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4 Steps to Implementing Marketing Automation Within Your Tech Stack

Did you know that the average company uses around 22 different tools in their martech stack? What’s more, most employ an integrated multi-system architecture in which various systems are connected to either a marketing automation platform, a CRM, or a customer database. With so many tools and systems in operation, it’s no wonder that 48 percent of marketers find integrations challenging, much less the successful implementation of marketing automation. However, the effort you put into overcoming the challenges of integrating marketing automation into your marketing technology (martech) stack is worthwhile, especially when you consider that marketing automation typically produces these results:

  • 80% increase in leads
  • 77% increase in engagement and conversions
  • 14% increase in sales productivity
  • 12% reduction in expenses

The Lowdown on Lackluster Performance

If you feel that your current approach to marketing automation isn’t living up to the hype, you are not alone. Over half (54%) of marketers say they are NOT using marketing automation to its full potential; and more than a quarter (26%) maintain they are not sure whether or not they are maximizing the ROI of their marketing automation system. If you aren’t in the confident group of 20 percent of marketers, who are optimizing the performance of their marketing automation strategy like a boss, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s blog, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take in order to implement marketing automation within your stack.

The Mall and Marketing Automation’s Place In Your Martech Stack

A brilliant analyst firm called Real Story Group developed the current theory of the Shopping Mall Marketing Automation Platform Model. In this scenario, your martech stacks looks like a shopping mall map with multiple anchor platforms and tools, of which marketing automation is one. Other anchor tools may include the CRM [Customer Relationship Management system], CDP [Customer Data Platform], data warehouse, ABM tools, etc. In addition to the anchors, there are a bunch of other tools working in conjunction with the anchor platforms. What’s important to note is that there is data sitting in every one of these tools. This model, which is what most marketers use today, has data coming and going in every direction.

Step 1: Enhance the Performance of Your Martech Stack By Making Integrations a Priority

With so much data on the move within your martech stack, it’s easy to see how modern martech integrations must move toward multi-platform, real-time data connectivity. Because data is flowing into and out of a wide variety of systems, it requires much more than syncing data between two platforms. Marketers need to orchestrate their data, content and technologies in order to automate a dynamic customer journey—and the only way to accomplish this goal is through smarter integrations. In short, integrations are your key to success when it comes to creating and operating a lean, mean, and fully-automated martech machine.

Make Integrations a Part of Your Decision-Making Process

According to Chief Martec, when people evaluate new marketing technology, their top two concerns are 1) external integrations and 2) internal integrations. In fact, the ability to integrate is more important to marketers than cost, time and ease of use. If you’re thinking about integrations after you have purchased new technology, you are placing your martech stack—and your overall marketing goals—at a real disadvantage. Integrations need to be an integral part of your decision-making process, so make it a priority to include them in that process.

Step #2: Take a Martech Stack & Integrations Inventory

Take an inventory of your current martech platforms and their integrations. The reason it is important to document integrations is because they are integral to your stack functioning at peak levels and your campaigns and customer journeys coming off as seamless and well-played. As you take inventory, be sure to note challenges and identify goals, such as enabling more use capabilities. List all systems you have, what integration types they use, and whether or not the integrations are functional or have gaps that need to be filled. Outline any steps you need to take to fill gaps, as well as functionalities and capabilities you would like to have. Use the table below to document your current martech inventory and start the processes needed to get you from where you are today to where you would like to be in the future.

Martech Stack & Integrations Inventory Table

PlatformIntegration TypeCurrent StateChallengesGoals
MarketoAPI 2-way syncFully functional  
WebsiteForm Submits   
Twilio SMSWebhook   

Step 3 Connect Your Marketing Automation Platform to Everything In Your Stack

Once you have outlined the current state of your stack, as well as where you want to go, it’s time to prioritize next steps. One of the most critical moves you can make at this juncture is to connect your marketing automation platform to EVERY LAST SINGLE primary and secondary tool in your martech stack. While that may seem like a big undertaking, a good journey orchestration tool will simplify this process by equipping you with an integration framework, and a variety of built-in and customizable integrations that even non-technical marketers will find easy to use. In addition, this one move alone will empower you to accomplish several other mission-critical goals, including:

  • Streamlining marketing and sales efforts
  • Improving the customer experience
  • Enhancing sales enablement
  • Boosting customer engagement
  • Reducing time-consuming manual steps for your marketing ops team

Step 4: Pursue All 3 levels of Integrations

As you implement marketing automation throughout your stack, it’s wise to do it in stages. In marketing, there are three levels of integration, which we will define below:

  1. Basic Integrating with marketing automation in order to enhance marketing data quality, a.k.a.Data Orchestration. At this level, all data sources across your enterprise are connected and sharing clean, complete and enriched data. This in turn ensures that campaigns are sent to the right people using the right information and customer preferences, which boosts performance, results and ultimately sales.
  2. Intermediate — Integrating with marketing automation in order to send content on-demand and gain insights via data and campaign analytics, a.k.a. Message Orchestration. At this level, you leverage the high-quality data you achieved at the Basic level and pair it with the right message, sent on the right channel, to the right customer. By integrating content stored in various tools with your data, and connecting with both new and existing channels, you enable your martech stack to achieve the goal of scaling high-performance personalized campaigns. This is the stage at which you use automation to engage in Account-Based Marketing (ABM).
  3. Advanced — Integrating with marketing automation in order to create a seamless and highly personalized customer journey, where-in targeted cross-channel campaigns are sent in real-time, a.k.a. Journey Orchestration. This level is the apex of marketing automation in that your stack is operating on a near autonomous level. At this stage, your stack is able to get the right data at the right time to and from the right component parts of your stack, and trigger highly personalized campaigns across multiple channels—creating an intuitive and friction-free customer journey.