Marketers looking to improve their marketing effectiveness are increasingly doing so using automation. It’s marketing by the numbers—and it works.

According to eMarketer’s report “Marketing Technology 2017: Putting Customer Data at the Center,” more marketing technology equals better results, and marketers’ budgets reflect these priorities.

The report cites data from a variety of third-party sources, including 2016 research from Walker Sands Communications and Chief Marketing Technologist that shows marketers being increasingly comfortable with the amount of marketing technology they use. In 2015, the research found, only 9% of marketers strongly agree that they have invested in the “right amount of marketing technology.” In 2016, this rose to 24%. Of those who both agree and strongly agree, this has risen from 50% to 71%.

Likewise, October 2016 polling found that one-third of marketers surveyed allocated between 11% and 25% of their budgets to technology tools. This is expected to increase this year, with 70% indicating that their budget allocations for this purpose would rise. 

We see similar numbers from the DMA and Winterberry Group. The duo found that 44% of U.S. marketers saw “evaluating their current use of marketing technology” as a likely or significant priority in Q2 2106. However, respondents see “evaluating new and emerging marketing technology” as an even greater priority, with 52% giving this answer. 

Among the drivers of marketing automation? The recognition of the importance of social media and email marketing tools, CRM tools, and an increased emphasis on account-based marketing. 

But more than any of these is the desire to collect and utilize data. The need to manage customer expectations around a “unified multichannel brand experience” is driving invesment.

Obstacles to going further?  According to Walker Sands and CMT:



Internal resistance to change


Difficulty of implementation/integration


Lack of information


Lack of executive buy-in


However, in all of these cases, these obstacles were sharply lower than one year earlier. 

When companies are investing in marketing technology, what approach are they using? In general, the report found that best-of-breed marketing technology “stacks” are winning out over single-vendor solutions. Nearly half of those responding to the Walker Sands CMT poll reported using stacks (27%) compared to 21% using single-vendor solutions. 

While challenges in integrating various components of marketing technology stacks has been high, the report acknowledges, there are signs of improvement. It cites several recent studies showing integration among marketing automation, CRM, and other systems improving significantly.

Point? Marketing is increasingly by the numbers, and marketing budgets are being ruled by them, too. If you want to compete in the world of marketing solutions, you need to be playing by the numbers the way your customers are. You can’t let them lead while you trail behind. Furthermore, if print wants to be part of the discussion, it has to get on board. It can’t simply sit on the sidelines, hoping someone will ask it to play. Print has to be tracked, monitored, and measured the way digital channels are. It must be a force to be reckoned with, one that integrates into this omnichannel world and proves its value every bit as much as the digital channels do.