This Software Will Help You Answer Today’s Biggest Martech Questions

Read between the lines, and Gartner’s 2024 Tech Trends Survey suggests a great deal about the wider state of marketing today — and where to invest for martech success.

Not long ago, Gartner Digital Markets reached out to more than 3,400 people across nine countries. Of those individuals, 1,038 identified themselves as being in marketing or related industries. These weren’t just any marketers; everyone who had been approached was involved in software purchasing decisions in some capacity as part of their day to day. 

Gartner had got in touch with these people because it was running the 2024 Tech Trends Survey. This research, which included a vertical focused specifically on decision-makers in marketing, aimed to understand the “organizational challenges, technology adoption timelines and budget, vendor research behaviors, ROI expectations, and satisfaction levels for software buyers, and how they relate to experiencing regret after making a purchase”.

The insights that came back were interesting, but that’s not what fascinated me. More than anything else, I was struck by the picture they painted. Martech is such a pivotal aspect of how we attract and engage new customers today, and compared to recent years, 2023 has seen transformative leaps in what can be achieved. As the research reveals, this has led marketing leaders to feel all kinds of ways about the year ahead, particularly in regards to where they might need to invest to unlock centralised data strategies, deliver “care of one” standards, and enable effective lead generation campaigns that drive company growth.

It’s a lot to unpack, but that’s what we’re all here for. In this article, you won’t just examine martech insights: you’ll explore what they mean for the wider state of marketing today. And at the end, we’ll reveal the software solution you can depend on to offer a resolution.

 

Martech no longer a “nice to have”

One of the survey’s most revealing takeaways was the priority reportedly being given to investments in marketing software, second only to those projected for IT security.

Research by Performance Marketing World predicts marketing budget increases in 2024.  But where are these budgets going? There is more to a successful marketing campaign than technology, yet the emphasis being placed on — and the money being put behind — martech investment certainly suggests that its perceived value is high in the corporate food chain. For this to be the case, it has to be seen as being able to deliver, or at the very least influence in a significant way, the marketing results visible in the boardroom.

“The adoption of martech has become not only a choice, but a business necessity. Among all software buyers (not just marketers), marketing software is the second highest priority software investment for 2024 at 28%, behind only IT security (32%).”2024 Tech Trends in Marketing: Insights to Attract and Retain Software Buyers’, Gartner Digital Markets

Tellingly, the prioritisation of martech was reported by all software buyers, not just those working directly in marketing or related fields. This could reflect the wider organisation’s appetite for lead generation against a backdrop of economic uncertainty. Equally, it could describe a vision in which reduced teams are able to operate with greater productivity by leveraging technology with generative capabilities of the kind we have seen across 2023.

“Three in 4 US brand marketers say generative AI will help them achieve their customer experience goals because it will enable them to create personalized content,” Insider Intelligence reports, “per a March 2023 Sitecore survey.” Even predicted worldwide increases in brand marketing investment, measured on customer experience metrics, are being associated with technology investments to unlock new opportunities and tactics.

As the AI debate has gone on, this notion and the sentiments surrounding it have echoed over and over. To strike the right balance between people and technology and uphold their responsibilities, marketing leaders must continue to advocate for the pivotal role their people play in unlocking value from their software even as they explore generative AI’s applications for boosting productivity and driving decision-making — a fine tightrope, to be sure.

 

A growing interplay between people and platform

The need to upskill employees on technology was itself a top business challenge highlighted in the survey, superseded only by marketing’s primary directive to continue finding new customers for the business, suggesting that for many leaders in the space, the growing importance of the interplay between their people and their platforms is already front of mind.

“[T]he demand for a tech-savvy workforce is a growing concern. Over a third of marketing professionals find employee training and upskilling challenging, and 29% worry about finding qualified talent.” 2024 Tech Trends in Marketing: Insights to Attract and Retain Software Buyers’, Gartner Digital Markets

As the martech shaping our industry becomes ever more sophisticated, its relationship with the people required to unlock its value will deepen. Software that is accessible, easy to use, and with a short time to value will always stand out as being attractive, but this shouldn’t distract from the growing business need for platform experts capable of unlocking the deepest corners of the software for new capabilities, growth hacks, and other forms of ROI.

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The digital divide is widening

2023 has seen transformative leaps in what can be achieved through marketing software, and marketing leaders are championing investment, both in the technologies themselves and the training required to unlock them. But not everyone will be able to access it equally.

The survey’s findings about the cost of these technology solutions, specifically that it is exceeding expectations, suggests the gap could be growing between those organisations capable of investing heavily and those that can’t. When you consider this alongside Gartner’s reading that “the adoption of martech has become not only a choice, but a business necessity”, the question is raised of how some companies can hope to compete.

“Looking into the year ahead, marketers anticipate frustrating external challenges due economic headwinds and the rapidly changing working environment.” 2024 Tech Trends in Marketing: Insights to Attract and Retain Software Buyers’, Gartner Digital Markets

Digital divides take all kinds of forms but can be broadly broken down into accessibility, usability, and quality of use issues. In the context of a martech divide, you'll see organisations adopting new systems at great expense and upskilling teams on their use or working closely with technology partners to access new features, increase functionality, and improve decision making, while their competitors without the resources required to invest to the same degree flounder, incapable of competing due to a basic lack of functionality.

Subzero-party data, a lesser-known but must-have modern data type that “offers a look into consumers’ subconscious to reconcile the errors in information they self-report”, will be off-limits to organisations without the advanced systems and employee training in place to collect it, while cash-rich enterprises with greater budgets and more resilient finances can afford to invest in innovative new systems of the sort being described here by Forbes.

“Certain VR headsets are capable of eye tracking and reading facial expressions, which are types of biometrics [to uncover what people’s minds (versus mouths) tell us about their inherent responses to media, digital and product experiences]. As awareness and accessibility grow, subzero-party data will welcome more early adopters in 2024.” 2024 Will Challenge What We Think We Know—Literally’, Forbes

One of these organisations will be in a position to emphasise data-driven decision-making, for example, leveraging martech investments to access and interrogate vast amounts of data across the business. The other won’t, potentially putting them at a distinct disadvantage.

In this example, we are assuming that the software in question integrates with the organisation’s CRM and other systems in use to facilitate data sharing. The survey highlights that this is not always the case, with many buyers (36%) frustrated to discover post-implementation that their platform of choice does not in fact integrate. I would go so far as to say that in a world where martech is valued beside IT security, a solution’s inability to communicate with the organisation’s wider technology infrastructure can be crippling.  

“More than one in three (36%) marketing professionals regret a software investment because it was more expensive than they were led to believe or the technology was not compatible with their existing systems.” 2024 Tech Trends in Marketing: Insights to Attract and Retain Software Buyers’, Gartner Digital Markets

 

A picture emerges

Regret is running high. It’s unsurprising, given the value that survey respondents have placed on martech and the level of investment they are being afforded to get it right. 

Other factors identified as leading to regret from a product perspective include a “higher-than-expected cost of ownership” (33%) and “slow or difficult implementation” of the software itself (32%). Leaders need to be able to prove the ROI of their systems fast.

“Nearly a third of marketers expect ROI within 6 months.” 2024 Tech Trends in Marketing: Insights to Attract and Retain Software Buyers’, Gartner Digital Markets

Any one of these issues is enough to justify feeling less than satisfied. Together, alongside the growing perception of martech as “a business necessity”, they tell a story of organisations investing heavily into business-critical systems with cutting-edge capabilities in order to gain the competitive advantage. An arm’s race supported by the military training of teams on how to use the new technology to its fullest capabilities. Leaders with the cash to splash are preparing to double down on this advantage to maximise the benefits and grow in their market. For their part, leaders at smaller companies with more modest budgets could look to emerging solutions, innovative technologies, or vendors with platforms that support free tiers, moving quickly by embracing the agility their larger competitors often lack.

In either case, there is one vendor on the market with a solution capable of suppressing regret and delivering on all the points suggested by the respondents of Gartner’s survey. With a reputation as the number-one CRM for growing businesses, and software spanning every business function, it offers an all-in-one solution capable of meeting today’s demands for systems integration and data sharing, all while remaining accessible and easy to use.

 

The software you need to grow better in 2024

Against this backdrop, HubSpot Marketing Hub emerges as a standout solution for several reasons.

 

Martech to drive revenue, save time, and optimise your investments

HubSpot Marketing Hub offers a comprehensive suite of tools and functionalities designed to address various marketing needs, from lead generation all the way to customer engagement. 

Users can deliver a wide range of typical marketing activities, such as social media scheduling, blog writing, and launching email campaigns, while leveraging the latest functionality — for example generative AI capabilities — to improve the way they work.

Its comprehensive offering enables those involved in martech purchasing to simplify their stack and maximise their spend while providing their teams with software they can rely on to manage and optimise their campaigns effectively, streamline their operations, and enhance their ability to reach and engage with target audiences across multiple channels. 

 

A platform that is constantly evolving

HubSpot is known for its commitment to continuous improvement and innovation, which is evident in several aspects of its operations. It invests heavily in product development to enhance its existing offerings and introduce new features that address emerging market trends and customer needs, for which it regularly releases updates and upgrades to its software platforms, incorporating user feedback and market research to drive innovation.

HubSpot is also known for actively soliciting feedback from its user community through various channels, including user forums, surveys, and customer support interactions. This feedback is instrumental in shaping the direction of product development, ensuring that new features and enhancements align with customer expectations and requirements.

HubSpot's commitment to constant evolution reflects its dedication to empowering businesses with cutting-edge marketing, sales, and service solutions that drive growth, foster innovation, and deliver value to customers.

 

Accessible technology for users of any skill level

HubSpot prioritises user experience and usability across its platform. Its user-friendly interface, guided workflows, and robust support resources make it accessible to marketers of all skill levels, reducing the barrier to entry for adoption. Using its intuitive features, marketing teams can quickly leverage the platform to execute their strategies.

This ease of use extends into HubSpot's modularity. Whether it's adding new functionalities, integrating third-party apps (more on this below), or customising workflows, HubSpot's ecosystem offers the flexibility and scalability required to support growth and innovation.

Novices and power users alike can train on HubSpot’s Academy portal; an excellent resource for teams upskilling on the platform. The HbSpot Academy offers visitors free access to training on every aspect of Marketing Hub and the wider HubSpot ecosystem, so users of the platform can learn how to maximise the value they get out of it.

 

Data integration and sharing that bring insights to life

HubSpot collaborates with third-party developers, agencies, and service providers to extend the functionality of its platform and offer integrated solutions to customers. As a result, Marketing Hub excels in facilitating data integration and sharing. Its integrations ecosystem supports thousands of connections with other platforms and apps from Google Ads and HotJar to Typeform and so many more, so whichever third-party systems an organisation leverages across the business, its HubSpot will speak and interact with it.

By centralising an organisation’s customer data, HubSpot enables it to maintain a single source of truth for all interactions and engagements across the customer lifecycle. This unified customer view empowers teams to personalise interactions, track customer journeys, and nurture relationships more effectively, driving better outcomes and tangible ROI.

 

Solutions that were designed to work together

HubSpot's approach of building its suite of hubs, including Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, and CMS Hub, on top of its CRM platform distinguishes it from other solutions in the market. With its CRM serving as the foundation for its entire ecosystem of hubs, it ensures seamless communication and data sharing between different departments and functions within an organisation. This creates a unified platform where marketing, sales, and service teams can collaborate effectively to deliver a cohesive customer experience.


Unlike other popular marketing platforms, many of which have grown through acquisitions of various software products, Marketing Hub has been purpose-built to work natively alongside HubSpot’s other hubs, offering a more cohesive and unified experience for customers.

 

Unlock ROI and get eyes on it fast

With nearly a third of marketers expecting ROI within six months and software being a significant investment, marketing leaders may feel increased pressure to demonstrate tangible results from their technology. HubSpot's agile implementation process and customisable workflows allow businesses to start seeing returns on their investment sooner, helping them meet their ROI goals and deliver on growing expectations around performance and accountability more efficiently. Implementation can be delivered out of the box or tailored to an organisation’s requirements in record time, keeping the marketing wheels turning.

 

Tiers to suit all accessibility and affordability

Recognising the widening digital divide, HubSpot offers solutions that cater to businesses of all sizes and budgets. From free tiers to scalable pricing plans, HubSpot ensures accessibility and affordability without compromising on functionality or quality of use.

HubSpot Marketing Hub stands out as a leading martech solution that aligns with the priorities and challenges faced by marketing leaders today. Its comprehensive features, user-friendly interface, seamless data integration, fast ROI, and accessibility make it a preferred choice for businesses looking to leverage technology to drive marketing success in an increasingly competitive landscape.

 

How will you answer 2024’s biggest martech questions?

Not long ago, 1,038 people identified themselves to Gartner research as being in marketing or related industries. These weren’t just any marketers; everyone who had been approached was involved in software purchasing decisions in some capacity as part of their day to day. 

Theirs is a fast-paced story, and the stakes are high. Business performance and individual reputation are on the line as marketing leaders back one solution over others. It becomes almost impossible to discuss marketing at a remove from technology, and yet the discipline is still distinctly human, the firm domain of strategy, creativity, empathy, meaningful feeling, and the marketing teams behind all of this. 

“Overall, 2024 is the year that will challenge what we, as marketers and as consumers, think we know,” Forbes writes. The tightrope I referenced earlier is now a blurry line across which leaders must tread carefully, juggling all these things, if they want to succeed in their strategies. For those who make it to the other side, the opportunity is theirs to harness the power of technology and achieve their goals. HubSpot can help, but whatever the solution of choice, the prioritisation of martech underscores the critical role that it, and the people using it, play in driving the success of their organisations in the world as it stands today.

How would a demo of HubSpot Marketing Hub’s capabilities meet your expectations? We’re here to help — click below to book a guided tour around the platform today.

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