When the topic of conversation turns to digital marketing technology, would you expect Microsoft to come up as a leading vendor?

The latest survey by ChangeWave Research, a service of 451 Research, gives some insight into this, as well as other interesting business software spending tidbits – and some of the data might surprise you.

For starters, 28 percent of the 1,044 software buyers surveyed identified Microsoft as a digital marketing technology vendor they currently use or plan to use in the next six months – a finding unchanged from the previous survey taken last July.

Matt Mullen, senior analyst for social business at 451 Research, told us why.

Hot Digital Tools


“The results show the consistent performance of Microsoft as a self-identified vendor, even though it doesn’t have a true digital marketing product,” he said.

For all the many digital marketing technology options, many smaller and medium size business are content with a patchwork of Microsoft tools. A combination of Word, Mail Merge and Exchange can create a perfectly serviceable email campaign management system, for example, the researchers noted.

“The numbers referring to traditional Microsoft programs and functions such as Word’s Mail Merge, and using Access databases in Outlook, suggest that digital marketing tooling is much less advanced than many vendors and analysts would have you believe.”

According to the survey, which reflects the data in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing, Salesforce is the top self-identified digital marketing vendor, with 30 percent of respondents stating they use or plan to use it in the coming six months – up 1 percent from July’s survey.

Adobe trailed Microsoft, with 19 percent (also up one percent from July), followed by Constant Contact at 16 percent.

Perhaps surprisingly, Oracle showed the biggest jump with 15 percent of respondents identifying the company as their current or planned digital marketing vendor – up six points from the previous survey.

Mullen points to successful rebranding following acquisitions in the digital marketing space as one of the reasons for Oracle’s climb.

“Buyers are no longer referring to acquired companies,” he said. “Users of Silverpop are identifying that it’s IBM [which jumped from 7 percent to 13 percent in the survey] and former Eloqua users are identifying Oracle as their vendor.”

IBM bought Silverpop in May 2014. Oracle bought Eloqua in February in 2013.


So Misunderstood

Taking a step back to view the digital marketing technology landscape, the survey shows quite a low adoption rate overall, with 17 percent of respondents stating they will continue to use digital marketing technology in the next six months, and 7 percent stating they will begin using this technology for the first time.

A whopping 59 percent have no plans to use digital marketing technology in the coming six months, while 17 percent are unsure.

And it’s not for lack of understanding that digital marketing tools are important. In fact, the survey shows buyers rate the importance of digital technology as 7.2 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being most important.

Mullen attributes these findings to a need for further education about how these tools can help marketers.

He cited examples such as Hubspot, Infusionsoft and Mailchimp as companies that are good at recognizing that their core customers are not specialist marketers. Rather, they position their software as simple to adopt and simple to use.

“We know it’s important, but that understanding isn’t translating into an immediate plan to buy,” he concluded. “We need to bridge that gap, and showing customers how they are able to use this technology is an important part of what vendors need to be doing in the next couple of years.”

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License Title image by SusanG2.