Have you heard the term “marketing technology stack” inserted into conversations often lately? It seems to be the newest marketing trend that’s taking over the digital marketing world, but do you know exactly what it is and how to set it up for your business? And what’s the use of having one? In this article, we’re going to address all these doubts and also tell you why marketers are investing more in the stack and have a look at some common frameworks and examples so that you can build a stack of your own.
To define it marketing stack or Martech stack is just a bunch of technology-based tools that marketers can use to execute marketing activities efficiently and effectively across a number of channels. For example, when you use analytics tools like Google Analytics or Kissmetrics or the Google keyword planner or simply use a grammar checking tool to check your content, all these tools form a part of your marketing stack.
Now there are several different types of tools across a various departments and your marketing technology stack depends on the size and needs of your business.
And what really is the need for a marketing stack?
As modern marketers, you cannot use the “one-size-fits-all” kind of promotional messaging; you’ll need to deliver personalized and relevant content to your customers to ensure leads are converted and your company’s overall bottom lines are met. And this is why you’ll need a stack of tools in your kitty to help you; the tools within the stack help you get the right message in front of the right customers and at the right time. This is why it so important to have a marketing stack, basically it means your business has a better ROI and a more satisfied customer base. And because marketing Technology stack is not a fad and here to stay you will need to dig into the details and build a stack of your own so that your efficiency is improved and you are a step ahead of your competitors.
That doesn’t mean you look around the Internet, download the tools which are the most popular and just employee them in your business; remember each company is unique and has its own needs and objectives to be met which is why your marketing stack should also be unique and structured to meet the needs of your company. And the marketing stack is not just about downloading the tools, you need to implement them in the different departments in your company like sales, Business Development or customer service, the data collected from these departments will give you an insight into what tools work and what don’t and from there on you can decide which of these tools can be part of your stack and which need to be replaced. Also, pay attention to organising your stack according to the different tools and the way you would use them.
Key layers that a brilliant Martech stack should have.
Now we’ve already discussed the different technologies that you would use and how you would organize them in your stack depending on the type of business.
Do you sell your products or services in a B2B or B2B market? This is your biggest variable for your stack and each business employs different channels and technologies to get customers, convert leads into new customers and retain them. Having said that, whether you are a B2C or B2B company there are a set of foundational tools that should always be part of your stack, each one of these should be such that they serve a critical purpose to ensure that your business operation is efficient.
Here’s a list of foundational tools that should be part of every marketing stack.
Content management system – you need at least one of these tools to manage the content on your website, blog or other web properties where you market your business online. Check for example WordPress, about 30% of the Internet is now powered by WordPress. It is important for your company to have a content management system because it’s easier for the non-technical members of your team to log in to a website and make any changes necessary to important marketing materials without messing with any code.
Advertising Technology – To drive search engine marketing, retargeting, display advertisements, social PPC and campaign tracking, the tools in this part of your marketing stack is critical. Basically, it is a part of customer acquisition.
The Internet is full of different Technologies that are part of this category the ones that you commonly will come across platforms like Google AdWords, Bing ads, AdRoll and Facebook power editor.
Conversion Technology – converting traffic into leads and customers is what these tools are used for and you’ll find that Bounce and Crazy Egg are commonly used tools for conversion technology.
Email and social media – for any business email is the most critical communication channel, depending on your business you can choose tools like Infusionsoft or MailChimp. The level of complexity is based on the needs of your business.
Social media tools are necessary to improve your audience, monitor the activity and engagement and automate content distribution and also measure the performance of the channel. Who hasn’t heard of running ads on channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram to launch, manage and measure social PPC campaigns?
Customer relationship management – tools like HubSpot and Salesforce are useful in tracking all your customer relationships and provide valuable insights into their buying journey.
Search Engine Optimisation – your marketing strategy is always tightly intertwined with SEO, which makes it doubly important to have tools to drive SEO in your marketing efforts because this is a strategy that can drive organic traffic to a website. You need tools to help with keyword research, content analysis, link and citation building, keyword tracking another SEO initiatives that form part of your marketing efforts.
Web Analytics – web analytics provides data-driven direction to all your ongoing efforts and also helps in measuring the performance of your marketing and sales activities, the most commonly used web Analytics tool is Google Analytics which is also free.
Collaboration – To make sure your projects are managed more efficiently your team needs to communicate among themselves often, Tech tools like slack, Trello, and Asana are really helpful here.
Now that we have a list of foundational tools that should be part of your marketing stack let’s work on building a framework for the same.
Companies often make the mistake of starting off by downloading the tool that solves their most critical need at that point of time and from there on the start building up and mostly at the end will end up with several thousand tools leading to a big mess of data that is not only redundant but at a significant cost which could be avoided in the first place why starting with a framework you go ahead and invest in any kind of technology. Aligning your marketing stack with your business’ marketing needs like planning, analytics, automation and also with the buyer journey makes for the easiest framework to get started and also translates well across industries.
When you design your marketing technology stack use these 6 key buckets and design it around them.
Planning, awareness comma conversions, promote and nurture and finally, sales.
Any marketing venture that we undertake is time-bound and when we sit down to plan usually it consumes a significant amount of resources and time. But whole planning process can be automated and made more efficient with the help of technology. For example, you can reduce the number of newsletter subscription the clog your inboxes by simply looking for ways to curate content and review it in one place.
The main objective of any marketing initiative is to spread awareness about its product or business and drive demand for it. So here all the tools you are looking for are either paid, owned, earned or shared media and you can add any extra categories that make sense to your business/product, like referrals from industry giants. Keep in mind that you only want to add tools that help you in achieving your objectives and your bucket and not clog it up.
Here we are looking at tools or technologies that can get a successful event; for example, a form filled out, checking out items in your cart, downloading an App, click to call, email subscription or maybe even a donation, basically stuff that is crucial to your business. And of course, I need to take a few common things into consideration here, for example, the function of your website and CMS, landing page tools, or any tools you use on-site or app interactions.
Promote and nurture
Your business will need the users to come back, repeat a purchase or give a slight push to someone further down the sales funnel to ensure a potential sale so you could look at including at least an email category and remarketing category.
Every business needs sales and to help improve the sales you want to need the help of a few tools as well. Which tool should be selected specifically based on your workflows and business needs it could be a mix of different sales enablement tools with an automation tool included to move data to and fro various sources to keep a clean and updated Central database.
And now there’s another pillar you’ll need to get tools for, analytics, automation and optimization.
Well it is a big category with lots of tools included but this is the link that will connect everything. The tools here should be able to deliver insights about the various marketing touchpoints, data bases using a set of analytics and using testing personalization or data visualisation to provide optimisation and finally make use of automation apps in tools to create a connection between the other pillars tools or sets of data.
Once you have a rough outline of the areas that you are looking to build a stack across you are ready to build on your framework and once you finish with your framework you need to organise your marketing stack.
Let’s get that stack organised, shall we?
An organised and focused team
Get your team organised and focused on the objective Now use your team’s collaborative power and boost it with software that facilitates better communication and project tracking.
Get your message right
You and your team should communicate the right message to the right target customer at the right time. Create some unique content; an engaging story about your business or your product if you will, which will keep your target customers hooked and don’t hesitate to use tools here, tools help you work through the content creation process efficiently.
First learn to operate the basic channels
Every marketing campaign used to drive growth and there are several exciting tools to make this happen but your focus should be on mastering the basic channels such as email, social, web, search and offline first. All those new age tools and tactics like chariots might distract you into employing them but if you haven’t figured out the simple channels it’s not going to be much use.
Testing and retesting
You need to keep testing and retesting the tools that you are using to check the performance of your existing channels and optimise them. When you are testing that often you get some great insights into whether all these new initiatives that you have undertaken and the tools that you have employed are really effective.
Win the customer over
When a customer has a positive experience it will always drive them back to you, so you need to strive to make the make sure the customer has a magical experience. Well customer feedback is but sometimes you can totally surprise them by making some radical changes, don’t be afraid to take risks but also ensure that these changes are positive.
Now if come to the end of the article here is a pro tip – you can digest all this information and implement it as you will and if you are a beginner don’t get overwhelmed by the excess information; just take it slow, experiment as you go ahead and within no time you will have built a formidable marketing technology stack of your own. Just remember to share your ideas and invite feedback and update your stack.
And before we conclude we are going to leave you a few examples off of brilliant marketing stacks from industry giants.
1.Have a look at Bizible’s marketing technology stack.
2. Acquia has a cleanly organized marketing stack with each application or platform organized into it’s appropriate category based on their role.
2. In Uberflip’s marketing stack the base is formed by platforms while the other applications are connected from the top. Additional components and functionality to support special role-based activities are provided by the application on the top layer.