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SMB marketing campaign management software to hit $14.9 bn in 2026

According to a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) forecast, worldwide revenue for small and midmarket business (SMB) marketing campaign management (MCM) software is expected to grow from $8.5 billion in 2021 to $14.9 billion in 2026 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.9%.

The marketing application space is a large and multifaceted arena that can include thousands of different vendors across dozens of categories. To develop a forecast that is tailored to the needs of SMBs, IDC looked at vendors that offer MCM functionality (campaign planning, execution, and management; customer data management; social marketing; mobile marketing; and marketing analytics) for customers with fewer than 1,000 employees. While industry stalwarts Salesforce and Microsoft have a strong presence across all segments, SMB-focused vendors like HubSpot, Mailchimp (Intuit), and Constant Contact rounded out the top 5 vendors.

An analyst study segmenting the market by SMB is an industry first and shifts away from the traditional B2B/B2C models that IDC believes are less relevant as technology and tactics converge across the industry.

Over the past several years, the SMB-focused martech segment has seen a maturation of offerings with vendors now providing functionality historically reserved for enterprise customers. AI-infused task automations, collaboration and project management capabilities, complex data integrations, content or digital asset management tools, and more are becoming commonplace as SMB users demand increasingly more robust platforms.

“Today, SMB organizations have complex and mature marketing needs. To be successful, providers must deliver powerful, enterprise-grade platforms in formats that are easy to deploy, integrate, and optimize,” said Roger Beharry Lall, research director, IDC Marketing Applications for Growth Companies.

To remain competitive in the SMB market, MCM vendors will need to demonstrate new and meaningful value differentiation to their users. Key areas of concern for these users include the following:

Value Demonstration and Transparency: Suppliers should enable a common view of value realization against the customer’s expected outcomes so that both the cost and benefits factors of the value equation can be equally well articulated and available to customers.

Data Utilization and Simplification: Vendors supporting SMB organizations need to develop tools that meaningfully advance the use of customer data through universal governance policies, prebuilt connectors, low-code dashboards, simplified automations, and recommendations engines.

Privacy as Opportunity Versus Constraint: Vendors that enable brands to set higher standards and exceed customer expectations regarding their data practices will provide a competitive advantage.

Personalization Beyond “Dear “: Technology vendors need to enable more holistic personalization capabilities that represent more meaningful end-customer value while being mindful of transparency in data collection practices.

Advanced Automation Capabilities: As SMB marketing leaders experience increased pressure to generate more value with fewer resources, suppliers need to utilize artificial intelligence, machine learning, and low-code/no-code solutions to help SMB clients automate simple tasks and improve tool performance by leveraging data.

Functional Expansion Across the Tech Stack: MCM suppliers focused on SMBs need to look beyond the discrete functions of traditional marketing and offer a larger multifunctional platform that helps reduce the complexity and size of the overall marketing technology stack.

Many-to-Many Integrated Ecosystems: To meet the niche requirements of SMB marketers, suppliers need to create integrations across multiple tools that support UI alignment, predefined workflows, nomenclature commonality, governance controls, and so forth.

CT Bureau

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