Your Definitive Guide to a Successful Marketing Technology Stack
In 2017, marketing technology took off when no one expected it. The Martech 5000, a properly-named group of 5,000 companies, competed for the best marketing tech stacks.
More than 2,000 vendors joined the revolution by 2020. These companies were fighting over 7,000 vendors that were pushing marketing management tools like never before.
These innovations and arguments shot the industry to a value of $121 billion. Furthermore, it survived and thrived during the economic downfall of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic itself furthered digital transformation. Today’s estimates project that the coronavirus sped up digital transformation by more than six years.
The marketing technology stack has redefined the vision in the workplace for customer service. To learn more about the revolution, keep reading.
What Is a Marketing Technology Stack?
Marketing technology stacks are also known as martech stacks. It is a group of technologies that marketers across thousands of companies have been using.
These technologies help optimize and augment marketing processes. Marketers can use them across the customer lifecycle. In other words, marketers have been using martech stacks to make their jobs easier.
Marketing technologies give marketers a wide range of tools to work with. Each tool offers unique benefits:
- They make communication within the company easier and more convenient
- They provide profound, more detailed analyses of marketing techniques and campaigns
- They communicate with customers at the right time
The marketing technology stack is full of innovations and improvements in the field of marketing. As of now, it remains the single most influential and transformative tool for marketers in the industry.
Innovative martech stacks include tools for a shared inbox, email marketing, drip email campaigns, landing pages, and much more.
Kinds of Martech Stacks
Experts have developed tons of marketing technologies over time. Marketers have broken the technologies into a few main categories. Keep these categories in mind as you’re creating your marketing stack.
For a balance martech stack, you should draw from each of these categories.
These marketing technologies fall under customer acquisition focus on online marketing, partner marketing, event marketing, and website optimization. These martech tools fall mostly under a live chat category, email list software to send email newsletters, tools to create a landing page, and email automation through an email drip campaign.
As the label suggests, these kinds of tasks all revolve around bringing customers to your website. By gaining exposure, your company can develop leads and then customers.
Take the time to develop your marketing and optimize your website. In turn, you’ll be able to make sales and build customer relationships.
Brand and Communications
To develop and grow customer relationships with new and existing customers, you need consistent branding and clear communication. Marketing technologies that fall in this category care for social media, public relations, sponsorships, and broadcast advertising.
The more your company reaches out onto other platforms, the more people you can make connections with. Hopefully, these individuals will become familiar with your business and turn into customers.
Technologies in this category can help you monitor your analytics on these platforms. With the analytic features, you’ll see how well your digital marketing strategy is working. Then, you can make changes as needed.
Once your business has made a product or comes up with a service, it’s important to announce and actively market it. Without a proper marketing plan, you may not see the return on investment that you were planning on.
These marketing technologies fall under this category focus on product or service marketing, analyst relations, and content marketing.
Most notable is content marketing. Lately, content marketing has become more favorable by customers. It allows companies to give educational content alongside its promotional content.
Customers feel like they’re learning rather than being sold something. Even if the product or service isn’t the main subject of a blog post, your company can make sales through effective content marketing.
Invest in an effective marketing tool that can help your company test the effectiveness of different strategies. You may see a higher return on investment and greater customer engagement.
The last subject area in martech is marketing operations. This is the most important category for your marketers.
With a successful marketing operations plan, your marketers can make better decisions with their data.
Marketing technologies that fall under this category include campaign performance and data analysis.
These technologies will help your marketing team see whether their plans are bringing the results they expect. If the analytics are less than favorable, your marketing team can take the necessary steps to change their strategy.
Why Marketers Develop Martech Stacks
Marketing technology is constantly changing and evolving. Experts are creating new software and platforms every day. With these constant changes, marketers feel like they need to stay ahead.
One of the best ways to organize marketing technologies is through a marketing technology stack. Martech stacks make planning marketing strategies easier. They can help you see technologies work best with their business.
It also makes it easier to see which technologies are affecting your business positively or negatively. Overall, marketers depend on martech stacks to organize their marketing technologies. They make it easier to make and meet marketing goals.
Martech Stacks: Trends for 2021
As martech stacks have become more popular, more and more people have picked up on them. This means that more effective trends have been growing within the industry.
We should note that companies using martech stacks are not constantly jumping to the next innovation. Switching between existing marketing campaigns would not be beneficial. Instead, it may hurt the company’s strategy as it has to change strategies constantly.
Avoid jumping from strategy to strategy. To avoid this, companies have been working on optimizing the martech stacks they already have. Their goal in doing this is to attract and engage customers in more personal ways than they had been before. Optimizing existing software makes this easier.
Given the current economic climate, companies avoiding new technologies are not surprising. However, martech stacks remain underused. In fact, according to Gartner, marketers only leveraged 58% of their marketing technology stacks. Consequently, they’re missing out on the potential of the technology. Now, the industry is working on pulling all of the opportunities that they can in 2021.
Even among the pandemic’s uncertainty, marketers are pushing to do more and more with these technologies.
Streamlining Marketing Campaigns
The uncertainties of the pandemic and the underutilization of martech stacks met. Now, marketing leaders are pushing for more value than ever. The goal is to get the most out of these martech stacks while spending the least amount of money possible.
While this is a common goal this year, many companies have no idea how to approach it. Too many marketers are relying on technologies to solve their problems. They should be using technologies to scale the solutions.
Though, if you rely on technology solely, you’re not going to see any return on investment soon. You’ll be negatively impacting your return on investment (ROI) and slowing down your operations overall. If you solve the problem and let the technology deliver and scale the solution, you’re more likely to get things done. More and more companies realize this in 2021.
Using martech software strategically can help industry professionals. They can enhance the technology they already have, i.e., they don’t have to invest in more technologies.
The truth is that companies who are spending money on new technologies are likely wasting their money. Most companies aren’t using their existing technologies to their fullest potential. It’s essential for companies to work on maximizing the technologies they have in 2021.
Using Flexible Platform Ecosystems
Another 2021 trend focuses on enhancing existing platform ecosystems.
Overall, this strategy will enable tools that work well together. At the same time, it will encourage the collaboration of cross-functional teams. Plus, it will increase the efficiency of marketing operations.
There are plenty of options for customizable solutions. These offer specializations that put application programming interfaces (APIs) first. But, many companies become hazed by these options.
Even with all of these solutions, you need to stay focused. Look at how you’re going to use your existing marketing technology stack to meet your company’s goals. Use API-focused platforms to encourage flexibility within your strategy. With these platforms, you can share information between tools, systems, and channels effortlessly. In turn, you’ll be able to meet customer expectations more than ever before.
All in all, you should be looking at your current technologies first. Don’t jump for new technologies. Realized the full potential of the technologies that you’re currently investing in.
Once you feel that you’ve used the technology you have to its maximum potential, you can explore other technologies.
As you’re looking for new technologies, keep your eyes peeled for API-first tools. With the flexibility of API tools, you’ll be able to become more customer-focused as a company.
Personalizing and Automating the Customer Experience
Personalization has been growing as a priority among marketers. Especially in 2021, personalization in marketing campaigns is more critical than ever.
Companies are investing more and more into tools that provide a seamless customer experience. More specifically, companies are investing in automated systems. These make it easier to connect with customers on a deeper level.
Industry experts are personalizing and automating their websites. They want to make more personalized experiences for visitors and customers alike. By doing so, they’ll make the customer journey better right from the very beginning.
By focusing more on the customer journey and making that journey more enjoyable, marketers see a better return. Plus, they’re using more and better data to make increasingly personalized content. Because of the data they’ve gathered, marketers can then deliver the right content to the right people at the right time.
Personalization and automation tactics have also changed in light of the pandemic. Customer behavior has changed because of the economic and social changes that came with the events of 2020. Now, marketers are more focused on reaching their customers at any point in time.
Customers value on-demand content, i.e., marketers have to give customers what they want when they want it. Before this, marketers could dangle content in between the hours of nine and five.
Putting the Strategy First
Many marketers make the mistake of putting technology first. Unfortunately, technology can’t solve all of our problems. It’s not perfect.
The technology that marketers are using requires effective people and processes to balance it. When you’re going to implement technology, you can’t assume it’s a strategy.
To be clear, buying technology is not a strategy. Instead, it’s a tool that you and your team can use to implement strategies. But, it is not a strategy in itself.
Too many people depend on what sellers say that their technology can do. They don’t think about how the technology can fit into their workplace. The easiest way to do this is by matching up the technology to your strategy. Hence, you’re putting your marketing strategy first.
Putting the Technology Second
When you’re faced with a workplace problem, you should always make sure that you don’t already have the solution at hand. Look at the technologies you’re currently using and see if your current martech stack can adapt any of those to fix your current problem.
Then, if you can’t find any current technologies that fix your problem, you can begin exploring new technologies. We suggest looking for a replacement for the technology that you’re currently using. Perhaps you can find a system that can handle the work you’re now doing and the work you want to do.
It’s all about making the marketing strategy before identifying the technology you’re going to approach the problem with.
The Anatomy of a Marketing Technology Stack
Martech stacks look different for each business that uses them. It’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of product. Instead, each company has to look at its technology needs.
More specifically, your business has to evaluate which kind of technologies you find essential. Plus, it would be best if you looked at how you should organize those technologies.
For example, B2C and B2B companies are going to need very different technologies. In turn, they’re going to have other processes with those technologies.
There are four key stages that you should consider for your martech stacks:
- Stage One: Attract
- Stage Two: Engage
- Stage Three: Analyze
- Stage Four: Optimize
Both B2B and B2C marketers can find commonalities among these stages as they will both encounter them as they’re generating leads. 58% of marketers consider lead generation one of the most challenging skills. Another reason that marketers use martech stacks.
Every business is going to have a different martech stack based on its needs and priorities. However, some essential characteristics remain the same from stack to stack.
Let’s look at some of the critical kinds of tools and technologies that your business may want to implement.
Content Management System (CMS)
Content management systems are popular among all kinds of businesses. Content management systems are a saving grace. It can help marketers run a website, integrate a blog, sell online products, and more.
A CMS makes it easy for non-technical individuals to make changes to their website, blog, and digital content as they see fit. Even if they want to upload more content, a CMS makes this easy.
All companies need some sort of advertising system. Usually, advertising tools refer to paid advertising options that companies use to get their name out there.
The best advertising tools are those that allow you to integrate your marketing technology stack, including famous programs like Google AdWords and Bing Ads.
Besides, you want to make sure that your advertising tools allow you to track and measure your advertisements’ success.
Conversion tools are those programs that make it easier to track leads. In turn, companies can turn leads into customers faster and easier than ever before.
Converting visitor traffic is the base of any successful company. Therefore, most companies are going to benefit from conversion tools that make this easier.
Some conversion tools focus on picking visitors that would make good leads. Others focus on converting those leads into customers. Both steps are essential to bringing more customers to a business.
Some people believe that email marketing is dead. But, it remains one of the most effective marketing techniques. Software for effective marketing campaigns helps businesses keep up. They can organize all of the leads and customers that they’re trying to communicate with.
Plus, these kinds of platforms allow businesses to keep up with analytics. Business owners can see whether or not their emails are successful. They’re working on building customer relationships and making sales.
Overall, email marketing allows companies to make announcements easily. If you want to get the most out of email marketing, you should segment your customers. Dividing your customers by their interests and needs will make it easier for you to send the right kind of content to their inboxes.
Remember, relevancy matters. If you’re sending generic emails to every customer, you’re not likely to see much from your email marketing strategy.
Every business should have multiple social media channels these days. Social media is where most of today’s audience receives their advertising and interaction.
However, managing multiple social media channels at once can be a little much to handle. Social media automation systems like Hootsuite and Buffer make it easier to manage posts, comments, and analytics. They even allow companies to schedule their posts so that they can stay ahead of their content.
Having a central platform for your social media accounts is an excellent addition to any company’s martech stack. Keeping track of everything on your social media accounts may become a bit much, especially if you’re running a larger company.
Make sure that you do your research and find the best social media automation tool for your business.
Customer service matters more and more. Customers expect a more personalized approach from businesses like yours. Most of today’s consumers consider the quality of a brand’s customer service before choosing to remain loyal to a brand.
96% of customers consider customer service quality ahead of forming a loyalty to a brand. Your customer service team lends to the trustworthiness of your brand. They are the individuals who form long-lasting bonds with your customers and help them if they’re having trouble.
Today’s customer service professionals need to be accessible in multiple ways. From phone calls to chat widgets, customer service personnel should be as reachable as possible. That also includes social media platforms.
Often, customers will message companies or comment on their posts. You never know what a customer will share in public comment or screenshotted direct message.
Train your customer service representatives to fix these issues. They should know how to respond to comments and messages as calmly as possible. At the same time, customer service personnel should mend the customer relationship.
Customer Relationship Management
An effective customer relationship management software helps companies keep track of their customers. Customer relationship management software can help your company organize everything.
Without cross-platform customer management, you’re likely going to miss something. Maybe a customer made a purchase on your app rather than your website. Perhaps they joined your membership through an email invitation rather than through your social media post.
Without viewing customer actions across all of your platforms, you’re likely to miss out on some things. Invest in customer relationship management. You’ll build relationships with your customers easier and track where they are in the customer journey.
The more that you understand each customer’s wants, the better you’ll be able to communicate with them and advertise to them.
If you aren’t automating your marketing tools and techniques, you’re wasting a lot of time and money. Automation is one of the most underused yet valuable technologies that marketers should be taking advantage of.
Marketing automation allows marketers to schedule instant responses. These systems send messages when customers complete a predetermined action.
For example, let’s say that one of your customers leaves something in their cart online. You can create an automated email system that alerts the customer when this happens. They may have forgotten to check out or been unsure about their purchase. Either way, a reminder email can remind them to reconsider the purchase. A personalized Email Drip Campaign is more likely to lead to a sale.
Email Drip software also makes it easy to conduct A/B testing in marketing. A/B testing is when marketers create two different versions of the same kind of content. For example, they may form email A and email B then send one version of each to customers at random.
Both emails contain the same information but present it in different ways. By comparing how customers react to each version, marketers can determine whether version A or version B is better for their audience.
The last essential piece of a marketing technology stack is your analytics. Likely, most of the systems and platforms that you use have some kind of analytic tool.
Analytics track important metrics and data that every company should keep track of. More specifically, marketing experts may want to track and measure sales.
The more in-depth you can get into your analytics, the better your company can make advertising decisions in the future.
Building Your Martech Stack
You’re likely buzzing with ideas after hearing about all of the technologies. Most businesses should include these kinds of technologies in their martech stack. However, many companies miss out on helpful, new technologies like these, leaving holes in their martech stack.
That being said, including all of these elements doesn’t make a perfect martech stack. That depends more on the strategy behind your technology rather than the technology itself.
Given that 71% of businesses budget for innovation, your company likely has the resources set aside for strategic changes. Use this budget or other funds to facilitate research and development. Put money towards your marketing team’s needs for a new and improved martech stack.
Let’s get into the details.
Define Your Needs
Before building your martech stack, you need to define your marketing stack needs. You should look at what kind of tools your marketing campaign lacks before adding more technologies.
There are continuous advances in marketing technology. There are plenty of technologies that you can and should take advantage of. Look for technology that improves your relationship with your customers, increases customer engagement, or does something else to improve your business.
As you’re considering and adding new technologies, you need to keep your technologies in balance. Your marketing technology stack may spin out of control if you don’t make changes as necessary.
If you have too many technologies, you may spread your company’s resources too thin. Your team won’t be able to master all of the tools. Therefore, your company won’t be able to leverage everything that these technologies have to offer.
Thankfully, most technologies offer a trial period. Use these offers to determine whether or not the technology fits into your marketing campaign well or not.
Once you’ve figured out whether these technologies work with your marketing strategy, take the appropriate steps. Then, you can build your marketing stack piece by piece.
First, you need to look inward. The first step to finding the right marketing tool is to identify the problem. Specify the problem that you’re trying to solve.
Once you’ve identified the thing you’re trying to fix, you need to define how you’re going to fix it. Come up with a solution before you even consider technologies.
You’re likely going to sign up for technologies that aren’t going to fix the problem.
So, find the problem, discover a solution, then find the technology that offers that solution. Using this strategy will help you find the best technologies for your marketing campaign.
Get the Basics Down
Don’t let your martech stack get too complicated. Stick to the basics:
- Marketing automation
- Customer relationship management
- Content management system
- Analytics platform
Beyond these fundamental technologies, you should only include technologies that offer additional value. They should be about serving prospects and customers. These technologies could help create better customer experiences.
You can boost sales, communicate clearly, or deliver helpful content. The possibilities are endless. Create a plan and apply your marketing technologies as you see fit.
Building your martech stack can help you find the right technologies for your company and its customers. Start from the bottom and stack each technology one by one.
Reevaluate Your Technologies
If you have an existing martech stack, you need to take the time to reevaluate it. You may be missing a key technology or misusing a technology you currently have.
While reevaluating your martech stack, you should look at the martech stacks of other companies. By evaluating others’ technologies, you may find new strategies and techniques you never thought to try.
All in all, you need to make sure that you don’t have any marketing technology gaps.
Balancing Your Martech Stack
As you can tell, martech stacks have multiple components. To properly use your martech stacks, you need to balance every piece of technology you put in your company’s martech stack.
Your technology does not work independently. All of it should work well together as the technology team driving your company’s marketing campaign. Overall, the combination of all of these technologies should lead to an increased ROI.
While you’re composing a martech stack, you should start with the essentials. If you complicate your marketing campaign too much, you’re going to waste money and time.
Once you find that you’re outgrowing your current martech stack, you can add one new technology at a time. Stacking more than one block at a time can become overwhelming.
Eventually, you’ll get to the perfect spot where your martech stack is efficient and effective. Ideally, this marketing technology stack will be able to grow with your business.
As you’re just starting with your martech stack, you may find that you have to make adjustments along the way. We recommend that you make one decision and change at a time. If you make too many changes at once, you may end up negatively impacting your marketing plan.
The Advantage of a Good Marketing Technology Stack
Your marketing technology stack is the key to an effective marketing campaign. To make the most of your technologies, you need to make sure that you’re leveraging them to the best of your ability.
It would be best if you used every piece of technology to the greatest of your ability. If a part of technology isn’t giving you what you need, you shouldn’t be wasting your time and energy using it.
Fill your marketing technology stack with the best technologies. With this, you’re bound to see an increased return and a better marketing environment overall.
Plus, a good marketing technology stack means that you won’t have to change the technologies you’re constantly using. Many companies adopt new technologies every few months. With a solid set of technologies, you won’t have to worry about changing your strategy as often as you may generally do.
While you’re balancing your marketing technology stack, you should balance your tech. Each technology should complement the others. One platform should not work independently of the others. Even if different departments are using different platforms, they should all work together.
Overall, a comprehensive marketing technology stack gives you more control. You’ll have more power over the technology that you’re paying for and using.
Plus, it ensures that each platform is streamlined. You’ll also find better communication tactics and a more focused, goal-oriented marketing approach.
Overstacking Your Technology
Martech stacks are great. That is until someone overdoes it.
When the marketing technology revolution started, many businesses became consumed by new technologies. They were finding and implementing the best technologies. It didn’t matter if they would benefit from those technologies are not.
Companies were looking to be on top by buying the ‘best’ technologies.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the way that martech stacking works. You can’t pick the most popular or the newest technology and run with it. That’s not an effective strategy for any company to follow.
Instead, you need to take the time to evaluate your current technologies. Figure out if your stack has a place for this new, popular technology you’re looking at. It’s okay to consider adding a fantastic piece of technology. Still, it’s not okay to add it to your strategy on a whim.
In the best-case scenario, your martech stack is already able to do what this new technology does. In the worst case, you’ll have to make room for the updated technology. Wich could mean ending the use of another piece of technology or expanding your strategy.
However, we would never recommend squeezing a piece of technology in. This kind of technique is what destroyed so many companies at the turn of the century. They were too fascinated by the shiny, new platforms.
How Martech Has Changed the Field of Marketing
As time has passed, martech stacks have become more and more beloved. They’re now considered an essential part of a marketing team’s toolbox.
Martech stacks offer everything from automated processes to efficient strategies. Marketing technologies have completely changed the field of marketing.
First, marketing technologies have made it possible for marketers to handle multiple channels. Before martech stacks, companies had to hire one person for each platform, or one person had to juggle everything.
Now, things are different.
Today, a single person or a small team can handle all of the social media platforms that a business has. Social media schedulers, organizers, and compilers can handle multiple channels better than ever. These tools make it easier to reach out to more customers. Thus, companies can create more leads and make more sales.
Cost of Marketing
Today’s marketing technologies have transformed marketing strategies, thereby forming more cost-effective ways of developing leads.
Because of marketing technologies, marketers have access to more data than ever. Marketing data that marketing teams can use to make smarter decisions faster. They can see analytics and insights that make it easier to create meaningful relationships with their customers.
All in all, marketers no longer have to make assumptions about anything. Martech gives marketers real-time data about their target audience. There’s no better way to approach today’s market.
Because of the loads of data that marketing technology offers, marketers can make better decisions. Rather than spending weeks daunting over the next change, marketers can make clear and concise decisions.
If they see a dip in their analytics, they know what to tackle.
Marketing technology has made it easier than ever to manage the customer experience.
Marketing technology has made digital transformation much easier for companies across the world. Customers have been slowly migrating to an online market since the turn of the century.
With new marketing technologies, the move to digital marketing was easy. Marketers just had to adopt the right technologies and make changes where they were needed.
Start Forming Your Marketing Technology Stack
If you haven’t created your marketing technology stack, now is the time. If you have an existing marketing technology stack, you need to rethink what you’ve created.
Start with the basics and build a martech stack that will serve your company for years and years to come.
As you’re looking for technologies to complement your new marketing technology system, don’t forget to include Helpmonks. Our all-in-one customer engagement solution is the perfect addition to any martech stack.
Plus, our multi-pronged platform will replace multiple technologies. In turn, you could consolidate your marketing stack. Get started today!
Sunday April 4, 2021