Any tool is only as good as our ability to use them.
That much is true; however, it’s impossible to do our job effectively without the right tools.
That’s why savvy marketing teams should be strategic and thoughtful about how they build their marketing technology stacks. And such technology will only grow in importance as data becomes more critical to marketers.
You can easily ensure that you’re well-equipped to work effectively and efficiently to tackle tough challenges by aligning the right technologies and tools with each step in your marketing process.
We’ll discuss your most common question regarding marketing technology in this blog post. We’ll also discuss the best way to incorporate the right tech into your company.
What is a Marketing Technology Stack?
A marketing technology stack is the set of tools that marketers use to carry out their daily tasks. From task management systems to analytics platforms, every tool that you use belongs in your technology stack. While your tech stack may not seem like it warrants serious consideration, it has the ability to break or make your success as a marketing team.
The ideal technology stack can improve efficiency, productivity, revenue, and reporting capabilities. Also, the resources and time your technology stack can save you by streamlining your workflow.
MarTech allows you to:
- Test and apply new marketing strategies.
- Improve customer experience at every touchpoint.
- Track key marketing metrics.
- Collect customer data that provides your business granular information.
- Track campaign results in real-time.
- Create personalized buying experiences that drive down customer acquisition costs and boost retention and conversion rates.
Marketing technology is something with seemingly endless potential for growth. Applications exist for email marketing, marketing automation, social media outreach, content marketing, workflow management, and video advertising.
What Does a Marketing Stack Look Like?
A marketing stack could look like the following:
- Social media tools like Buffer or Sprout Social or Hootsuite
- CRM software like Salesforce or HubSpot
- A CMS that hosts your website and its content
The software applications marketers choose in their marketing stacks vary from organizations to organizations.
The Stats: Why Marketers are Investing more in Technology
We are now living in the second Marketing Technology golden age. Today, businesses of all sizes are investing more in marketing applications.
Let’s take a look at the following stats;
- CMOs are allocating nearly ⅓ of their budgets to marketing technology. (Source: Gartner).
- 28% of marketers are already spending over six figures a year on marketing technology. (Source: Conductor).
- 88% of marketers use at least one MarTech tool on a regular basis. (Source: State of Marketing Technology 2017)
- 35% of marketers believe marketing technologies will be vital to their companies. (Source: Clickz)
- In 2018, organizations were expected to spend more than $32 billion on marketing software. (Source: Radius)
- According to a 2017 survey, 27%of CMOs were concerned with taking advantage and staying ahead of digital technology trends. (Source: Korn Ferry)
- 45% of marketers reported spending more on technologies that could improve personalization and help analyze their data. (Source: Adobe and Forrester Consulting)
These above trends are only expected to continue over the next few years. Marketers who rely on old school strategies and software could be left behind if they fail to adopt and adapt.
Understand Your Organization’s Business Model
Does your company run the software as a service (SaaS) business model? Or a professional services company like an advertising agency, or an engineer, or an architect where you sell your skill and time? Or a construction firm? Or a funky coffee chain or a retail clothing store? Or an e-commerce store?
Different business runs on different models and your business model will be the key factors affecting the design of your marketing technology stack. Before you begin choosing software applications and get stuck with something you don’t actually need, begin by sitting down with your team and dig deep into your business. You need to have a full understanding of what you are selling, how to sell, and what technology and tools you need in order to scale it.
Discuss and answer the following core questions:
- Is it B2B or B2C?
- Is your business a service or product business?
- What about a relationship-level (i.e. low touch), digital inbound customer acquisition model?
- How do you plan to scale that channel?
- Is your target market consumers, small to medium-sized businesses or enterprise firms?
- Do you have a high touch, sales-heavy model?
- What are your buyer personas?
- How long is the sales cycle?
- Where do you get most of your new customers from now?
Five Important considerations for your Marketing Technology Stack
Only 9% of marketers have and use marketing tools that they need (Source: Ascend2). But, with so many tools available in the market, how can that be?
Things get quite interesting here. As technology increasingly evolved, marketing tools increasingly became more and more granular. Earlier, just one tool could solve three different problems. Now, marketers need a highly advanced technology solution for every task, channel, and function. You’ll soon find that with more tools even simple processes become inefficient and complicated.
Rather than choosing tools based on their pricing models or set of features, marketers must consider an array of factors while making a purchase decision. Since this is much easier said than done, we pulled together five critical questions that you need to ask yourself before buying a new software application;
1. Do I have ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’?
As coined in a piece from Openview, shiny object syndrome at one point or another has gotten the best of us all. So, ensure that you’re not purchasing a tool because it’s exciting and new. Instead, consider the tools you already have. Is there any possible way to achieve your goals without this tool?
Never buy a tool just because you can. Adding one another tool to your tech stack will only waste your resources and your budget and will also add undue stress to your team. Just remember that more tools don’t necessarily mean better results.
2. Have I done enough research?
Even when a tool checks all the boxes, it’s still vital to consider other options. So, do some more digging and ensure to check out online reviews. There are many high-quality tools available in the market, and even if one tool is good, it doesn’t mean another tool won’t be great.
3. Does this integrate with the tools I need it to?
The most valuable consideration to make while building your tech stack is integration. Even when a platform promises good results, it will do more harm than good if it doesn’t integrate with the rest of your tools.
For example; newly launched website management tools promise you to double the total number of leads generated from your website. But, it doesn’t integrate with your current CRM solution and needs four different professionals to manually move the leads from one system to another. This doesn’t just cut down productivity, but the manual data entry effort makes your customer database dirty and also requires an additional tool for proper database maintenance.
4. Should other teams have input on this buying decision?
It’s always considered as a best practice to share information and resources across teams. But, it’s important, especially when buying a new tool. Without inputs from all the stakeholders of your organization, you can’t make an informed decision and a smart purchase. So, ensure to consult with all the stakeholders before you finally make a purchase.
5. Do I have the manpower to operate this system?
It’s critical that you purchase tools that are easy to operate with the manpower and resources you already have. Operating some of the best, highly advanced technologies is a full-time job. And it makes more sense to buy a less sophisticated technology if you have a small team. So, choose a technology that will help you achieve your goals effectively without much attention.
Key Components of a Robust Marketing Technology Stack
Most of the tech stacks are unique to the organization that builds them. We each have different functions, needs, and goals as a marketing team. We have put together a list of important options for you to consider.
A robust tech stack must support the following;
1. Sales and Marketing Intelligence
There are many different forms of technologies that fall under this category. Think about sales prospecting tools, B2B data providers, data hygiene services, and much more. These tools collect and organize data to improve all marketing functions and processes.
2. Website Analytics and SEO
There aren’t many marketing teams that don’t rely on their website as a primary source of qualified leads. This is why you need to understand and optimize your website to help your prospects and customers along their buyer’s journey. Think about heat maps, website analytics, and content optimization tools.
3. Content Marketing
There are many content marketing tools available for every aspect of the content process. These include content creation, task management, creative, and distribution. These tools are an indispensable part of any robust marketing tech stack.
4. Social Media
Almost every marketing team needs one or more social media tools. These tools cover a wide range of functionality. Think about post scheduling, content calendars, social listening, employee advocacy programs, and much more.
5. Lead Management, Campaign Optimization, and Marketing Automation
These tools streamline your marketing efforts and also improve your team’s overall results. We grouped these tools together as they all contribute to lead generation.
6. Email Marketing
This tech stack category doesn’t need much explanation. If your company sends marketing or promotional emails, you’ll need an email service provider (ESP) platform for your email marketing solution needs. There are so many options currently available in the market, for both, larger and small businesses. So, determine what your needs are, how much assistance you want and then do some research.
7. Webinars & Events
Webinars and events are very fruitful strategies. But, whether in-person or online, they can be quite tough to manage effectively. And the right software application can make it a lot easier to manage, plan, and gauge the success of your events.
8. Video Marketing
Videos are an essential component of many marketing strategies. But, unless you have access to in-house, top-notch resources, you’ll need a software application to help you. Try considering how you produce, plan, edit, and market your video content.
These days, digital advertising has so many forms, Google search engine, Social media, retargeting, and many more. And it can become quite overwhelming. So, you should invest in the tools that simplify and improve your strategy.
Predictive technology uses outcomes and data to accurately predict the success of future marketing campaigns. Advanced predictive technology can elevate your marketing campaigns to the next level.
11. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is one of the most powerful weapons in your marketing tech stack and also key role player. These tools help you streamline your marketing processes while improving the customer experience.
12. Web Analytics
Usually considered an afterthought, there are tools that are used to measure the effectiveness and performance of online marketing campaigns. Think about web analytics tools as the workhorse of your marketing tech stack.
Building a Stack That Aligns with Your Business Goals
Diving right into the MarTech is quite tempting, however, you need to pull the breaks and first think about your needs before investing in new software tools and applications. Think about which aspects of your organization can improve from more data. And how can you analyze and integrate the new streams of information you’ll receive?
The framework that follows the buyer’s journey is one of the best ways to build your marketing tech stack.
While building your marketing tech stack, begin by technologies that have a track record of broad adoption and success. And if any tool doesn’t make much sense for your business, don’t hesitate to switch it out for a better one that makes more sense for your organization.
Few Things to Remember While Building your Marketing Stack
The type of business, company size, and your marketing strategy will determine which technologies are most important.
According to Forbes, every marketing tech stack should have five key features;
- Real-time information: Fast processing and real-time computing that allows you to gather real-time customer data and act on it.
- Data that offers attribution: It allows you to easily attribute the success of your marketing campaigns to a specific marketing initiative.
- Integrations: Your marketing technology needs to work well together to be effective.
- A single source of data: All tools have some analytics component, however, to maintain the integrity of your data; you need a single data source that provides a complete customer view.
- Ability to engage with customers across several platforms: Technology that allows you to reach your customers anywhere at any time.
Building a marketing tech stack is like putting together a puzzle. You have to find the pieces that work well for your marketing initiatives and goals.
Technology isn’t a band-aid that you can just slap on a marketing ailment and then forget about it. Instead, think about each technology as part of your comprehensive health and wellness program. Together, your marketing technology stack can supplement, sustain, and improve your campaigns.