What is a Marketing Technology Stack and How Can It Help My Business?
Modern digital marketing involves sorting through a lot of data. The more successful you are, the more data there is. Data includes visitors to your website, Likes and Follows on social media, and viewers who become leads. These leads who need to be nurtured and eventually converted into sales, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To be successful at marketing, you need to be able to manage all this data effectively.
Fortunately, there are plenty of online tools to help you do that. These tools are called marketing technology and range from marketing automation to social media management to analytics tools and more. Do you want to be successful in promoting your brand? Your best bet is to gather together all the marketing technology tools you need and assemble them into a Martech stack. A Martech stack is a group of digital tools that function together and help you manage your marketing strategy.
Of course, there are all different kinds of Martech stacks you can put together, for a variety of different needs. Here’s how to choose the right one for your business.
Determining Your Needs
Every company is different, so ideally, every Martech stack should be different as well. Even all-encompassing software platforms generally only address one aspect of your business. Fortunately for you, there are literally thousands of different software applications out there, each with a different purpose and focused on meeting different needs. In fact, at the current count, there are over 6,000 different tools, according to a recent report by marketing technologist Scott Brinker, who quantified and categorized all of them by focus and function.
Obviously, you don’t need 6,000 different marketing technology solutions. But which ones do you need?
What you need to do first is take a long, hard look at what your company’s overall needs are, and what you need to do to meet them.
Define goals and objectives of your marketing strategy?
What do you want to accomplish, and how do you intend to go about it? Do you want to focus more on social media? Content creation? E-mail marketing?
Ideally, you’ll have some combination of those and others, but it’s still important to know just how much of your resources you plan on devoting to each, and how important they’ll be in your overall strategy.
There are also questions like how big your company is, whether you’re B2B or B2C, what kind of resources you have at your disposal (not just money, but personnel, tools, expertise, infrastructure, etc.), and whether you plan to perform certain tasks in-house or outsource them to another firm.
Once you’ve thoroughly analyzed your company and its marketing needs, you can start determining what kind of software tools you’ll need. For instance, Customer Relationship Management software helps you sort through customer data and interactions to facilitate future interactions and sales.
Marketing Automation software keeps track of customers’ interactions with your content to determine when they’re ready to be converted to sales. The functions are similar, but serve different needs, for different types of companies. Which one best suits you?
The Greeks said, “Know Thyself.” This is as important with companies and organizations as it is with individuals. The more you know about who your company is and what it needs, the better you’ll be able to assemble a Martech stack that works for you.
Choosing Your Tools
Once you’ve figured out the basic type of marketing tools you need, it’s time to choose specific ones for your company. Again, there are several factors to determine this, based on who and what you are.
Think about your decisions carefully. There are a lot of marketing tools out there that you can download for free.
Unfortunately, most of these don’t have the functionality you need to sustain an actual business. Similarly, there are plenty of tools which cost an arm and a leg and come with all sorts of bells and whistles that your company doesn’t need and will never us
Your marketing technology solution should align with your initial overall company objectives and digital strategy.
How do you accomplish this? First, you do your research. Look online at what options are out there and find reviews of the various products, to get a feel for how they function and whether they’re aligned with your strategy.
Talk to peers in your field as well, to see what they use, and if they’re satisfied with them. Will what works for them also work for you?
What are some needs that are specific to your company and not your competitors, which your marketing technology also needs to meet? Many products also offer free demo versions, or limited-time trials, which allow you to test the product out for yourself and see if it’s right for you. Consider all your options when deciding.
Building Your Stack
Once you’ve completed your research, it’s time to start building your marketing technology stack. That is, assembling all the different programs, platforms, tools, and applications your company needs to achieve its objectives, and putting them together into a single, comprehensive hub from which you can perform all necessary marketing tasks.
Start with the foundation: the biggest, most important tools in your arsenal. These are the ones on which your entire digital marketing strategy will ultimately be built. Here are a few of the things you’re most likely to need
A Social Media Hub
A social media hub is a single dashboard from which you can monitor and control all your different social media channels. One of the most popular is HootSuite, which lets you track posts, comments, mentions, and more across all different social media platforms, and measure the overall effectiveness of your content in each location.
Using a social media hub will allow you to put all of your different social channels, across all the different platforms, under one roof. You can easily take a single piece of content and tailor it separately for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, posting it all three places at the touch of a button.
You can also manage comments and other interactions from a single location, engaging with your audience and responding to questions and other concerns. It’s also great for listening, which is very important in social media marketing.
By listening to what your clients and potential clients are saying via social media, you’re in a better position to address their needs and concerns. By listening to what your competitors are saying on social media, you can get a better idea of what you’re up against and keep from falling behind.
HootSuite allows you to monitor important conversations on social media to aid you with listening.
E-mail marketing can be a tricky business. Messages sent to people unsolicited and en masse aren’t likely to be read, but will instead go straight into the recipients’ spam folders. This is more than just a waste of effort: in many places it’s illegal. Canada has very strict anti-spam laws, which can result in fines of over $40,000 per e-mail sent in violation. Furthermore, these laws apply not just to Canadians, but to any communication being sent into Canada.
Therefore, keep that in mind when adopting an e-mail marketing platform. The right platform will not only help you manage a variety of different e-mail lists effectively and in accordance with the law, but also allow you to create informative, eye-catching e-mails to send to them, and schedule them to go out at a specific day and time. Then, it will monitor how many people opened those e-mails vs. how many were deleted unread, and how many actually clicked through to get to your website, and which links they ultimately clicked.
Similar to your e-mail platform, except this one will allow you to manage blogs, videos, and other types of content. It can help you determine keywords, build content around it, set tags that help its search visibility, and more. You may want a tool that also hosts your blog for you, or you may decide on something separate, depending on your needs.
This will help you generate leads and nurture them into sales. It keeps track of how users are interacting with your content and gives them each a score based on those interactions. Someone read your latest blog? That’s one point. They clicked through on an e-mail? That’s another point. The program then tracks these points and uses them to determine when a lead is ready to be converted to a sale. Each time they pass a threshold, it bumps them to the next level of the funnel, and can also trigger specific content to be sent to them automatically, based on what they’re showing interest in. As mentioned before, you can also choose a CRM platform, if that’s better suited to your needs.
This is how you keep track of how successful your marketing strategy is. Many of the aforementioned tools may have their own analytics built in, but it’s also helpful to get a single, all-encompassing analytics program, to keep track of everything. It allows you to monitor how many people are reacting to various pieces of content and aspects of your marketing strategy, so that you can see what’s working and what isn’t, and tailor your future actions accordingly.
Once you have the basics in place, you can look at smaller, more specialized marketing tools and programs, which do small tasks that you may need or want in your company. But get the big things out of the way first. They’re the foundation, and everything else is just furniture.
You may find that your marketing technology needs change as you go along. One piece of software may become obsolete, a new trend may require a new trend to address it… Or your company’s goals and direction may simply change, to the point where CRM is more suited to your needs than Marketing Automation now.
Don’t just switch a major tool in your Martech stack at the drop of a hat, but be aware of your own evolving needs, just as you’re aware of the needs of your audience and customers, and know how to take care of both quickly and efficiently.
The right Martech stack will make marketing both easier and more effective, and help you raise revenues and drive sales. And while individual tools may change, the stack should last you for years to come.
gnooko Digital Marketing
Robert (Rob) Burns is the Managing Partner of gnooko Digital Marketing. Rob is a recognized specialist in digital business development strategy and its implementation. Rob has over 20 years’ experience advising companies of all sizes in various business development, sales, and marketing roles. In addition to global conglomerates, Rob has also assisted small and medium sized companies with digital marketing strategy, solutions, tactics and implementation.