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STAMFORD, Conn., December 2, 2020

Gartner Reveals Only 18% of Brands Have Mastered Their Extensive Martech Stack

Gartner Analysts Discuss How High-Performing Brands Orchestrate Their Martech Stacks for Success at the Virtual Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo 2020 Americas, December 1-3

As scrutiny of the value and ROI of marketing technology (martech) grows, only 18% of brands have mastered their extensive martech stack to produce a “gifted” or “genius-level” of marketing performance*, according to Gartner. 

Gartner extended its digital performance benchmarking methodology to understand how leading brands orchestrate their martech stacks, and how these stacks contribute to business success. The findings revealed that simply having more technology products is not a guaranteed enabler of high performance. 

“Gartner research has repeatedly shown that there is no correlation between the size of martech budgets and the effectiveness of the martech stack,” said Ben Bloom, senior director analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “Several combinations of technology products adopted by high-performing brands demonstrate that they don’t just adopt technology. They extend it with complementary tools, and build capabilities that advance their maturity and effectiveness.”

Mr. Bloom shared these findings today during the Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo, taking place virtually in the Americas December 1-3, 2020. 

Gartner studied the stacks of over 500 brands in its Digital IQ Indices to identify patterns that leading brands share in their adoption of martech and found four prevalent archetypes: 

  1. Astronomers. These brands prioritize the production of insights using analytics and data science tools to decode customer behavior in order to maximize the impact of personalization engines.
  2. Data Stewards. These brands emphasize one-to-few marketing by leveraging a customer data platform as part of a multichannel marketing stack.

  3. Ad Wizards. These brands adopt multiple demand side platforms in their martech stack to deploy advanced targeting for programmatic and video advertising.

  4. Content Creators. These brands use content marketing platforms and digital asset management solutions to streamline their content distribution across multiple channels.

“No two brands leverage marketing technology the same way, however, leading brands exhibit certain characteristics in their deployments that underperforming brands can learn from,” said Mr. Bloom. “Digital marketing leaders looking to propel their organization’s marketing performance should use these four common archetypes as a guide to recalibrate their own marketing technology stack and seed new ideas for increasing utilization of existing solutions.”

Digital marketing leaders responsible for marketing technology should also consider the following: 

  • Complement integrated suite with point solutions – Adopt point solutions as needed to improve capabilities. To do this, use a best-of-breed approach to evaluate and select complementary point solutions to meet the demands of customers and internal stakeholders.

  • Confront martech complexity – Build competencies around technology, content and workflow that support marketing strategy in order to overcome the risk of technology complexity. Eliminate marginal or underutilized technology, and assess capabilities to determine if sufficient depth in talent, training and organization is available to utilize the products in the stack.

  • Leverage product combinations – Maximize marketing technology effectiveness by auditing the products in the stack to establish which combinations are most relevant to the business. For example, Genius brands are more likely to invest in key technologies such as personalization engines and data science tools that extract insights from vast quantities of data generated by martech. Support these combinations with enablement and team development to master complex features and integrate them together to increase product utilization.

*For Editors:

Brands were classified as either “Genius” (their digital competence is a point of competitive differentiation for these brands); “Gifted” (the brands are experimenting and innovating across site, mobile and social platforms); “Average” (digital presence is functional yet predictable); “Challenged” (limited or inconsistent adoption of mobile and social media platforms); or “Feeble” (investment does not match opportunity).

About the Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo

Gartner analysts are providing additional insights during Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo, taking place virtually, December 1-3, 2020. The conference provides marketing leaders actionable advice about the trends, tools and emerging technologies they need to deliver business results. Gartner analysts address the biggest opportunities, challenges and priorities marketers face today, including data and analytics, customer experience, content marketing, customer insight, marketing technology (martech) and multichannel marketing. Follow news and updates for the event on Twitter at #GartnerMKTG.

About Gartner for Marketers

Gartner for Marketers provides the objective, expert advice and proven tools that CMOs and other marketing leaders need to seize the right opportunities with clarity and confidence, and to stay ahead of the trends that matter. With in-depth research and analysis, Gartner for Marketers helps you focus on the opportunities with the greatest potential to deliver results. More information on Gartner for Marketers is available online at Follow news and updates from the Gartner Marketing practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerMKTG.


About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission critical priorities. To learn more, visit