The Modern Marketer's Guide to MarTech

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Friday, July 24, 2020

Marketing technology is essential in today's modern marketing world. Which tools should you include in your MarTech stack, and how do you integrate them to get the best out of your campaigns?

Article 19 Minutes
The Modern Marketer's Guide to MarTech

The MarTech landscape is growing at an exponential rate, and there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon. Whether you’re looking to automate processes, optimize and convert leads, analyze and measure campaigns, or enhance customer experiences through personalization, building an integrated marketing technology stack is critical.

In this guide, we'll cover the following chapters:

  1. What is MarTech?
  2. Why technology is important in modern marketing
  3. What is a marketing tech stack?
  4. 5 types of MarTech tools and how you can use them
  5. Choosing the right MarTech stack to meet your objectives
  6. How to integrate your marketing technology tools
  7. Why you need IT on your side for MarTech success
  8. How to prove the ROI of your MarTech investments
  9. How to future-proof your MarTech stack
  10. Here’s how to build your MarTech strategy
  11. The future of MarTech

What is MarTech?

MarTech is the fusion of marketing and technology into an entity, much in the same way as DevOps. Since 2011, the MarTech landscape has seen 5233% growth.

Growth of MarTech landscape diagram - chiefmartec.comSource

Anyone working within the marketing industry is already using MarTech, even without realizing it.

MarTech is used in every stage of a buyer’s journey from awareness to purchase. The use of a combination of these tools is known as a MarTech stack.

MarTech tools can help streamline the marketing process, analyze data, and provide valuable information on when and how to target customers. 

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Many companies use different tools in marketing, sales, and communication with some common areas being:

  • 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.
  • Data analytics quantifies the data into real solutions for a competitive edge in the industry. By using data analytic tools correctly, this can help you convert potential customers to sales.
  • Social media and content management comprises of various tools that create an active web presence. The process allows interaction and control of users on digital platforms, including social media, landing pages, websites, blogs, and email.
  • Business management: these are non-marketing tools that assist in managing personnel, tasks, and finances. Project management tools are essential in streamlining workflows, leading teams, and developing new strategic plans.

 

Why technology is important in modern marketing

Today, the advantages of technology in marketing are instrumental in the acceleration of growth, and have revolutionized both inbound and outbound marketing. Continued innovation regarding CRMs, chatbots, analytics, and more have changed how marketers and business approach their customers.

A strong marketing technology strategy will make use of available technology and help businesses:

Increase brand visibility

For companies to remain competitive within a niche, online brand visibility is imperative. Adopting SEO and social media strategies and creating responsive websites can help brands rank high in search engines: the wider your online presence, the higher your chances of being regarded as an authority.

Reach a wider audience

One tweet or post on social media can go viral in a matter of minutes. As such, brands are taking advantage of the opportunity to reach a wider audience. Through correct targeting and analyzing data, businesses can see what triggers reactions from their customers.

Increase interactions

Don’t underestimate the importance of consumer interactions. Through various technologies, you can interact with consumers, get feedback, and handle customer queries directly. HubSpot CRM is a great example of how you can use MarTech to communicate with consumers.

Increase efficiency

We’re in a digitalized era where a smartphone is almost always to hand. As such, a variety of suppliers are readily available to consumers. That alone has made enterprises adopt more efficient delivery systems to enhance customer satisfaction.

What is a marketing tech stack?

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.

Marketing Technology Landscape 2020 diagram from chiefmartec.comSource

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.

So what are MarTech tools, and how can you use them in a stack? Here are some key areas that you should consider:

  • Advertising tools
  • Content marketing systems
  • Email
  • Insight and analytics
  • SEO
  • Social Media

These are just some areas where MarTech can aid both your marketing and sales efforts. 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 tools because they’re cutting edge, when actually they should be taking the time to evaluate current processes and how they could be improved with technology (and what kind of benefits this offers as a result).

5 types of MarTech tools and how you can use them

MarTech should be at the heart of your plans, 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.

Let’s look at five major MarTech examples and tools that can help streamline company processes:

1. Advertising and promotion

The one common denominator with authority brands is that success never happened overnight. These brands use various advertisements and promotional tools to ensure they reach both online and offline consumers.

Programmatic advertising

In the world of AdTech, programmatic advertising has revolutionized marketing, giving companies a competitive edge. Programmatic advertising directs adverts to the intended audience. It gathers demographics such as gender, location, preferences, and social activities to deliver relevant adverts to the target market.

Learn more: What Does the Future of Programmatic Advertising Look Like?

2. Commerce and sales

Software that falls under this category enhances a customer’s shopping experience. As consumer shopping trends continue to evolve, ecommerce software ensures a company successfully integrates its marketing efforts across various platforms.

eCommerce marketing

This refers to the use of various marketing tactics that drive awareness and traffic to a website or online store using organic traffic, SEO, or traffic from social media platforms. For a wider reach, you need to use both paid and non-paid ecommerce marketing strategies.

3. Content and experience

Content and experience software allows businesses to produce quality and relevant information for their target audience. They’re effective at optimizing and converting leads.

Email marketing

Since the inception of the internet, emails have been one of the most effective ways of reaching 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. 

4. Data

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

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. Social and relationships

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.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

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.

Choosing the right MarTech stack to meet your objectives

Building a MarTech stack can be difficult, but there are several steps you can take to create the right one.

Start with Ghostery

This free tool is invaluable for researching the right MarTech stack. It visualizes the different technologies that are used on a website and shows users how they all interact with each other. You can use it to look at the sites of competitors and companies you admire, in order to understand how they’re using MarTech.

Use a tag manager

As a marketer, you’re likely going to be faced with a huge amount of data. A lot of this will be from tags, which are installed across websites to collect analytics, as well as for advertising and other purposes. You’ll need a program like Google Tag Manager in order to make sense of it all and utilize your technology to the fullest.

Analyze your data

You’ll also need to be able to see analytics data in order to market effectively. The most well-known program for this is Google Analytics, however there are other paid programs that might be more effective for your marketing needs. Kissmetrics, for example, is more appropriate in providing you with information to help increase conversions.

Utilize a CRM

One element you’ll need in your MarTech stack is CRM software. Salesforce is the most well-known of these, but there are more out there, such as Optimizely. This will allow you to view customer data in real-time, and use it to tailor your content and conversations; an invaluable tool for any marketer.

Being careful about what else you add

"Your stack needs to address three essential elements: people, technology, and process." - Isaac Wyatt, director of marketing operations at New Relic

 

This means anything you add to it needs someone who can be responsible for it. You also need to be able to integrate it with the rest of your MarTech and be addressing a specific business problem or process that needs improving.

Avoid falling into the trap of adding MarTech for the sake of it. It’s an investment like any other, which means you’ll need to take care to choose the right stack for your business goals.

How to integrate your marketing technology tools

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 MarkTech stack can lead to terrible customer experiences, and uninformed marketing and sales efforts that can’t be quantified through data.

MarTech progression and the need for MarTech integration

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.

Why you need IT on your side for MarTech success

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.

There are three ways in which you can get IT on board for future collaborations of your MarTech stack:

Communicate with your IT department

Having ITs input from the start can save you time and money as you work on which tools will be the best for your purpose. Perhaps the integration of old and new systems won’t work, so with ITs input, you can find a workaround. It also gives IT a better understanding of the need for and uses of specific tools, meaning they’re more likely to help in future should you encounter a problem.

Show them results

Although working in the background, IT should also be shown the results of their efforts. This way you can better convey how MarTech works and its uses across your platforms. An invested IT team will be more willing to get results and fix issues with your MarTech quickly.

Understand ITs position

With so many MarTech tools out there, including homegrown marketing technologies (also known as dark MarTech), it’s easy to understand ITs hesitation in adopting a whole collection of new technology, as you develop your MarTech stack. They must try and integrate these new processes and make sure it works well, while also ensuring their network remains secure.

How to prove the ROI of your MarTech investments

Proving the ROI of your tech stack investments is pivotal to your overall success. But one of the primary challenges with MarTech is proving it. Implementing new strategies without a proven ROI can be risky. While developing your MarTech 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 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.

How to future-proof your MarTech stack

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 future-proof your MarTech stack:

1. Analytics

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.

2. Agility

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.

Here’s how to build your MarTech strategy

Once you have your MarTech in place, your work isn’t done. To get the most out of your investment, you must develop a MarTech strategy. 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 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.

“One of the challenges is that the marketing technology space is so large, it is intimidating. If you do not have a strategy, it is like an overwhelming sea of noise.” – Scott Brinker, co-founder and CTO of ion interactive

 

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.

The future of MarTech

 

There are approximately 8000 MarTech tools at your disposal, with many companies having around 91 in their multi-tier stacks. This number will continue to grow to meet the demands and needs of companies in the market.

Marketing Technology Landscape 2011-2020 Diagram from chiefmartec.comSource

MarTech trends are evolving continuously in the areas of AI, customer experience, personalization of analytics and marketing approaches, and user journey.

Most recently, we’ve seen the explosion of the use of communication tools such as Zoom and Slack, allowing departments to communicate and collaborate on projects. This allows 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.

If you’re still asking yourself why marketing technology is important, don’t forget there are more than 4 billion internet users and over 3.5 billion social media users. The future of marketing and sales is online. Even if you have a brick and mortar store, a digital presence is necessary to stand out from competitors and entice new customers.

There are several core areas where MarTech will continue to advance in the future, including:

  • Personalization
  • 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.

Further reading:

 

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