How to Build a Better Martech Stack
As the custom digital engine that wields the power to make or break your digital marketing strategy, your marketing technology stack, or martech stack, has a lot riding on it. It’s no wonder that it has become the subject of many a marketer’s time and budget. In fact, current research shows:
- 83% of marketers have replaced or upgraded a part of their martech stack in the past 12 months
- 26% of marketing spend is on martech, which is about the same amount spent on paid media and ad agencies
- $509.8bn is the current global value for the marketing technology industry
Marketers committed to delivering compelling customer journeys and scaling personalized campaigns are looking to the advanced technology of modern martech to help them accomplish these goals. Of course, it is the miracle of automation in combination with the right tools that makes the aforementioned marketing tasks possible. In order for brands to remain competitive and relevant, they must build and leverage an efficient and effective martech stack that enables them to reach and influence target customers where they are. Below we’ll discuss a few of the key components you should include when building your digital marketing technology stack.
What’s the Big Deal About Martech Stacks?
A martech stack is simply a collection of well-integrated (ideally) marketing technology tools that help you implement, analyze and improve your marketing strategies throughout your customer’s lifecycle. The goal of a martech stack is to:
- Improve Internal Collaboration: Share data, foster sales enablement, manage lead routing, etc.
- Measure Marketing Strategy Effectiveness: Engagement rates, campaign performance, etc.
- Reach More Customers: Measure Total Addressable Market (TAM), engage in cross-channel/ multi-channel marketing, etc.
Developing a Strategy for Building a Better Martech Stack
Marketing teams that employ martech effectively find success where others fail. Unfortunately, teams often dive into building martech stacks without thinking about the purpose of each tool and how it fits into their current strategy. If this is you, don’t feel bad. We’ve all been the victim of SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome. Who hasn’t spent thousands on a tool that does X, Y, Z, only to discover that you really never use X or Y and your old version of Z was easier to use? To help prevent you from falling prey to SOS, we’ve included our Ultimate Martech Checklist. You can use it to identify the tools that align with your specific business needs, instead of opting for what may appear to be the latest and greatest, but isn’t the greatest for you. After all, your martech stack is supposed to help you execute a strategy. It’s not a solution by itself.
THE ULTIMATE MARTECH CHECKLIST
- What overall business goal(s) will this solution help us meet? (List all that apply)
- What are the sales and marketing issues that this solution solves? (List all that apply)
- Will this solution integrate seamlessly with the other tech in my stack?
- If yes, are the integrations pre-built or will I need IT’s help?
- Is there an opportunity to build integrations if pre-built integrations are not available?
- What processes performed by this solution can be automated?
- What manual steps are required in order for my team to use this solution?
- What types of data will this solution gather?
- How can the data from this solution be used?
- What type of data does the solution use, i.e. first-party, second-party, third-party?
- What metrics are used to measure the overall performance of the solution?
- What metrics will demonstrate its impact on business objectives?
- How are insights gleaned and shared?
- Does the solution provide real-time reporting capabilities?
- Does this solution have cross-channel capabilities?
- If yes, are the capabilities built-in or do they require additional tools and integrations?
- How does the solution secure customer and business data?
- What happens if there is a breach?
- Does the solution require training?
- If yes, how is it provided, on-site or online?
- If there is an issue, how are problems resolved?
- What is the average timeline for resolving an issue?
- How is ongoing maintenance performed?
- What companies are currently using this solution?
- How are they using the solution? (case studies)
- What is the initial investment required?
- What are the ongoing costs?
- Are there other costs that need to be considered?
Adopting New Martech Into Your Marketing Family
Once you choose to purchase a tool to add to your martech stack, it’s important to have a plan to implement its usage. Knowing how to properly adopt marketing technology will prevent you from wasting money by investing in technology that your marketing team will not use. For actionable insights on how to develop an effective adoption plan, check out our blog, 5 Steps to Fostering Marketing Technology Adoption.
Anatomy of a Martech Stack
While there is no one-size-fits-all martech stack solution, there are certain technologies that form the basis of all martech stacks. These technologies address issues that all marketers face, including:
- Attracting Customers
- Engaging Customers
- Analyzing Performance
- Optimizing the Customer Journey
Tools that address these issues should form the key components in your company’s martech stack. Now, let’s look at nine of the basic building blocks of a modern martech stack.
9 BUILDING BLOCKS OF A MODERN MARTECH STACK
Building Block #1: Data Orchestration System
The cornerstone of every great marketing strategy is firmly grounded in the highest quality data possible—and the only way to get and maintain high quality data is via a data orchestration solution. This tool enables you to control and automate processes that govern how data is received, processed, shared and maintained. It also ensures that your marketing campaigns use only clean, complete, standardized and enriched data to personalize campaigns.
Building Block #2: Content Management System
Marketing is all about getting the word out to current and potential customers about your products and services. As such, content creation is at the heart of every marketing strategy. Without regular blog posts, SMS and email campaigns, etc., your brand is virtually voiceless. Enter the Content Management System (CMS). A CMS allows you to give different levels of permissions to multiple people to manage the places where your marketing content is published. This enhances efficiency and empowers others on your team to produce and publish relevant content.
Building Block #3: Message Orchestration Tool
Although sending personalized messages to everyone on your marketing list may seem like a daunting task, the automated magic of a message orchestration tool is what makes it all possible, and more importantly—EASY! When connected to data storehouses throughout your organization (i.e. CMS, RSS, DAMs), this tool automates the process of pulling the right data for personalized campaigns from sources throughout your organization and placing it in the right template. It can also automate the process of sending messages on-demand, which is great for nurture campaigns.
Building Block #4: Customer Relationship Management
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools allow you to manage and track the interactions you are having with customers. A good CRM is vital for not only nurturing leads, but retaining customers through better managed relationships. There are dozens of CRM tools on the market today. The key to finding the right solution for your company comes down to how it will integrate with the other tools and systems you use to orchestrate your business needs.
Building Block #5: Marketing Automation Platform
Automating your marketing efforts should be at the core of your strategy. A Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) helps you streamline processes, create an intuitive and friction-free customer experience, and remove bottlenecks from other connected systems. A study by the Annuitas Group found that companies using marketing automation to nurture prospects see a 451% increase in qualified leads, and those leads typically make purchases 47% larger than their non-nurtured counterparts.
Building Block #6: Email Marketing Tool
Despite its age in the digital marketing space, email remains a relevant, highly effective and productive marketing tool. A good email marketing platform will ensure that your brand stays connected to its audience and customers, so it’s important to have a good one in your martech stack. Ideally you want one with solid analytical capabilities so you can gain insights on the performance of your email campaigns and make adjustments on-the-fly.
Building Block #7: Social Media Management Tool
Your target audience and current customers are all active on multiple social media platforms, which means you need to actively track the performance of all your social media campaigns. More importantly, you need to be ready to make adjustments to campaigns on-demand based on the data your social media management tool reveals. While there are a number of great tools available, the one that works best for you will depend on your goals, strategy, and the channels your customers prefer to use.
Building Block #8: Web Analytics Tool
Your website is the face of your brand, and the place where most interactions between your business and customers will occur. As such, you need to have a web analytics tool in your stack that enables you to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and strategies. A good analytics tool will give you insights into how customers are finding and behaving on your site. This, in turn, will enable you to develop messages and campaigns that engage customers and drive sales.
Building Block #9: Customer Journey Platform
Creating a cohesive and rewarding customer experience requires the seamless integration of multiple martech tools, which is the primary function of a good customer journey orchestration platform. As the backbone of a truly effective martech stack, a customer journey tool works in tandem with all other tools to coordinate the launch of synchronized marketing campaigns, and activate hyper-targeted messages across multiple channels and platforms in real-time. A cost-effective solution, a good customer journey orchestration platform adds immeasurable value to a martech stack by enabling marketers to use their existing tools to build and deploy customer journeys that leverage multiple channels intelligently.
Consider a Hybrid Tech Approach
A well-designed martech stack allows you to achieve marketing goals with greater speed, efficiency and insight. It also empowers you to streamline and automate processes for both people and technology. When building your stack, consider starting with the essentials and grow from there. Keep experimenting with various technologies to find the ones that work best for you. Of course, if you need help building a better martech stack, or simply want to get more value from the technology you have already invested in, talk to us. We offer both tools and experienced teams (our hybrid tech approach) that are well versed in turning ho-hum martech stacks into lean, mean marketing-goal-slaying machines!