Marketers expect slight cut to martech budgets, but new platforms still the focus

With the global coronavirus pandemic still wreaking having on businesses large and small, marketing teams are preparing for a fiscal 2021 with smaller budgets.

But based on our Forecast 2021 survey of nearly 100 marketing professionals, martech is not expected to take nearly as big a hit as other areas.

According to our survey, 55% of respondents expect their advertising and campaign budgets to take the biggest hit for 2021, compared to martech spend (18%) and personnel (16%). 

The findings align with Gartner’s recently released 2020 CMO Spend survey, in which 24% of respondents said martech spending would still be a priority in 2021 despite the upheaval.

Following the martech money

Our survey found 60% of respondents said the majority of their martech budget will be spent on new platforms and solutions, and 26% said that investment would be on new virtual events solutions. 

The events piece is not surprising. Our own Events Participation Index found marketers see a slim-to-none chance of being able to attend or hold in-person events through the first half of 2021.

With 41% of respondents saying they will sponsor and/or produce virtual events to replace in-person events in 2021, it’s also not surprising to see the focus on investing in events platforms. However, 40% of respondents will be redirecting their budget to digital marketing rather than producing virtual events.

That 60% said the focus will be on new platforms and solutions suggests the trend we outlined last year with our Martech Replacement Survey has not abated despite the upheaval. In that report, we found half of marketers were replacing home-grown solutions with new technology.

But with budgets tighter overall, it could also suggest that marketers may be shopping around for new technology that is less expensive for their organizations.

More modelers 

We saw 60% of respondents stated the focus of the majority of their personnel spending will be in digital marketing, compared to 22% that said the focus will be on marketing operations. But 11% said data scientists and analytics personnel. 

That too is being seen in other reports. Gartner found 24% of CMOs said they expect data management functions to grow within marketing operations teams in the next year.

Related: Marketing data and analytics were always important, but now more than ever

We’ve already seen the modeler archetype evolve as a key marketing technologist persona, especially in larger, enterprise environments. These roles, typically dubbed data scientists, marketing analysts or data engineers, bring more academic savvy to extracting insights from complex and often large data sources.

Still an uphill battle

For marketing technologists who day-to-day drive marketing campaigns and processes by leveraging martech to get the job done, the benefits of martech are already proven. But 60% of respondents admit they still have to prove martech ROI to their organization and 13% said martech is just looked at as a cost center. Only a quarter of respondents said their executive team knows martech is mission-critical to marketing success.

We’ve still got work to do.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.

About The Author

Rodric J. Bradford is the Editor of MarTech Today and has worked in the marketing technology industry as both a journalist and corporate project manager. Prior to joining MarTech Today Bradford served as Convention and Technology Beat Reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Business Press publication and worked as Technology Reporter for Global Gaming Business, the world’s largest casino publication. In the corporate world Bradford has served as Technology Project Manager for CNA, Cigna, General Dynamics and Philip Morris. Bradford is an alumnus of the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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