The advent of the new year typically inspires marketers to embrace a will to change and a desire to grow. In our technology-driven world, it’s no wonder we look to our marketing technology, a.k.a. martech, to help us reach the lofty heights of our dreams. After all, why put in blood, sweat and tears, attempting to make campaigns take flight, when you can put your endless ascent on autopilot? To help you check off more boxes on your way to becoming a marketing marvel, we’ve gathered a list of the top 10 tools we believe will help you grow in every way in 2023. From greater engagement rates and higher quality data, to more leads generated, increased campaign performance, and more, here are our recommendations for the best martech tools for growth in 2023.
#1: Customer Data Platforms
Data is the essential building block of all successful marketing efforts. According to a recent interview Scott Brinker gave to eMarketer, “Investments in martech stacks are critical, and factors such as data centralization and integrations are high on marketers’ minds.” Given its foundational role, tools that manage data are among the most impactful when it comes to growth. Managing your company’s customer data, or first-party data, is vital to marketing operations, whether your concerns are complying with data governance legislation or surviving in a future where cookies are no longer allowed.
A customer data platform (CDP) collects your customer’s data, centralizes access to this data, and maintains current and accurate customer profiles. Oracle Marketing Cloud and Cience are two robust CDPs that many successful B2B marketers rely on to help them build and maintain customer lists comprised of high-quality data, which is crucial to enhancing the performance of all marketing endeavors.
#2: Customer Data Orchestration
Keeping data clean, current, and complete becomes more complex once data leaves a CDP and travels to other connected tools, platforms, and data sources in a stack. A data orchestration tool enables you to control how data is received, processed, shared, stored, and maintained throughout your martech ecosystem. More importantly, it ensures that all data that travels is of the highest quality and follows the standards you set. Regardless of whether data is being used to populate personalized campaigns, is being analyzed for weekly performance reports, or is engaged in some other use, it’s prepared to provide you with optimum results when you have a data orchestration tool in place.
#3: Customer Relationship Management System
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is essential to growth in that it gives you a real-time view of how customer relationships are progressing. These tools keep track of customer interactions and data, and allow the people in your organization involved in these relationships (sales, service, etc.) to share insights about each customer via notes. CRMs are essential to fostering thriving customer relationships because they allow for everyone in your organization to be on the same page with regards to where a customer is in their journey. Hubspot and Salesforce are both examples of best-in-class CRMs for B2B organizations.
#4: Marketing Automation Platform
Unless you’ve been in an underground bunker for the last five years with no outside contact, you are more than familiar with the thousands of testimonies of how Account Based Marketing (ABM) delivered ridiculously amazing results. In fact, WebFX recently shared these impressive stats for 2023:
- 208% is how much revenue can increase with an ABM strategy
- 170% is the average value increase of annual contracts produced by ABM
- 91% of companies using ABM increase their deal size, and 25% of those increase it over 50%
Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) are what make ABM possible in that they enable you to scale personalized campaigns, which would otherwise be impossible to do via the humans who make up your marketing operations team. How do MAPs do it? They empower you to automate all kinds of workflows and monotonous manual tasks, like email marketing, social media posts, SMS campaigns, etc. Beyond freeing your people to save time and streamline processes, they also position your business to grow by empowering you to deliver a truly personal customer experience. Marketo and Adobe Experience are both high-performance MAPs that make automation simple.
#5: Content Management System
In 1996, Bill Gates declared, “Content is king!” To date, no other marketing element has been able to push content off its throne. Perhaps this is because content, like data, is foundational. Every marketing piece you create requires content. That being said, it is critical to have a good Content Management System (CMS) in your martech stack. A CMS enables you to manage digital content throughout your martech ecosystem. With a CMS in place, your marketing teams can develop, edit, publish, and organize the content they use for a variety of marketing pieces, from ad campaigns and brochures, to white papers, videos, webinars and more. Moreover, a CMS centralizes content access, which enables your teams to collaborate more easily when creating digital content. Examples of popular CMS systems for B2Bs include, Optimizely and Hubspot.
#6: SMS/MMS Tool
Before you can grow your bottom line, you must first engage your current customers and prospects, which is why adding an SMS/MMS tool to your stack should be high on your priority list. No other martech tool is proven to deliver the engagement rates this little dynamo delivers. In fact, research has shown that:
- 60% of customers check their text message notifications within 1-5 minutes
- 75% of customers under the age of 44 prefer to contact a business via text
- SMS produces engagement rates that are 6 to 8 times higher than email alone
Look for an SMS tool that integrates well with the tools in your current martech stack, and one that enables you to automate the process of sending personalized text messages on-demand.
#7: Email Marketing Tool
Despite all predictions to the contrary over the last 10 years, email marketing remains a solid and reliable cornerstone in the modern marketer’s martech arsenal. In fact, current statistics show:
- 40% of B2B marketers say email marketing is critical to their success
- 79% of B2B marketers find email to be the most successful channel for content distribution
- 59% of B2B marketers cite email as their top channel for revenue generation
Of course, email has changed drastically in the last 10 years. Nowadays, the emails you send need to be short, personal, automated and highly relevant. Email is also a tool that produces the most growth when used in combination with other viable channels (like SMS/MMS), and as part of a well-coordinated multi-channel strategy. There are loads of great email marketing tools that empower you to enhance the performance of your email campaigns through automated personalization, and two we highly recommend for B2Bs include Hubspot and Oracle Responsys.
#8: Message Orchestration Tool
Coordinating personalized messages across multiple channels is perhaps the hardest part of executing a high-performance growth strategy. The easiest way to accomplish the goal of scaling personalized campaigns across a variety of channels is to use a message orchestration tool. As intuitive as it is indispensable, this tool serves as a major part of the equation in your ABM strategy by scanning all connected sources for appropriate content and automatically pulling it and placing it in the right campaign templates—at the right time—for the right customer. In addition to enabling you to scale personalized messages for customers and prospects, a message orchestration tool helps you to save money on content development by repurposing content for a variety of channels, from SMS and email, to direct mail, chat, voice and more.
#9: Social Media Management Tool
Everyone knows it is vital to growth to stay in communication with customers via the social channels they prefer, but this task can become untenable when the average customer switches between seven different social channels every day. This is why a social media management tool is essential to your success and peace of mind! These tools allow you to track your company’s social pages, and monitor and respond to customer interactions on each one using a centralized dashboard. In addition, they track important information like engagement, likes, followers and other critical numbers for all social sites you are on, and allow you to produce reports featuring easy-to-understand infographics. They also allow you to develop and schedule posts for all your social channels, optimize post times and keep track of past and present posts via an interactive calendar. A couple of the social media management tools that we think are both robust and easy to use are Sprout and Hootsuite.
#10: Customer Journey Orchestration
Perhaps no other tool has the power to impact growth as much as a customer journey orchestration tool. According to Forbes, 74 percent of customers are likely to buy based on experiences alone. Other statistics that support the notion that customer experience (CX) is a key component in producing growth, include:
- 80% of customers say the CX a company provides is as important as its products and services
- 86% of marketers say creating a cohesive customer journey across channels is critical to success
- 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience
A customer journey orchestration tool creates a cohesive customer experience by centralizing your view of and access to integrations for multiple systems, such as sales and marketing tech. It also has an intuitive workflow engine that triggers the launch of synchronized marketing campaigns. Because it empowers you to connect and coordinate the systems and tools in your martech stack and activate targeted communications across multiple channels and platforms in real-time, your customers will experience a seamless, engaging and personalized buying journey.