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The True Cost of Martech Underutilization

Marketing technology (martech) has revolutionized how businesses approach customer engagement, data analytics, and campaign management. However, a growing concern has emerged: despite increased investments in martech, many organizations are failing to utilize these tools to their full potential. This blog explores the underlying causes of martech underutilization, its implications for businesses, and strategies for optimizing martech investments.

Alarming Trends in Martech Usage

According to a recent Gartner study, organizations are only utilizing one-third of their martech capabilities, a trend that has seen a decline for two consecutive years. This underutilization results in financial wastage and a complex challenge for Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) who must balance immediate technology usage with long-term strategic investments in emerging technologies like generative AI.

“The number of vendors offering marketing tech is exploding, but too many companies take a “bottom-up” approach to purchasing: Rather than starting with the objective of solving a problem, they begin with what is being sold to them. As a result, they waste money on hoarding data they don’t need and on shiny new objects.”

Customer Data Challenges

One of the primary reasons for martech underutilization is the difficulty in managing customer data. Many organizations struggle to collect and unify customer data across different systems, hindering their ability to use this data effectively for personalization, advertising, and measurement. This challenge contributes significantly to the bloat and inefficiency of martech stacks.

The Financial Impact of Underutilized Martech

The Cost of Inefficiency

For a company generating $250 million in revenue, nearly $4 million could be wasted if 9% of their revenue is allocated to marketing and a quarter of that is spent on underutilized technology. This financial inefficiency underscores the importance of optimizing martech investments.

The Hidden Costs of Complexity

Martech stacks often become overly complex due to the "best-of-breed" approach, where companies accumulate a plethora of ABM (Account-Based Marketing) point solutions and intent data platforms. This complexity can divert focus from marketing to product management and highlights the lack of skilled personnel needed to manage these technologies effectively.

Strategies for Optimizing Martech Investments

Streamlining the Martech Stack

CMOs should encourage their teams to identify and eliminate underused technologies within their martech stack. By trimming the fat, organizations can reserve resources for innovative applications and improve overall efficiency.

Focusing on Talent and Training

Persistent under-investment in talent to drive martech utilization impacts both current operations and future technological advancements. Investing in comprehensive training programs and developing internal expertise is crucial for maximizing the potential of existing and emerging technologies.

Persistent under-investment in talent to drive martech utilization impacts not only the current state but the ability to capture future benefits of emerging technologies.

Prioritizing a Strategic Approach

Rather than adopting a platform-centric acquisition strategy, companies should prioritize a strategic, holistic view of their martech stack. This involves aligning technology investments with organizational objectives, focusing on efficiency, agility, and alignment to maximize ROI and enhance the customer experience.


The underutilization of martech stacks presents a significant challenge for modern businesses. By addressing customer data challenges, streamlining technology stacks, investing in talent, and adopting a strategic approach to technology acquisition, CMOs can unlock the full potential of their martech investments. This will not only improve financial efficiency but also enhance the overall effectiveness of marketing operations.

Savvy B2B marketers don’t rely on diluted, one-size-fits-all technology. They grasp the nuances of their go-to-market strategy, recognizing both its limitations and strengths, and integrate specialized technologies as needed.


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