A New Visualization of Today‘s Marketing Technology Landscape

The marketing technology landscape has experienced explosive growth over the past decade. As of 2022, there are over 9,900 solutions on the market, compared to just 150 back in 2011. While this expanding ecosystem of tools offers marketers unprecedented opportunities to reach and engage customers, it also presents a major challenge: how do you identify the right solutions for your specific needs amidst all the noise and complexity?

This is the problem that inspired Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, former CMO at Mozilla, and Kobie Fuller, a partner at Accel, to create Growthverse in 2015. Growthverse is a free, interactive, online visualization of the marketing technology landscape – but with a twist. Rather than organizing solutions around technical categories, it puts the marketer‘s perspective front and center.

Solving Real Marketing Challenges

Previous attempts to catalog the marketing technology landscape, most notably Scott Brinker‘s iconic martech supergraphic, provide a comprehensive but dizzying view of the space. With thousands of vendor logos densely packed into a single slide, these visualizations are more useful for illustrating the rapid proliferation of the industry rather than helping marketers find the tools they need.

Growthverse takes a fundamentally different approach. "Scott [Brinker] has done an amazing job of building awareness for the martech landscape, but he‘s a technologist at heart," Kaykas-Wolff told me. "That model feels like you‘re presenting to an IT buyer. We wanted to build a tool for marketers, focused on the jobs they‘re trying to get done."

The result is a taxonomy organized around core marketing functions, from customer acquisition to retention to analytics and back-office tasks. Drilling down into each of these top-level categories reveals specific use cases like content creation, mobile advertising, marketing automation, and dozens more.

Growthverse Screenshot

This marketer-centric orientation was driven by Kaykas-Wolff and Fuller‘s frustrations with the limitations of existing resources. "As CMO, I was constantly getting asked for martech recommendations. But every situation was different based on company stage, budget, existing stack. I couldn‘t just point them to a giant landscape graphic and say ‘good luck.‘ We wanted to build something that actually helped marketers navigate to relevant solutions."

A Curated Perspective

Another defining feature of Growthverse is that it‘s not trying to be comprehensive. The platform includes around 600 selected vendors, in contrast to the nearly 10,000 logos on the latest martech supergraphic. This was a deliberate choice to present a curated view of established, proven solutions rather than an exhaustive index.

"We didn‘t want to overwhelm users with every possible vendor. The goal was to provide a trusted starting point for discovering options that could then be researched in more depth," said Fuller. "We spent hundreds of hours debating the categories and companies to include based on our experiences and interviews with other marketing leaders."

This selective approach does mean Growthverse doesn‘t include many of the newest entrants or more niche solutions. But the team believes this is a worthwhile tradeoff for a more manageable, focused resource. "Marketers don‘t need to know about every last tool out there, especially if they‘re early-stage or unproven," argued Kaykas-Wolff. "They need a curated set of options to kickstart their search, combined with other signals like user reviews, analyst reports, and peer recommendations."

The Need for an Update

Of course, the martech world hasn‘t stood still in the seven years since Growthverse launched. Scott Brinker‘s latest landscape includes over 3,500 new solutions that weren‘t present in 2020 alone. Established categories like marketing automation and CRM have consolidated around a few dominant players, while emerging ones like customer data platforms (CDPs) have gained mainstream adoption.

Some of the key trends and developments that an updated Growthverse could reflect:

  • Marketing AI: Artificial intelligence and machine learning have become essential technologies powering everything from content creation to media buying to predictive analytics. The original Growthverse includes a category for Marketing AI, but an expanded version could break this out into specific use cases like conversational chatbots, AI-generated content, propensity modeling, and more. According to Salesforce, 51% of marketers currently use AI, and an additional 27% plan to incorporate it within the next two years.

  • Sales and Marketing Convergence: Marketing and sales technology continue to converge as companies seek to provide connected customer experiences across the full buyer‘s journey. An updated taxonomy could highlight key sales enablement categories like conversational intelligence, sales content management, and revenue attribution. The global market for sales enablement platforms is expected to reach $7.3 billion by 2028, up from $1.7 billion in 2020.

  • Data Management: Customer data platforms (CDPs) have emerged as a key technology for unifying and activating customer data across systems. An expanded visualization could break out specific CDP use cases and integrations alongside related categories like data governance and privacy. The global CDP market is projected to reach $20.5 billion by 2027, growing at a 34% CAGR.

  • Workflow-Based Organization: While Growthverse is already oriented around marketing processes rather than technology categories, a new version could get even more granular in terms of specific workflows and tasks marketers are looking to accomplish. This could help users more quickly identify tools that support their day-to-day activities.

Recommendations for Growthverse 2.0

So what could an updated, expanded version of Growthverse look like? Here are a few ideas:

In-Depth Profiles

The current version of Growthverse provides a basic overview of each vendor, including a brief description, founding year, headquarters location, and links to their website and social profiles. To further aid in solution evaluation, Growthverse 2.0 could feature enhanced profiles with additional data points like:

  • Pricing model (self-service vs. enterprise)
  • Core features and capabilities
  • Typical customer profiles
  • Integrations with other key martech systems
  • Customer case studies and ROI stats

These expanded profiles would enable marketers to gather more information upfront before investing time to research vendors individually.

Verified Reviews

Authentic customer feedback is one of the most important factors in any martech purchase decision. An updated Growthverse could incorporate user reviews, either by pulling in data from third-party sites like G2 Crowd and TrustRadius or collecting reviews directly.

Importantly, these reviews should be verified (i.e. from actual customers rather than vendors themselves) and include both quantitative ratings and qualitative feedback. Highlighting customer ROI metrics, satisfaction scores, and verbatim comments would help marketers assess tools from the perspective of their peers.

According to a 2022 survey from TrustRadius, 100% of software buyers want to see reviews from verified users, but only around 65% of vendors provide them. Featuring authentic reviews would therefore be a major value-add for Growthverse users.

Martech Stack Insights

Another potential feature for an updated Growthverse would be the ability to view aggregate data on how different tools fit together within typical martech stacks. This could include:

  • Most commonly paired solutions (e.g. which CDPs are used most frequently with each marketing automation platform)
  • Stack breakdowns by company size, industry, and maturity level
  • Typical budget allocations across different categories

Providing this type of macro-level, data-driven insight would help marketers understand how their peers are constructing their martech stacks and identify potential gaps or opportunities in their own.

Educational Content

To make Growthverse an even more valuable resource for marketers, it could include supplementary educational content to help users make better-informed decisions. Some potential assets:

  • Category guides providing overviews of each martech category, key considerations for selection, and tips for implementation
  • Original research on martech adoption trends, budgets, and challenges
  • Vendor comparison reports
  • Customer case studies showcasing martech-powered marketing transformations

This content would provide an objective, vendor-agnostic perspective to guide marketers‘ discovery and evaluation process.

Helping Marketers Thrive in a Digital-First World

Marketing has become an increasingly technology-powered discipline over the past decade. Martech is now the single largest area of investment for marketing departments, outpacing media, services, and headcount at an average 26.2% of budget according to Gartner. The right marketing technology can be a significant competitive differentiator, enabling teams to work more efficiently, deliver more personalized experiences, and drive greater business impact.

Of course, realizing this potential requires choosing and implementing solutions that fit your organization‘s unique needs, and integrating them effectively to work as a cohesive stack. This is where a resource like Growthverse comes in. By making it easier for marketers to discover and evaluate tools aligned to their goals and challenges, it can serve as an essential starting point for building a high-performance martech stack.

An updated version of Growthverse reflecting the evolution of the martech ecosystem and expanding on its most valuable features could be an even more powerful tool for navigating the landscape. At a time when digital-first, data-driven marketing has become table stakes, marketers need all the help they can get cutting through the noise to identify the tools that will allow them to survive and thrive.