The Atlanta Marketing Technology Cluster

This article was derived from my opening comments at the Tech Marketing Awards.

I’ve been involved in Georgia’s marketing and technology communities for about 15 years now. When I was asked to take part in the Tech Marketing Awards I was honored. I was also a little confused. My initial thought was this is all about the marketing of technology products. Well it turns out it was not that at all. It was about the use of technology to effectively market.

I am a big believer in using marketing technologies. And I am not alone. Interactive marketing spend is currently at $26 billion dollars annually and projected to grow to $55 billion in the next four years. It’s a torrid growth rate and interactive marketing will soon exceed 20% of all marketing spend. Why is all this money being spent?  Because marketers find that technology tools are less expensive, more measurable, and better for direct response than other methods.

Back in September Ad Age declared, “We have entered a Golden Age of marketing technology.” We have indeed reached a point where marketing has become deeply entwined with technology. So entwined that Ad Age advocated the case for companies to create the role of Chief Marketing Technologist to translate strategy into technology, manage data and technology across the marketing organization, and put tech into the DNA of marketing departments. This call for a Chief Marketing Technologist quickly became an Internet meme. Ad Age was on to something a lot of marketers are thinking about.

The Tech Marketing Awards are a testament to the growing importance of using innovative technology to reach customers in a world where the way information is consumed is rapidly changing. As I was thinking about what to say in my opening comments something dawned on me.  Atlanta is home to a thriving community of marketing technology companies. This community has its roots in well-established firms such as BKV, ChoicePoint, Equifax, and PGI as well as first generation interactive companies such as 360i, iXL, Macquarium, and Spunlogic. 

In addition to this heritage Georgia is home to many great marketing companies.  AFLAC, Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, Delta, Home Depot, Newell Rubbermaid, Popeye's, Porsche, Turner, UPS, and Wendy's/Arby's immediately come to mind. These companies and their Atlanta based Fortune 1000 brethren generate a staggering $250 billion in revenue every year. A portion of this revenue is plowed back into marketing and marketing technology. There are lots of potential customers for marketing technology products in Atlanta.

I started writing down the marketing technology companies in Atlanta and with the help of a few others quickly came up with a list that exceeded 30 firms(1). Ad serving applications, analytics, content management systems, interactive advertising, ecommerce, email marketing, lead generation, marketing automation, mobile marketing, sales force automation, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, social media monitoring, and transaction marketing are marketing technologies offered by Atlanta companies.

Many of the finalists and award winners at the Tech Marketing Awards have helped to further Atlanta’s presence and reputation as a hub of marketing technology innovation. It was a pleasure to honor their efforts. But more important is to recognize that a cluster of marketing technology companies exists in Atlanta and to strive to help it grow and mature.

(1) 5×5, BLiNQ Media, BrightWhistle, Cardlytics, Carttini, Click Fox, ClipZone, DataClip, EasyLink, eCommHub, Hannon Hill, ListK, Local Flavor, LocalPrice, Loopfuse, Looxi, MailChimp, MessageGears, Mobile CDN, MyFavEats, Pardot, PlacePunch, Quantisense, RentWiki, ScoutMob, SearchIgnite, ServAnalytics, ShopVisible, Silverpop, Socket, Soverse, Tangelo, ThePort, Tickle.Me, Vitrue, and Vuelogic.

Thanks to Greg Foster, Paul Freet, Leslie Thomas, Sean McCormick for helping with drafts of this article and brainstroming the list of Atlanta marketing technology companies.


Adding CoreMotives, LeadLife, Mansell Group, Mobilization Labs, Nimbus, SalesFusion, and Whoop from David Cummings article on the subject.

December 1, 2010  |  Comments  |  Tweet  |  Posted in Marketing, Startups