Marketers now spend more on technology than on people

Business marketing meetingChief marketers are now spending a larger chunk of their budgets on marketing technology (martech) than on internal staff.

Martech accounted for 29 per cent of total marketing budget in 2018, compared to 22 per cent last year, according to a Gartner survey of 621 marketing executives in North America and the UK. This growth makes martech the largest area of investment for marketing resources and programs, while labour budgets fell from 28 per cent in 2017 to 24 per cent in 2018.

Despite this, Gartner doesn’t believe that this budget shift is necessarily a reflection of how automation is replacing humans within marketing.

“While many may be quick to relate this to the start of automation reducing human capital requirements, our analysis suggests this shift in marketing spend is a result of organisations dealing with capabilities, resources and talent in increasingly complex ways,” said Ewan McIntyre, senior research director at Gartner.

The top areas where chief marketing officers (CMOs) are investing their tech budgets were found to be email marketing, online content management, and digital analytics technology, while artificial intelligence could see an increase in investment to design marketing campaigns in the future – 14 per cent of marketing budgets now going toward personalisation.

Elsewhere, 23 per cent of budgets will be handed over to external agencies and paid media spend respectively this year, both falling from 25 per cent in 2017.

Meanwhile, one in every six marketing dollars is now spent on innovation-related initiatives, and 63 per cent of CMOs expect budget to increase in this area in 2019.