TMW #174 | 5 lessons from Martech Day 2024

May 12, 2024

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5 lessons from Martech Day 2024

LLMs, impossible growth, extinct monoliths, boring composability, and refreshing Martech research. 

There’s something poetic to seeing Martech Day reveal that the industry has added another 3,068 companies to the marketing technology landscape this year, while Apple’s most awful ad ever - depicting a bunch of physical objects crushed into a single iPad - came out much to the public’s total criticism in the same week. 

According to Apple, in the physical world, everything is getting compressed into a single pane of metal and glass. The ad was condemned because of its on-the-nose treatment of physical instruments and artworks that are literally crushed by a giant industrial hydraulic press. 

Meanwhile, in the digital world, it’s quite literally the opposite. The marketing technology landscape has grown to more than 14,000 solutions. 


Not only that: In 2024, the year-on-year growth rate of newly discovered marketing technology has seen its largest increase since 2018. There have never been so many or varied applications that marketers can tap into. 

 

Martech Day has become the bellwether of the growth and expansion of the marketing technology industry. But more than that, it represents the creativity of people building products, apps, and weekend side projects all over the world. 

Created and hosted Scott Brinker, editor of Chiefmartec and VP of platform ecosystem at HubSpot, and Frans Riemersma, founder of Martech Tribe. It’s a great opportunity to pause and reflect on where we’re at and where we’re going. 

Apple may be right: There are more people than ever building new things in the digital realm than in the physical. So what are people building? In answer to that question, I have distilled the mammoth 104 page report, “The State of Martech 2024,” into six of the most relevant takeaways in this special edition of the TMW Sunday newsletter. 

Let’s get into it. 


#1 LLMs are changing our concept of marketing technology

Large Language Models hit the mainstream with OpenAI’s ChatGPT back in November 2022. Since then, we’ve witnessed roughly 18 months of the absolute explosion of Generative AI tools in all conceivable aspects of life and business. From AI girlfriends, to video and music generators, and numerous “chat with your database” applications, there’s no denying that GenAI has completely shifted our thinking about the role of software products in business. 

One data point that stood out to me was that 77% of discovered Martech tools in 2024 were AI-based applications. GPTs and Large Language Models are emerging as a new paradigm for what we mean by “software.”

We’ve had access to generalized tools that work across all business functions, and can drive a lot of specific value for marketing. The parallel 20 years ago was PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and by extension, Photoshop – generalized tools that marketers harnessed to drive creativity, operations, and growth.

Today, generative AI is another kind of generalized software with infinite specialized applications has the potential to disrupt the existing SaaS model. After all, isn’t all “Software as a Service” just a bundle of databases and APIs wrapped up in a GUI? 

What’s not so surprising is that in the report, the category with the most AI uptake is in content and experience. If you’re a marketer and you haven’t used ChatGPT to write some copy for you, are you really a marketer in 2024? Probably not. 

Beyond content, sales automation, video marketing, BI, data science, and chatbots are all ranking high as Martech that is embracing Generative AI. All of these areas make up just less than half of the content and experience category. 

But here’s the interesting bit: Outside of the official ranking, there’s a new domain emerging out of the OpenAI GPT marketplace. The report explains: 

“In January 2024, it was estimated that there were over 159,000 GPTs in OpenAI’s GPT Store. Out of those, we identified 3,135 that we considered to be martech focused — but didn’t qualify for being included in our martech landscape. In analyzing these non-qualifying — but nonetheless fascinating — GPTs, the vast majority (32.1%) provide content marketing capabilities. The next most popular categories include GPTs to assist with social media marketing (8.4%), SEO (7.6%), collaboration (6.5%), and product management (5.6%). […] You could argue that some of these are still just GPTs, albeit very lightly wrapped. But our criteria for the martech landscape has never been about how products were constructed, but simply that they were offered as products in the open market for marketers to adopt and use.” 

This is what these numbers look like on a chart: 


As you can see, marketing-focused custom models in the GPT store are a tiny, tiny sliver in the grand scheme of Generative AI tools. And there too, content comes out as the most popular category for their use. 

We’ve written at length about the changes coming to the industry. How it’s impacting agencies, consultancies, the broader information economy, social media, and data and analytics. And this data only proves the point: The varied and diverse experimentation with AI in marketing has moved beyond the four walls of packaged software. It’s 1985, and Microsoft Excel has come out all over again. But instead of general-use applications, what we have on our hands is general-use intelligence.


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Want to share something interesting or be featured in The Martech Weekly? Drop me a line at juan@themartechweekly.com.

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