圖解說明了同時進行的馬歇爾整合和擴張的悖論

圖解說明了同時進行的馬歇爾整合和擴張的悖論

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Martech Consolidation: The Simple Cyclical View

Man, people sure do find anecdotes more persuasive than data. (As an aside, this is why machine learning can be so helpful in applying true data-driven marketing — our human biases really skew our perception of reality.)

We most recently released the 2018 marketing technology landscape with the data showing nearly 7,000 martech-related vendors. I then followed up with a post — intentionally a little provocative — proposing that

It’s a near universal truth: markets and businesses exhibit a cyclical pattern of expansion and consolidation. But there are other forces at play here too.

But the simple view of that cycle, illustrated in the graph at the top of this post, doesn’t capture the full model of what’s happening in our industry. A somewhat more accurate view of consolidation cycles in marketing software — over decades — might look more like this:

Martech Consolidation Cycles Scaled Over Time

If nothing else, you have to acknowledge that the amplitude of this expansion cycle is much greater than any that have come before.

There are a lot of supply-side and demand-side reasons for that. But it’s worth noting that many of those reasons are “net new.” For instance, the dynamics of the cloud, open source software, digital” everything>, etc., weren’t present in the expand-and-consolidate cycles of marketing software in previous eras.

The world has fundamentally changed. Software is everywhere. And all indications are that the diversity of software in general will be expanding for the foreseeable future. (As Jay McBain of Forrester wrote last year, there could be Martech Cyclical Consolidation on Top of Underlying Software Expansion

That underlying wave of software expansion seems to be overtaking the natural business consolidation dynamics that are absolutely still happening at the same time.

This F. Scott Fitzgerald quote comes to mind:

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

How far will The Great Software Expansion go? I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure it’s not out of steam yet. Because, well, that’s what the data shows.

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