A Gartner survey of 405 marketing leaders conducted in May and June 2023 revealed the utilization of their organization’s overall martech stack’s capability dropped to just 33% on average in 2023, marking a second consecutive year of decline (42% in 2022 and 58% in 2020).
“CMOs recognize both the promise and challenges of generative AI,” said Benjamin Bloom, VP Analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “There’s a clear tension between investing more in the current tech stack to drive utilization, or reallocating their finite resources towards the coming crop of generative AI applications that may not suffer from the same utilization problems.”
Gartner’s 2023 CMO Spend and Strategy Survey found that organizations are spending 25.4% of their 2023 marketing budget on technology. With the sharp decline of martech utilization, cost optimization pressure will be unavoidable upon recognition that marketers use only a third of technology capabilities that consume a quarter of their entire budget.
By contrast, for the few organizations that use more than 50% of their martech stack, they are significantly less likely to report being asked to cut their martech budget.
Increasing an organization’s martech utilization is difficult: Just 11% of respondents reported increasing their utilization of marketing technology by more than 10% in 2023, compared to 12 months ago. Complexity of the current ecosystem, customer data challenges and inflexible governance were identified by survey respondents as the most common impediments to greater utilization of their martech stack (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Impediments to Increased Marketing Technology Utilization (Percentage of Respondents)
“CMOs should press martech teams to find opportunities to simplify so the rest of the function can flourish. Cutting underused technology within the current stack can also preserve some ‘dry powder’ for transformative applications that aren’t yet generally available.”