The B2B MarTech Stack: What is the Current State? (Part I)

Manav Shah

21 July 2022
#Marketing #Tech Trends

At Together, we have been passionate about Marketing Technology ever since we started investing. MarTech is one of the primitive sectors of SaaS, with one of the largest TAMs and yet the one that is ripe for maximum disruption.

In this multi-series blog, we will be looking at the past, the present, and the future of MarTech and look at it from the lens of a CMO. More than ever, we believe that GTM functions and the tools they use will be re-imagined.

The next generation of MarTech tools will look beyond just digitization and automation and dive more into the prescriptive/ predictive stratos. Enabling both the CMOs and their functions to deliver in this generation of modern marketing software.

One interesting fact about marketing is –40 cents of every dollar raised is spent on Google, Amazon & Facebook. A majority of those 40 cents is spent on marketing, and the reason for that is Wanamaker’s dilemma — “Half the money spent on advertising is wasted; the problem is marketers don’t know which half.”

It’s time we understand in-depth this beautiful yet complicated sector of SaaS.

First, what is MarTech?

The simplest definition I could think of MarTech goes as follows: “A range of software and tools that assist in achieving marketing goals or objectives.”

Scott Brinker has spent years and hours putting together this market map (which IMO at this point, serves only one purpose: shows how complicated & broad MarTech is)

So we at Together have put together a more comprehensible landscape of tools that modern marketer uses:

Note this by no means an exhaustive landscape, but does give you a broader visibility into the landscape.

The past of MarTech?
The story of MarTech, and how we know it starts with the onset of the first form of digital communication. Email.

Mailchimp came to exist in 2001.

That was the v1 of MarTech.

But the major revolution and the large-scale-hyperbolic-growth came to this category only post the setup of two giants, two giants that we have spoken of before, Google & Facebook.

Search & Social Media is probably the single most significant catalyst to have propelled this space to what it is today. A space that spends >$700 billion on advertising a year. Yes. Seven Hundred Billion Dollars.

Enough money for Elon to buy Twitter 15 times over (If that is happening :p)

Enough money to pay $100 to every living human being.

It was with the Marketo & Hubspots of the world coming to exist in 2006 that gave MarTech the modern outlook that we know of it today.

Since then, we have seen this space grow to over 10000 startups (don’t quote me on it, quote the legendary Scott Brinker)

What does a modern Marketing Team do?
There are multiple ways to split this pie, but the one that has been the most effective for me is:

This was my first stab at understanding this vast category

Step 1: Bring in the data

Step 2: Store the data

Step 3: Go use that data to bring in customers

And then finally, analyze it all

Another additional thing that came about while I was doing my research for this blog was that marketing teams across companies and geographies tend to be very diverse — both in their responsibilities and their tech stack.

Hence generalizing this is slightly procrustean, and thus would not want to go further down that path.

Next, what’s next for the world of Marketing?
The onset & growing importance of 1st party data, CDPs & a data-driven world

Data continues to be one of the most critical pieces in the marketing tech stack. By most estimates, organizations across the world depend on 4–5 different sources of data across first party, third party, and other sources to successfully run effective marketing campaigns.

Over the last few years, with the growing importance of privacy and the ongoing implications of a cookie-less world, the marketing teams need to adjust. Adjust by reducing their dependence on 3rd party data and build for a more captive first-party data.

Knowing your customer is critical, but having the maximum amount of attributes mapped to each of your customers decides your marketing campaign’s success/ failure; this is where the modern CDPs come in.

The sheer ability to set triggers create segments, and run campaigns in a jiffy will make sure that this space grows exponentially in the next few years.

Marketing adapting to the changing GTM atmosphere — PLG, DevRel, Community-led-growth, inverted funnel marketing, and more

Global B2B marketing motions are changing. And changing fast.

Traditional marketing teams focused primarily on catering/ serving to the Sales function. Generating MQLs for their SQLs.

But the world has evolved.

Marketing teams are now single-handedly responsible for generating pipelines and contributing to active product adoption and usage.

The users of B2B products have now become the buyers, resulting in GTM motions like PLG, Developer-led Marketing, and even community-led growth. Tools that’ll help marketing do so will become more critical than ever.

(We have invested in Toplyne & RevenueHero)

Intelligent, Personalized, and Prescriptive marketing

In spite of resisting the urge not to use the phrase “AI/ML,” here we go. Advancements in both the sheer ability and the ease of data & data models have opened a new repertoire of tools for a modern marketer.

Tools that can leverage data to basically run more effective campaigns.

That maybe via personalization, GPT-powered content, and so much more. Here are some trends that I see being impacted via the advancements & democratization of AI/ML in MarTech.

Hyper-peronalized website — Mutiny
GPT-powered content —
Intelligent ABMs — 6Sense
Data-driven Magic — Madkudu
AI for Marketing — Pixis
The growing importance of Attribution & Marketing Analytics

We all know that global marketing spending has skyrocketed — $ 700B by some estimates.

Yet most marketers have none to zero real-time visibility on the performance of their campaigns.

Companies have accepted that marketing as a function can be random and sporadic, but that should not be the case. Gartner suggests that over 60–70% of marketing leaders are unsatisfied with their Marketing Analytics, which is understandable because none of the offerings today are solving the problem at the foundation.

Solutions today are primarily some form of a meager combination of Descriptive & Diagnostic solutions. The future will have companies take this one step further & deeper by aiming to create a full-fledged analytics solution that offers predictive & prescriptive capabilities to marketers — helping CMOs build a solid trustable pipeline generator for their organizations.

In the next part of this series, we will look at some of these trends at a more granular level and dive into the yet unsolved problems in the world of marketing tooling. So stay tuned in.

If you’re building a disruptive company addressing the marketing stack and our perspective above resonates, we would love to hear from you.

– Manav Shah