TMW #176 | TMW 100 is back for round 2

May 26, 2024

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TMW 100 is back for round 2

In a sea of confusion, mistrust, and massive growth, it’s time to rethink Martech research (again)

In this free end-of-month edition of TMW, we dive into TMW 100, which is back for round two! Enjoy! 

Around this time last year, on a whim, I launched TMW 100. With nothing but a fistful of memes and a desire to answer a single question, I went to market with an entirely new take on awards and recognition in tech. 

The question was this: Who is actually innovating in Martech? 

I was playing with my kids one Sunday afternoon and I thought to myself, why not create a recognition program to answer this question? It was just a spur-of-the-moment idea. Over time, the vision evolved into creating the “Pulitzer Prize for Martech:”

“People have always done these kinds of awards events stretching back for thousands of years – it’s part of the very fabric of society. If thousands of years of history involving large-scale competitions and awards events across almost every conceivable category of human thought and ability can teach us anything, it’s this: Reputation matters. I genuinely believe that those with the best reputations earn it – they don’t pay for it – and are the ones to create category-defining, long-lasting, and valuable companies. You can buy attention with ads, but you can only earn reputation.”

Well this year, we’re back, baby. Entries have opened for the TMW 100

In this essay, I will talk about why we’re coming back, what we’ve learned, and what’s new in TMW 100 for 2024. Let’s jump into the ring. 🥊

Why we’re coming back 

The theme for TMW 100 in 2024 is fighting for your right to innovate. I know how hard it is to build a marketing technology startup. The      past 12 months have      felt like a fight for survival, but it’s even harder to continue to bring new features to market into an economy that is unfavorable to software. 

But despite the setbacks, according to Chiefmartec and Martech Tribe’s recent research, the Martech landscape has grown by about 3,068 companies in the past twelve months. And even more than that, the year-on-year growth rate of marketing technologies has seen a 6 year high! 

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To represent this we even made a promotional video! As you can see, there’s a bit of a theme emerging. Please clap. But slowly…. 

As I mentioned in 5 Lessons from Martech Day 2024, there’s a real sense here that the digital economy has corrected out of COVID-19 and we’re heading into another season of growth in tech. 

And yet as the Martech industry continues to diversify, it seems as though the way we recognize the breakthrough innovators is still stuck in 1990. An opaque marketing and advertising technology research industry that is paid for by Amazon gift cards, a black box of “expert analysts,” and superficial “insights” that we all know are just re-runs of press releases. 

This stuff hasn’t changed in years, and yet most marketing technologists rely on it because there’s very little challenging the status quo. 

The visceral reaction to our coverage of Gartner Magic Quadrant for CDPs earlier this year underscored this reality. People are increasingly mistrustful of how the biggest research firms are evaluating marketing technologies. 

So much so that someone even sent me this chart that conveys the sentiment in the industry of the role the Magic Quadrant or the Forrester Wave has to play in technology analysis. 

TMW 100 aims to truly level the playing field where companies as large as AWS can compete with the likes of CustomerLabs, a bootstrapped CDP out of Chennai, India, and have CustomerLabs come out on top! As we have been saying from the start:  

TMW 100 exists as a way to give Martech analysis back to the communities and companies that are building and using innovation. We want to see the future of Martech, and that means seeing where our international panel of judges agrees with the general community of voters. 

What we learned from 2023

So, what did we take from our inaugural year? Here’s a big list of all the things we learned in no particular order: 

#1 There is a huge appetite for understanding Martech innovation. Over 6,500 voters joined us to cast their votes. We want to know what’s happening next and who’s building it. Although you can see the trend cycles in this industry as a constant, people really want to see what’s around the corner to future-proof their own careers and companies. 

#2 Awards programs can be huge drivers of growth. One startup that chose not to be named revealed to us that they drove more than $400k of opportunity from just participating in TMW 100 last year. They didn’t rank particularly well, but the boost in visibility from voters and the TMW community has led to a complete company transformation. 

Our third-place winner ReBid did have some great outcomes to share as part of the program, as Kush Loothra, the VP of Enterprise Sales and Growth suggests: 

“Since receiving our TMW100 award, we've achieved remarkable client growth across multiple sectors including BFSI, Travel, Auto, Retail, and QSRs… These results validate our model's alignment with the future demands of accountability in Martech, proving that our solution which brings in a trifecta of Platform + People + AI not only meets but exceeds industry expectations for delivering tangible business results.” 

#3 For some companies TMW 100 was a hugely significant marker of success. CustomerLabs, our first-place overall winner, is a great example. To have CustomerLabs CEO Vishnu Vankayala present in the United States for the first time was a huge milestone for him and his company, as he says that “TMW 100 is first of its kind awards where I felt it was really worth winning as everything was fair and transparent right from choosing the top 100, and ranking them.”

You can always buy followers, but the key thing is that reputation really matters in enterprise technology, where we all know that the way to get deals done is through relationships. Having thousands of people vote for your company certainly helps with that! 

It’s the unique combination of people’s choice and Judge’s evaluation that makes this program really stand out from others, where you can hear from experts and the folks who are buying and using the technology. As Desygner CEO Remi Morault suggests: 

“Finishing in second position in the voting and being the only top 3 finisher to receive the judge's pick has been immensely gratifying. This recognition has not only brought additional credibility to our solution but has also validated the hard work our team has put in. The judge’s endorsement, combined with voter support, speaks volumes about the impact and potential of Desygner.”

#4 The underdogs can outcompete the giants. What totally surprised me about the quotes from the Top 3 was that they are all companies you’ve probably never heard of before, and two of them are bootstrapped companies with no outside funding. In the TMW 100 we had some of the most well-known companies along with the largest companies on the planet – such as Amazon – compete. When it comes to innovation, size doesn’t matter, as you can see from our global rankings list from 2023.

#5 Categories really matter. One of the biggest pieces of feedback we received was why we didn’t run the awards in different categories such as Customer Experience Management or Data & Analytics. The main reason was to have one clear winner, but this year we’re bringing in an award for each category, as the audience and nominees would clearly benefit from seeing who’s innovating compared to their peers! 

So we’re back, we’ve learned a ton, and we’ve made a bunch of upgrades after talking to our valued voters, participants, and TMW subscribers. 

What’s changing 

Firstly, I would love to introduce you to Laura McCann, our newest team member for TMW! She will be coordinating our program this year as our Awards and Recognition Program Manager for TMW 100.

Professionally, Laura has worked with some of the biggest brands both in Australia and globally, and her journey of publisher, agency, client side, and tech partner has landed her now here at TMW.

Personally, she is really passionate about data and technology and is one of those so-called "digital natives." When she's not working you'll find her playing video games (online competitive & old school Nintendo), consuming media (music, movies & TV shows), doing arts and crafts or saying hello to every dog she comes across in the street. Really she is just a big nerd (her words, not mine) and that’s why she’s perfect for TMW 100! 

Here's what she had to say about joining TMW: 

"I'm really thrilled to be part of the team at The Martech Weekly and I am looking forward to leading TMW100 awards to success in 2024 and beyond." 

You’ll be hearing more from Laura as she ramps up! It’s really exciting to have Laura on board as the TMW 100 awards program grows. We’ve already had more than double our registrations this year… before even launching! 

We’ve also changed the process for voting this year. This year, there is no cap on companies that can enter into the People’s Choice vote. That means any company that applies will get a shot at competing! 

We’ve introduced a category leader award for each of the first-ranking companies in one of our seven major categories. This is a newly added award presented live on stage and live-streamed to the world. We wanted to give more context to who’s innovating against their peers along with the global TMW 100. And we could not be more excited to announce the winners! 

We’re also running the Judge’s Pick alongside the People’s Choice voting period at the same time, which means that we’ll announce the winners live from the Martech World Forum in London in November. We’re going to keep you in suspense all year. Sorry, not sorry. 

On Judges votes. Last year, the Judges picked their Top 3 from a randomly allocated sample of our entrants. Each Top 3 each Judge received 25 extra votes, and each Judge meticulously followed our criteria for their Top 3 selections. This year, if you’re one of the lucky few who get this honor, your total votes will double in the final count! 

Speaking of judges, we have assembled some of the leading authorities in Martech to lead our judging this year from around the world! 

Welcoming back returning Judges from 2023: 

Scott Brinker: Editor of Chiefmartec and mastermind behind the Martech landscape supergraphic representing the United States! 

Frans Riemersma: Founder of Martech Tribe and co-creator with Scott Brinker on the annual #MartechDay research representing the Netherlands! 

Kerstin Clessienne: Managing Director, MarketingTechLab GmbH, representing Germany! 

Apoorv Durga: Vice President, Research and Advisory, Real Story Group representing India! 

Fiona Ngaruro: E-commerce & Growth Marketing Consultant representing Kenya! 

And welcome to the new incoming Judges for 2024! 

Jonathan Sherry: Founder and CEO, Alium and co-founder of CB Insights representing the United States! 

Anna Ambrozevich: MarTech Expert, and Women in Tech Director representing Uzbekistan! 

Dr. Dinh Le Dat: Co-founder of Antsomi, CDP Institute SEA and Vietnam MarTech representing Vietnam! 

Vincent Koc: Lecturer & Futurist at MIT & TEAX UNI representing Australia! 

Please welcome all the amazing judges who will be evaluating Martech, lending their expertise to deciding the industry innovators, and working with us to advance the cause of Martech innovation globally! 

But wait, there’s more! 

Have I mentioned that the prizes have amped up? We have more than USD $50k in prizes for 2024’s program plus a bunch of other goodies! 

This year, all of our 2023 nominees were welcomed to showcase their innovations at one of three Martech World Forum locations. This will apply to 2024 nominees in 2025, which means there’s even more opportunity for TMW 100 winners to get their innovations into the hands of some of the more senior leaders in the marketing technology domain. 

You can apply here with an early bird discounted rate of US$599. If you’re building awesome Martech and want people to know about it, we’d love to see you in TMW 100 in 2024. 🥊

Ok, so that’s the pitch over and done with! We’re so excited to be partnering with our amazing Judges and YOU to bring the world a better way to evaluate marketing technology innovation. 

You can read the TMW 100 report from last year and see all the winners and analysis here.

It’s time to get into the ring and show us what you got. Who’s going to reign supreme in 2024 as the world’s most innovative Martech? Let’s find out! 

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