribute their marketing data to a multitude of marketing tools. It used to be easier for the IT department: everyone in the company had to limit themselves to using the office software, e.g. Microsoft Office. No wonder Excel is just about the most widely used marketing tool in the world. Read this article about it.

Marketers in small companies often have more room to choose marketing tools, but their colleagues in larger companies are much more limited. Every choice for a new tool will then have to be approved by IT (who watches over data security) and legal (who watches over data privacy). Marketers in corporate or enterprise environments should therefore check whether the marketing tool has an extensive data privacy and security policy. Take a look at an example here.

Marketing tools versus Microsoft365 (Office365)

In more and more companies Microsoft365 has become the standard for office software. The IT department has therefore started a counter movement after a multitude of different IT tools for marketing have crept into the company in recent years. Marketers are often back to square one when they get the message that they need to centralize all their marketing planning tools in Microsoft365 which provides Excel, Teams or Sharepoint. Often follows a game of arm wrestling between marketing and IT to still be able to use another marketing tool. Often IT wins and task apps or marketing tools for project management have to be removed. Sometimes, however, this is not possible because office software simply does not offer a solution, e.g. for social media distribution or marketing calendar applications. In the best scenarios, the marketing tool is integrated with the office software. Then both IT and marketing get their shot at home.

What does the future bring in terms of marketing tools and marketing technology?

Take a look at the evolution of the number of marketing tools on the schedule above. It's impossible to ignore it: the number of tools is exploding. On the one hand, thousands of start-ups and scale-ups are developing marketing tools, each of which wants to solve part of the problem within marketing organisations. On the other hand, there are companies like Adobe that are expanding their marketing suite faster and faster with marketing technology tools they acquire through acquisitions. Or think of global players such as Atlassian, who bring a bundle of commonly used collaboration tools (e.g. Trello) to the market. They also target the marketer and marketing teams as potential clients. Finally, global office software players such as Microsoft365, GoogleSuite, SalesForce or SAP will in the future offer apps and integrations that make marketers work more efficiently.

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