Marketing

5 Marketing Trends for Tech Startups in 2022

Jan 16, 2022

If you’re a startup, you rely on marketing tech to reach prospects and grow your business. Even if you have a limited marketing budget for 2022, don’t panic — we’ve found 5 trends that will help you optimize your digital marketing strategy.

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Meghan BazamanSenior Content Analyst
5 Marketing Trends for Tech Startups in 2022

As a startup, you need to choose your martech (marketing technology) investments wisely. There’s certainly a lot at stake in terms of budget—an important consideration especially after a volatile last few years.

According to GetApp’s recent Martech Research Survey, 51% of startups tell us they spend more money on martech compared to other marketing resources (e.g., labor, events, paid media). However, only 11% expect a significant increase in their budget for martech in 2022. (See our survey methodology at the end of this piece. For the purposes of this report, a startup is defined as an organization with 500 or fewer employees.)

And even if startup organizations had unlimited budgets, making sense out of the estimated 8,000+ martech apps that span numerous categories (marketing analytics and customer experience software, just to name a few), is yet another hurdle. Our survey reports that the number one challenge startup companies experience with martech is keeping up with emerging technologies.

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The good news is that tech startups can make better tech investment decisions by paying attention to where martech is heading and which categories of apps are performing the best at meeting company goals.

In this report, we’ll review key digital marketing trends and the types of martech apps startups should be on the lookout for in 2022. Our research explores how your peers are currently using martech (how often they use apps, how many apps, how much money they spend on apps, etc.), which will help inform your marketing strategy.

Key findings

Finding #1: Martech is an important time and dollar investment for startups

  • Over a third (37%) of startups have adopted some form of marketing software within the past two years.

  • Many startups are heavily interacting with martech, with the vast majority using 1 to 10 apps weekly or more frequently.

  • Half of our startup survey respondents indicate that their company spends over $500 per month on martech.

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Finding #2: Startups spend the most time communicating martech goals

Contrary to what you would expect, startups spend more time communicating the end goals of their tech investments compared to other actions such as training end users or creating workflows.

  • Sixty-one percent of startups spend a moderate to significant amount of time communicating the marketing goals and objectives for martech apps.

  • In comparison, 57% are spending the same level of time creating documentation and workflows for martech applications.

Finding #3: Startups spend the most dollars on app fees and licensing

  • When it comes to specific spending on martech, 54% of startup companies indicate they spend more than $5,000 a year on licensing or fees.

  • The least amount of dollars are going toward contractors or an external marketing agency. This suggests that most are handling their martech management in-house.

  • Given the amount of time and money invested in martech, a marketing operations role could benefit startups, helping to nail down the benefits and key goals of the technology.

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Now that we have an understanding of how startups are currently using and investing in martech, let’s take a look at which martech apps startups find the most valuable in meeting their company goals.

The most effective martech apps for achieving marketing goals

Where should you invest your budget to get the most value from your martech stack?

We asked startups to rate their martech apps according to how effective they were at achieving their company’s marketing goals.

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Customer relationship management (CRM), social media or influencer marketing tools, and marketing analytics tools are the top three most effective martech apps among startups.

Here at GetApp, we want to help you save time and money and ensure you are selecting the right technology to accomplish your digital marketing goals in 2022. We know that keeping an eye on marketing trends can prepare you for tackling challenges, better inform your martech spending decisions, and aid you in planning for the year ahead.

Below, we share five marketing trends that could impact you in 2022. Use this information to deliver on your marketing goals this year.

1. COVID-19 will continue to accelerate demand for all things digital

Even though in-store shopping is back, most indicators point to a permanent shift in how consumers rely on digital for everything from purchasing to socializing. Marketing departments have embraced the change accordingly and adjusted to meet audiences where they are—online.

According to GetApp’s Top Technology Trends study, 12% of startup marketers say their organization purchased marketing software within the last two years. In fact, 52% of respondents already have a budget set aside for digital marketing over the next 12 to 18 months. (See our survey methodology at the end of this piece.)

Over a third (36%) of startup marketers cite competitive pressures among the top three factors that triggered their investment in new technology.

To stay ahead of the game, updating outdated or obsolete martech or adding new martech can help your startup business stay competitive and innovative. To start, identify martech apps that currently present the following challenges at your business:

  • Lack ownership or no one is accountable for the technology

  • Are not used very often or have features that go unused

  • Are poorly integrated with other software

  • No longer align with marketing strategies

Once you’ve identified the apps you’d like to add, update, or replace, explore the marketing software options and read reviews from thousands of real users.

2. Consumer experience will be one of the biggest influencers for marketing decisions

Delivering an elevated customer experience is just as important as delivering great products or services. This is because a positive consumer experience (CX) can help improve customer retention and loyalty (full research available to Gartner clients).

Gartner defines customer experience management as the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions in order to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thereby, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.

And we’re seeing the CX strategy trend pop up in startup martech investments as well. For example, in our recent martech research survey, 15% of startup businesses report using content marketing and customer experience tools (e.g., tools that help create, automate, or personalize content) the most.

Marketers can begin by using software to collect and process feedback from customers. Then, use customer data to craft marketing content that really resonates and aligns with their sentiments. If you’d like help selecting the right customer experience software, check out our Customer Experience Buyers Guide.

3. The privacy conversation isn’t going anywhere

We’ve seen data privacy regulation continue to expand across the globe (e.g., GDPR, China’s PIPL, etc.) along with Google phasing out third-party cookies (although delayed). Consumers now have more control over how businesses use their personal data and shifting sentiments towards their data privacy.

According to Gartner, 76% of consumers are somewhat or extremely concerned about how companies collect and use their personal data. They want and expect more data privacy and security from the businesses they interact with. (Full research available to Gartner clients.)

It’s time to reevaluate your digital marketing tactics with all of these changes in mind. If your startup business doesn’t have solid data protection and privacy strategies your business risks losing customers and the ability to effectively target new prospects.

4. Increased data regulation will also drive demand for marketers with deeper analytical skills

Startups rely on collecting and interpreting data to better understand customers and make decisions. They invest in marketing tech such as marketing analytics software or market research software to help with such tasks.

While all this is well and good, a new challenge among startup marketers is having the right staff that can derive the most value from data insights and marketing tech. We found that 21% of survey respondents say they lack the personnel or talent to effectively utilize their martech capabilities.

To prevent a tech-rich and talent-poor environment, startup marketers should focus on hiring talent with the right knowledge, skills, and acuity to support the growing responsibilities of marketers and their company’s tech investments. For example, look for professionals that are comfortable with data analysis software or that are proficient in taking large volumes of data and translating it into usable information.

And hiring looks promising for analytical marketers in 2022. Thirty-nine percent of startup respondents have hired an analytics professional to support marketing (e.g., manage KPIs, collect and analyze data, etc.) within the last two years. Additionally, 17% don’t have one on staff, but are planning to or are interested in hiring one.

5. Marketers will have to slow down when it comes to adopting emerging tech

GetApp’s Top Technology Trends survey reveals that 55% of startup marketers react somewhat or very quickly to major external events (e.g., economic downturns, new competitors, or big innovations). Forty-eight percent say they invest in new technology very often or continuously to drive company success.

But should these organizations reel it in when deciding to invest in new marketing technology? We think so.

Evidence arises when you look at the top challenges identified by startup marketers when planning to invest in new tech:

  • Nearly half (47%) face challenges finding compatibility with their existing systems

  • 44% are challenged with identifying the right digital marketing tool

  • 41% have security concerns

There’s plenty of martech hype—metaverse, augmented reality (AR), social ecommerce, and NFTs just to name a few. Don’t be tempted to adopt technology just because it’s new and exciting. For example, if your goal is to improve privacy, augmented reality is not going to help with that.  Startups need to think critically about how new tech investments will support their overall marketing goals in 2022.

More resources for startups

Is there a digital marketing trend your startup can relate to? Keep these stats in mind when you're navigating the martech landscape and your current martech stack.

Use these marketing trends to critically evaluate your martech needs and only invest in what will help you achieve your goals for 2022.

Methodology

GetApp’s Martech Research Survey was conducted in October 2021 among 663 respondents to learn more about small and midsize business martech usage and effectiveness. Respondents were screened for full-time SMB employees (500 or fewer employees at their business). They must have used marketing or CRM software within the past two years; a minimum of 150 respondents are martech influencers or buyers.

GetApp's 2021 Top Technology Trends Survey was conducted from August through September 2021, among 1,000 respondents across the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia to identify technology needs, challenges, and trends for small businesses. Respondents were required to be involved in the technology purchasing decisions at companies with 2 to 500 employees and hold a manager-level position or above in the company and be managing a marketing function at their organization.

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About the author

Meghan Bazaman

Senior Content Analyst
Hey there, I’m Meghan. I’m a Senior Content Analyst at GetApp. I bring you insights about marketing technology and emerging software. I studied at the University of Texas at Austin and have experience covering tech, finance and ecommerce since 2011. Home base: Austin, TX; (1-2) things about me: Piano player, love cats, hate cold weather; The tech trend I think you should keep an eye on: The consolidation of social, fintech and ecommerce platforms.
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