As there are many different tools to measure everything from page views on your site to automating workflows for nurturing leads and building customer relationships, there can be a lot of technology to manage. All these applications working in unison is known as a MarTech stack.
This is the combination of technology and tools used throughout the marketing and sales cycle. With the continuous release of new and emerging tools, it can be difficult to know which tools are the most important.
Testing new technology wastes time and effort in learning new processes. At the same time, it’s important to find a marketing platform that works for you and tools that work well together, thus creating your marketing tech stack.
Depending on your industry, type of business and current positioning, different tools and processes will be important to you. You’ll also have to look at your existing processes and how new tools can be integrated into your existing system.
Your MarTech stack should be a combination of tools and effort, and they should perform specific functions that make difficult processes easier. Many marketers make the mistake of jumping in the deep end with MarTech platforms because they’re cutting edge, when actually they should be taking the time to evaluate current marketing processes and how they could be improved with technology (and what kind of benefits this offers as a result).
Technology should be at the heart of your marketing strategy, and there are various reasons why modern marketers integrate technological advancements. For starters, it helps spur growth, strengthens relationships and enhances the efficiency of company processes. Additionally, companies can interact with both existing and prospective clients more effectively.
For companies to grow and establish themselves as authority brands, embracing MarTech and automation is imperative. Here are 11 essential tools you should include in your marketing technology stack.
1. Email marketing platform
Since the inception of the internet, email continues to remain one of the most effective marketing strategies. This is largely due to the fact that it's inexpensive and brands can reach both new and existing customers. A good email marketing tool will integrate well with a variety of applications and services, provide responsive campaigns and allow you to set up custom email workflows, as well as the ability to synchronize your data to multiple applications efficiently.
2. Advertising tech
In today's digital age, marketers are increasingly turning to AdTech tools such as programmatic. Programmatic directs advertisements to the intended audience. It gathers demographic information such as sex, location, preferences and social activities to direct relevant ads to the target market.
These platforms also provide valuable insight into your campaigns through clicks and other metrics, which can highlight which ads performed well and which ones didn't. This information can then be used to help you to further optimize your ad spend and target your marketing efforts at the right audience. Other AdTech tools include Google Ads, marketing attribution software and more.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools
As customers are increasingly reliant on the internet to find a product/service or an answer to their specific query, it's important that marketing teams consider adding SEO to their MarTech stack. When used correctly, keyword research tools, link building tools and analytics (i.e. Google Analytics and Search Console) can help you to generate more organic traffic and remain competitive in SERPs.
4. Data analytics
Gone are the days when companies made assumptions about the needs of their customers. Data-driven marketing allows companies to make more informed choices and to enhance targeted broadcasting.
Predictive analytics is one of the most overlooked MarTech tools and should be in your marketing strategy. It’s used to measure the success and effectiveness of your marketing efforts. With proper predictive analytics tools, businesses can follow consumer trends and act on them.
One of the significant benefits of predictive analytics is that they can help boost conversions and improve customer experience by providing accurate consumer insights. Additionally, the information collected can help identify which of your marketing efforts are working, and those that need tweaking.
5. Marketing automation
Automation is becoming increasingly central to all aspects and functions of modern enterprises, and the marketing department is no different. Through automation tools, marketers can streamline workflows and automate repetitive and monontonous tasks, including:
- Website maintenance
- Email outreach
- Social media posting
- Visitor tracking and scoring
Despite the proliferation of automation and its clear benefits for marketers, there’s still room for growth in the industry - according to our State of Marketing Ops research, less than 50% of the organizations we surveyed are making use of marketing automation.
6. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
The relationship you have with your customers is the backbone of your business. Without it, you risk losing customers to the competition and facing serious reputational backlash. CRMs provide a centralized database, where you can perform various customer-related tasks, as well as gain access to relevant customer information. Customer service assistants can easily deal with customer complaints by instantly accessing that customer’s entire touchpoint history, enabling them to better understand their relationship with the business and therefore respond accordingly. Depending on the type of CRM you use, it may include or integrate with other marketing platforms.
7. Social media management
Social media is a key component of today's marketing technology ecosystem, helping marketers to distribute their content through multiple channels, monitor online conversations, and respond to customer service inquiries and more. These tools often come with built-in analytics that can highlight which content worked best and on which specific channels. If you run paid advertising campaigns through Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, they can provide more insights into the success of your campaign and can highlight which ones need further tweaking.
8. Project management
While management tools are technically non-marketing tools, they’re essential for teams to successfully manage and maintain visibility of personnel, tasks and finances.
For marketing teams, project management tools can assist in streamlining workflows, leading teams, scheduling campaigns, managing complex workflows and developing new strategic plans.
9. Content Management System
Content management systems (CMS) enable marketers with limited technical knowledge to set up and manage their websites' content. These systems were designed with the user in mind, making it easy for anyone to manage their site. They typically offer features such as drag and drop page builders and include SEO tools that can help you to rank higher in SERPs. Some of the most popular CMS brands include WordPress, Magneto, Drupal and more.
10. Chatbot software
Chatbots are software or computer programs that simulate human conversations through written and spoken interactions. In both a B2B and B2C context, this technology allows customers to feel like they’re interacting with a real person, while reducing the amount a company has to spend on overhead costs, providing 24/7 support when live agents aren’t available and reducing wait times for customers.
11. Digital Asset Management
Digital asset management (DAM) manages media files such as images and videos for the best output, and plays a pivotal role in the centralization of resources in managing essential data for digital marketing.
According to IFP research, over a third of Marketing Ops leaders are looking to invest in data analytics (39%), marketing automation (38%), CRM (36%) and social media management (34%) over the next 12 months.
There’s also significant interest in project management (25%) and CMS (22%), while chatbot software (20%) and (18%) have lower but still significant investment plans behind them.
The explosion of the MarTech landscape has meant that businesses have had to find ways to integrate their applications better. Having a marketing technology stack is one thing, but understanding how each tool works individually and together is a challenge. Having a disjointed stack can lead to terrible customer experiences, and uninformed marketing and sales efforts that can’t be quantified through data.
Though all-in-one packages do exist, they’re unlikely to fully support your needs. As a result, marketers are left to source multiple tools to support different areas of their marketing activity. This can fast become costly and complicated, with the added necessity of training staff on new tools and potentially security issues too. As a result, it’s better to integrate your existing methods with new ideas and tools. Not only does this allow you to start small and transition one process at a time, it gives you greater control over how each element functions within the wider marketing strategy and evaluate whether it’s worth it.
There are two areas to focus on when integrating your marketing technology tools:
- Communicate with the wider business: One of the most important is communication and the sharing of data. If each department in the business is working independently from one another, then the sharing of data and communication of successful methods becomes difficult.
- Test integrations first: Plan your purchases around the existing platforms that you want to retain. New and old tech may not work well together, and may need technological modifications or adjustments in order for it to work. This is why good communication between departments is essential; it’s likely you’ll need to get IT involved in order to solve issues.
When you begin to implement new technology as part of your MarTech strategy, it’s vital to get everyone on board, including those not directly involved. One of the key departments that needs to be involved is IT.
With IT on your side, you can implement changes successfully and work through any issues which may arise during the integration period. For this reason, you need to spend considerable amount of timing showcasing the benefit of your MarTech tools, what its purpose is and why. If you can demonstrate how it will help you reach your goals, it’ll be much easier to get the end result you want.
By getting IT invested in MarTech and having healthy collaboration between departments, research into new technology, the benefits and challenges it can bring, and its integration can be done smoothly.
Proving the ROI of your tech stack investments is pivotal to the overall success of your marketing strategy. But one of the primary challenges with MarTech is proving it. Implementing new strategies without a proven ROI can be risky. While developing your tech stack, there are sure to be some challenges with the tools that you choose to use. If you can offset these with proven results, you’ll be free to develop a better MarTech roadmap and path for the business.
Create a measurable MarTech strategy
Before implementing any MarTech, you need to create specific KPI’s and goals to determine the purpose of the tools and measure whether or not they’re meeting expectations. With this information, you can research the best tools that will help you reach those goals.
Part of creating a measurable strategy also involves aligning key goals with the wider business. How can you measure ROI if you’re not working towards the same objectives as the other departments?
Support sales with CRM
A successful CRM will help you to drive sales growth and highlight the cohesion between departments. Although sales ultimately bring in the revenue, you need to show the C-suite how the effective use of tech supports the sales cycle. If you can demonstrate its worth, it will help improve your chances of further funding in the future.
As we’ve seen, there’s an almost endless number of MarTech tools that you can implement in your technology stack, but these present their own challenges. Marketers may be using tools that don’t work well together, and which don’t fit their designs and plans. It’s important to use the latest technology, but you also want to have a lasting stack that’ll stand the test of time and provide positive results. MarTech trends change rapidly, and businesses may struggle to adjust, leaving them open to the competition.
By looking at these three areas, you can futureproof your MarTech stack:
Analytics are at the core of marketing and sales strategies, and it’s the primary reason why MarTech was developed in the first place. By having a laser-focused approach to your customers, you can target customers who provide you with continued sales, retarget previous customers with sales funnels that work, and develop marketing strategies to entice new customers.
Analytics allows you to gather an enormous amount of information about customer searches, buying habits and much more. But before you analyze any data, make sure you set up an analytics dashboard. This will allow you to visualize and review multiple metrics in a central location, which not only saves you time but also gives you real-time data.
Find a tool that works well for you and adopt others to work around this.
You need to develop a MarTech stack that’s agile and has tools that work together, not against each other. We’ve seen that there’s a huge overlap in what technology does now, from the awareness phase to the final purchase and retargeting post-purchase. Each system should work in conjunction with one another, allowing for the sharing of data and cohesion between different departments. There may be some tools which become obsolete over time, but having to only tweak and change one function is better than overhauling an entire system.
3. Knowledge sharing
Knowledge sharing is at the core of a MarTech strategy. It’s not confined to customer data sharing, but knowledge of the tools and systems in place and accessibility among different departments and individuals within them. Insights into customer behavior, search queries, product ideas, and campaign strategies shared between departments can lead to new approaches and results.
Having a MarTech roadmap is great, but having the correct approach and room for adaptability is critical in order to future-proof your plan and the strategies within it.
Once you have your MarTech in place, your work isn’t done. To get the most out of your investment, you must build a marketing technology roadmap. Tools become outdated or new technology emerges in the ever-changing MarTech landscape.
To remain ahead of the competition, you need to maintain and adopt new approaches to create a long-standing and successful MarTech strategy.
- Set goals: Having tools in place but with no direction will lead to your sales and marketing efforts failing. To develop a strategy and MarTech roadmap, you need to know your goals and the ROI expected. Creating a one, two, or even five-year MarTech roadmap will give everyone focus. According to Gartner’s Marketing Technology Survey 2019, 78% of marketers say their roadmaps don’t extend beyond 18 months, and this is inhibiting business growth. Once you know what your goals are, you can make an effort to reach them.
- Connect teams: Communication is key. With a successfully integrated CRM and communication network, it’s easier to develop sales funnels, connect with customers and share data.
- Simplify your MarTech stack: With so many MarTech tools available, your marketing team must endeavor to simplify this process and not get overwhelmed with using multiple tools for the same function. Instead, there should be cohesion between the tools you use so your employees are up to date on the latest methods and strategies and that they know how to deploy these tools successfully.
- Learn more about your customers: Develop your ideal customer persona or modify an existing one. One of the best ways to do this is to use the available data to identify where your customers are, what they’re saying and what their demographics are. By doing this, targeted communication methods can be established via email, social media, and SEO, among others. This information will help both sales and marketing teams to adjust current strategies while developing new ones.
- Adopt AI: Artificial intelligence is a key element of any successful MarTech roadmap. AI can help generate solutions and improvements through the processing of data at a much quicker rate allowing you to formulate action.
One of the most interesting things about MarTech growth is its ability to withstand budget cuts. According to Gartner, marketing technology is a major focus for businesses, making up over a quarter (26%) of the average marketing budget.
In the MarTech landscape, there are up to 10,000 solutions (up 24% from 2020) at your disposal, with 93% of marketers deploying up to 50 different marketing technologies in their organization, according to The State of Marketing Operations. This number will continue to grow to meet the demands and needs of companies in the market.
As the MarTech landscape evolves, businesses must ensure they stay ahead of their competitors by keeping up to date with the latest trends, especially in the following areas:
- Customer experience
- Personalization of analytics and marketing approaches
- User journey
During the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations were forced to invest in communication tools such as Zoom and Slack in order to continue communicating and collaborating on projects. This allowed for the sharing of ideas and information on a more personal level outside of traditional CRM systems.
AI and chatbots have allowed customer queries to be answered in real-time, creating a better relationship with new and existing customers, and this is only a small segment of the potential for MarTech systems.
Learn more: 9 Steps to Create a Winning Chatbot Strategy
Despite the benefits that can be derived from these tools, they also create operational issues. For instance, measuring and reporting campaign performance (71%), the lack of integration across the tech stack (66%), and improving team collaboration (64%) were the top three challenges faced by marketing leaders.
As organizations look to address these challenges, it’s crucial that your marketing team invests wisely. Indeed, our research highlights that 46% of respondents are prepared to invest up to $100,000 on new MarTech solutions.
There are several core areas where MarTech will continue to advance in the future, including:
- Data collection
- User journey
- Internet of things (IoT)
All of these will affect how a company approaches customers, the advent of AI in market tactics and strategies and what tools to use in your MarTech stack.
- 29 Best Marketing Tools For Your Business in 2022
- 6 Tried and Tested Methods for Automating Your Lead Generation Activities
- Why Marketing Data Management Remains a Huge Headache for Marketers
Access the latest business knowledge in Marketing
Join the conversation...