There’s no shortage of marketing technology solutions.

Scott Brinker confirmed that — again — today with the latest release of his Marketing Technology Landscape supergraphic.

There are 5,381 MarTech solutions from 4,891 companies on his startling visual representation this year. That’s up from 3,874 solutions from about 3,500 companies last year.

Scott Brinker's 2017 MarTech Landscape

2017 MarTech Landscape Photo by Kayla Merritt

MarTech Conference Highlight

Brinker is co-founder and CTO of ion interactive and editor of chiefmartec.com. He’s also chair of MarTech: The Marketing Tech Conference, which runs through tomorrow at the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco. ARKE is there (in booth 701, precisely), along with about 2,500 marketing and IT executives and managers.

Brinker’s reveal of his massive graphic is a highlight of the morning keynote. This year, Anand Thaker, CEO of Atlanta-based IntelliPhi, joined him on stage.

Thaker, a former senior director of strategy and innovation at ARKE, collaborated with Brinker on the 2017 graphic. Brinker credited Thaker for bringing a “much more systematic approach” to the process of visualizing thousands of marketing technology companies.

More Vendors, More MarTech Solutions

Brinker now jokingly calls the graphic the “MarTech 5000” — a name likely to send shudders down the spines of marketers tasked with making sense of all that technology.

Think about it: The number of marketing technology vendors increased about 40 percent year-over-year.

Even more dramatically, they jumped 3,161 percent from 2011, the year Brinker introduced his now highly cited, much-anticipated graphic. Back then, there were only 150 companies on the chart, which Brinker said evolved from a rudimentary “hot mess of a graphic.”

So. Many. MarTech Solutions.

Stuffed to the brink with the logos of companies involved in everything from sales automation, enablement and intelligence to social media and content marketing, the graphic is visually and intellectually dizzying.

And let this sink in for a moment: The graphic only includes what Brinker describes as a “representative sample.” There are likely hundreds more, he concedes.

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All that is enough to elicit a collective sigh from marketers far and wide.

Start With Strategy

ARKE specializes in implementations of MarTech solutions.

ARKE is a brand experience consultancy specializing in strategic implementations of MarTech solutions.

Chris Spears, Chief Marketing Technology Officer at ARKE, understands the pressure all that technology can place on marketers. It often triggers shiny object syndrome (SOS) — a tendency to lose focus and become distracted by every new technology.

He said that’s risky because technology is the last item marketers should consider. To optimize technology and get the most from tech investments, it has to align with a well-reasoned brand experience strategy, he said.

Once the strategy is in place, marketers should make a holistic assessment of journeys and channels. Then and only then, should they consider marketing technologies.

Even then, they need to look at technology as an enabler rather than a magic bullet. They should select solutions with a broad vision and long-term strategy in mind.

Spears considers 99 percent of the 5,381 solutions on Brinker’s graphic as just shiny objects for enterprise organizations. Marketers should concentrate on the fundamentals, including content management, customer relationship management and customer data platforms, email and marketing analytics platforms, and analytics.

“Unless you have a strategy that’s crushing the fundamentals, avoid the fringe and niche products,” he said.

(Want to learn more? Drop by booth 701 at MarTech: The Marketing Tech Conference. CTMO Chris Spears, along with Vice President of Strategy Margaret Wise and other ARKE representatives, are on hand. They’re happy to explain how ARKE helps businesses carry out their objectives — and build better brand experiences.)

Noreen Seebacher is the content evangelist at Arke, where she researches, writes and continues her long career in news reporting as a brand journalist. Noreen lives in Beaufort, South Carolina with her husband, her dog and four formerly homeless cats.