30-second summary:

  • The new Gartner survey on martech finds that this year’s average assessment of martech stacks’ effectiveness is about the same as last year – but both assessments indicate effectiveness has a ways to go.
  • The biggest impediments to effectiveness: training, tech integration and talent recruiting.
  • IT and marketing departments are now often working well together – helping to make tech integration less of an issue for “best-of-breed” solutions.

Marketers are only utilizing 58 percent of their marketing tech stack’s potential.

So says the new “Marketing Technology Survey 2019” (available for clients only) from research firm Gartner, which queried 418 marketing leaders. This year’s effectiveness rate has remained nearly the same as in last year’s report, where the respondents reported using an average of 61 percent of their stack’s capabilities.

The martech stack, in Gartner’s definition, is the “set of integrated technologies, techniques and information that enables marketing to create new products and services,” as well as to target customers, enter new markets, and engage in conversations with influencers and buyers.

“The answer isn’t necessarily more technology,” said Gartner senior director analyst Benjamin Bloom in a statement. Instead, he said, better utilization is about agility and an increased emphasis on training, talent and system integration.

Training, integration, talent

Gartner found that 29 percent of marketing leaders believe personnel training is a major impediment to increasing the effectiveness of their stacks. Another 27 percent say either integration between technologies or recruiting talent is the biggest obstacle.

Integration could have been complicated by the fact that 57 percent of marketers prefer to build their stacks through “best of breed” single-point solutions, instead of the integrated suite approach favored by 29 percent.

But, as it turns out, somewhat more marketers in North America and the UK who prefer best-of-breed – (Read more...) percent – report a higher utilization of their stack than those who adopted integrated suites (53 percent).

One possible reason: best-of-breed solutions are chosen for specific needs, and a close collaboration with an organization’s IT department can address integration issues. But integrated suites often include capabilities that are not needed by the organization, even though they are part of the package.

Gartner found that the “often chilly relationship” between marketing and IT teams is now often warmer than it has been in many organizations in the past. Fifty-three percent of marketing respondents said collaboration with IT was “no impediment,” and only 16 percent cited it as a major issue.

Roadmaps and agile planning

The most effective marketing departments now have formal martech roadmaps or agile planning, the report said. This planning and rapid response is helping to increase martech effectiveness – and could be a factor behind better relationships with IT.


Fifty-five percent of respondents report they either have a formal martech roapmap or utilize agile planning. Gartner said this group shows a much higher level of effectiveness in their martech stack, compared to those who follow an ad hoc or “best effort” approach.

But the roadmaps depict fairly short trips. Because marketers know that tech and consumer behavior is in flux, the report said, plans are generally not too far into the future. Of those respondents who maintain a martech roadmap, 78 percent say the roadmaps don’t extend past 18 months, and 65 percent say they update their maps quarterly.

Although marketers are heavily investing in such solutions as those offering customer personalization, Gartner found that they are generally underinvested in such tools as preference management and consent management, two areas highlighted by more sophisticated personalization and more stringent privacy regulations.

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