For decades, marketing was seen as a cost center. Now, marketers are finally gaining traction in their reporting systems and proving the immense value they’re creating. With that newfound respect, marketers are getting smarter; they are adopting new technology that improves their lead generation and revenue capture efforts. In addition, they are being rewarded by their organizations with a larger share of the budget. In fact, 2017 is the year that Gartner predicted CMOs will overtake CIOs as having the largest technology budgets in most organizations.

To keep up with this increased sophistication in marketing, marketing technology (martech) providers have been exploding on the scene. Per Chiefmartec’s blog, martech solutions have nearly doubled from 2015 to 2016.

Keeping up with the martech explosion

In keeping up with martech, it’s especially important that marketers understand what their peers are doing; not so you can copy their every move, but so you can learn from them and develop your own set of marketing best practices.

One area of interest to most marketers is the up-and-coming tools available to them. The Walker Sands State of Marketing Technology 2017 survey of more than 300 professional marketers reveals some insight into the martech tools in highest demand going into 2017.

Highest demand martech categories

The 2017 most popular martech tools, according to this survey, are ones that are generally used by numerous individuals in a marketing department and have relatively low costs. The five marketing technology categories that are expected to have the greatest demand for new purchasers are:

1. Social media marketing. Thirty-two percent of marketers surveyed indicated they will be purchasing a martech solution or service within this category. These tools include the likes of Buffer and Hootsuite.

2. Email marketing. With 27 percent of marketers intending to purchase an email marketing tool in 2017, this category is poised for growth and feature improvement. Some of the feature improvements you can expect to see are big data improving email engagement, improved segmentability, and expanded options for personalization.

3. Ad tech. Advertising technology solutions are poised for accelerated user-base growth in 2017, with 28 percent of marketers planning on purchasing a new ad tech tool. A few leaders in this space that you should be aware of and even evaluate for your own use — include AdRoll for remarketing, StartApp for more effective native mobile ads, and MediaMath for expanded advertising reach across networks.

4. Analytics. Twenty-four percent of those surveyed indicated they will be purchasing a marketing analytics solution in 2017. Among the movers and shakers in analytics, the ones to watch are predictive analytics and machine learning. While these have been buzz words for several years now, they are just starting to be loaded into marketing tools as major features. For example, Marketo’s marketing automation suite has introduced an add-on that uses predictive analysis to serve up predictive content.

5. Content marketing. As content marketing continues to rise in importance to marketers, it is no surprise that 21 percent of those surveyed indicated they will be purchasing a content marketing solution or service in 2017. ClearVoice is leading the charge in content marketing with a software solution and service that enables you to more easily generate high-quality content that will amplify your brand.

Experience new solutions

I hope this list of top martech categories for 2017 motivates you to try new tools of our trade. While it’s important to not become a “jack of all trades, expert at none,” you should still be well-versed in multiple martech solutions that can help you get the grandest exposure, leads and sales for your company. In fact, nine out of 10 marketers surveyed use more than one martech solution on a regular basis.

For myself, a few martech solutions I’ll be onboarding in 2017 are around ABM account-based marketing.

What martech solution will you be adding to your stack in 2017? Comment below to let me know.