Nearly every single job you could think of utilizes tools. Whether physical instruments, software, or learned skills, tools are what we use to accomplish our jobs fast, easier, and better. For marketing and sales professionals, we call those tools your marketing tech stack.
What is a Marketing Tech Stack
A marketing technology stack, or martech stack, is the collection of marketing tools you use to accomplish marketing activities. These tools empower the scalable growth of sales and marketing functions and are often cloud or SAAS (software as a service) based. Typically these tools help automate manual tasks, simplify complex business processes, and/or carry out marketing tactics.
How to Choose the Right Marketing Tech Stack
As of 2019, there are over 7,000 martech platforms available to choose from. With that many options, you could literally subscribe to and cancel thousands of tools before finding the right ones for your organization. So how do you pick the right marketing tech stack? Well, our framework follows the marketing and sales workflow: planning, attracting leads, converting awareness into opportunity, nurturing opportunity to customers and repeat customers, and finally reporting and automating. The more categories you can stitch together under one umbrella, the less you end up with a dreaded Frankenstack. Here’s what to look for in each category.
Tools for Marketing Planning
Planning how to tackle your tasks often consumes significant resources and time. Who is doing what? What day does it need to be done? The project management side of work can get incredibly complex, especially if you don’t have a system in place to hold people accountable and provide transparency. To bust out marketing calendars and the like, some people look to Excel or even handwritten schedules. Technology has a much better way though. Look for tools that provide the framework and ability to automate or add efficiency to planning processes. Simple things like ways to curate content to review it in one place or connecting an editorial calendar to publishing schedules can increase efficiency and reduce last-minute deadline crunches.
When building your marketing tech to help with planning, ask:
- Do I need integrations with other tools?
- How do I want to view my plans – in a list? Calendar? Something else?
- How easy can I remove or add people to the tool, to individual projects, or to individual tasks? How granular do I need to get?
Tools for Attraction and Conversion
The highest level goal of any marketing initiative is to grow awareness and drive demand. Awareness is typically built through three means – paid, owned, and earned/shared media. You want tools that allow you to carry out a strategy that brings potential leads within each of those buckets. They may be a tool to publish content (a CMS), something that helps you find earned media opportunities, a social publishing tool, etc.
Once you’ve brought the leads in, how will you convert them? Your tech should help fulfill whatever success looks like to your company- a form filled out, a cart checkout, an app download, a click to call, a donation, etc.. Your goals here will largely dictate the tools you pick.
Consider asking these questions:
- What are the functions of my website? My current CMS? Have I used them to their full capabilities yet or do I need additional tools?
- Again, consider integrations. If you need data from a form to be added to your CRM, ensure you can integrate to avoid manual work.
- What are the gaps in the current processes? Where am I spending the most time?
- How are we tracking, monitoring, and improving marketing efforts? Do the tools I’m looking at implementing provide the insights I need?
Tools for Nurturing and Selling
Depending on how your organization is structured, nurturing may live with marketing or sales. Tech for lead nurturing looks like tools where you can create workflows or drip campaigns, sales sequences, and advanced targeting. You want the marketing technology that helps drive new and repeat sales.
Once that sale is in, your martech stack should also aid in moving contacts from the marketing process to the sales process, for tracking and reporting. Whether you use a funnel, a flywheel or any other term – it’s more important that there is a handoff and metric that can clearly feed your reporting. Otherwise, when it comes time to close the loop on how marketing is contributing or how is the revenue team collaborating, you’ll be out of luck.
Sales tools can also have a lot of bloat. We’re looking at you, CRM.
It’s important that you have strong sales and marketing alignment so you are capturing the most important information all through the customer lifecycle – and nothing more – and not 9 versions of the same thing. Again, your reporting will thank you.
Before getting starting, ask:
- What tools will help with my sales and marketing alignment?
- How do my teams currently work together? How do I envision using martech to improve that?
- What type of transparency do I want in the sales pipelines?
Tools for Analytics and Automation
Finally, analytics and automation. This category may seem like a bit of a catch-all but it’s the glue that connects everything. The technologies here serve one of three purposes. First, to deliver insights about any of our various marketing touchpoints or databases via a set of analytics. Second, provide optimization via testing, personalization, or data visualization. Third, and finally, leverage automation apps and tools to create a connection between other pillars above, tools, or data sets.
Related Reading: Sales & Marketing Automation: What it is & what it can do for B2B
Try as you might, you will almost always inevitably end up with data coming from a few sources. You can either put together manual reports, be lucky enough to have an in-house data team, or pull in a data dashboarding tool like Databox.
A few things to consider:
- Are there any of the tools in any of the categories above that may have automation capabilities themselves (or serve across multiple categories- i.e. tools like Hubspot).
- What data is important for my organization?
- Do I need a dashboarding tool to streamline data sources?’
- Who will actually analyze the data and how will it be used?
Benefits of Martech
When you implement a marketing technology stack, you’re building the framework for everything mentioned above. The tools you decide to use are the bones of your strategy. In many ways, they enable your team to take your marketing to the next level. This includes:
- Marketing automation and reduction of manual work
- Increased lead generation and the ability to nurture leads
- More impactful analytics, insights, and reports
- Better aligned sales and marketing teams
- Streamlined processes and the simplification of complex operations
- Ability to generate and carry out a comprehensive strategy
Key Takeaways for Building a Marketing Tech Stack
Again, we want to reiterate that there are many marketing tech tools that provide solutions across these categories. Find them. Use them. Integrate them. Layout your goals, ask the important questions and map out your strategy before you subscribe to every Freemium platform available. By doing so, you’ll create an environment for efficiency, more impactful insights, and better alignment. Plus, we bet you’ll actually end up using all those tools.