Martech & agency spending is down while in-house is expanding. Why?

A recent survey by Gartner into CMO spending [1] has shown that businesses are increasing in-house hiring and reducing Martech and agency spend. So what is behind the shift in priorities?

Certainly, in recent years, greater proportions of marketing budgets have been allocated to marketing technology. However, martech investment is suddenly down by a notable 10%. At the same time, spend on external agency resource has also reduced for the fourth year in a row.

The reduction in investment in martech may not be a bad thing. Arguably, many brands may now have the tech that they need to service their current campaigns and are unwilling to invest in new software and systems until their current resources have reached a point where a replacement can be justified.

Gartner analysis has found that marketing directors still believe that martech is a vital enabler to achieving customer growth and engagement. However, only 61% of the functionality that these businesses have is currently being used. Another challenge to the full deployment of this technology is the in-house resource and specialist skillsets needed to fully deploy it.

This explains in part why in-house hiring is on the rise again. Agency allocation of the marketing budget is decreasing whilst the spend on internal talent continues to grow. The change is only small at present, but it highlights an interesting new trend. Once again, marketing teams are keen to develop their own in-house strategic capabilities, rather than looking to outsource commodity marketing activities to agencies.

These same marketing departments are, in effect, experiencing a pivot that brings the talent that they need back in-house for full deployment rather than simply buying it in from outside. Those that do are also seeking to further develop skill sets internally with further training investment in order to boost their strategic marketing potential and to leverage that investment insofar as possible.

Despite ongoing uncertainties with the economic forecast and Brexit, CMOs are reporting a positive outlook. Marketing decision-makers believe that growth in their field is likely, despite a series of market uncertainties in the coming year. When asked how they viewed the impact of business and economic challenges in the next 18 months to 2 years, 88% of survey respondents at the CMO level believed that the impacts would ultimately be positive. A full 53% saw these impacts as being ‘strong’.

Why does this matter? Because last year, the same spend survey suggested that martech investment would rise this year but the actual results have been different. The decrease in investment means that there are opportunities for marketing professionals who are already using in-house martech. Those who can further develop their skills and abilities with these technologies are likely to be heavily in demand. They may be vital in enabling firms to maximise the value that they can derive from current technologies which have not yet been fully leveraged.

Internal marketing operations are now the focus and CMOs want tech-enabled marketing talent with solid backgrounds in big data, AI, digital transformation and related fields. Those that can demonstrate a track record in these disciplines will find themselves in demand and able to call the shots when it comes to salaries and roles.

[1] https://martechtoday.com/gartner-cmo-spend-survey-martech-and-agency-spending-down-in-house-resources-rise-236305

 

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