The marketing tools that businesses use have an impact on their ability to reach their target audience and find success. While this is largely a positive thing, it can quickly get out of control. In 2015, the average number of software as a service applications a company used was eight. Recent data shows that the number has now increased more than ten-fold.
The problem? All tools aren’t equal. To avoid overwhelm, organizations need to be mindful of the software they use and have a strategy in place to ensure that the technology they implement is working for their team and their customers.
In this post, we'll go over everything you need to know about what martech is, why it's important and how you can build and optimize a martech stack for your organization.
What is a MarTech Stack?
Marketing technology (or martech) is the use of digital tools and technologies to help marketers execute their strategies, improve customer experience, optimize operations, and measure performance. It encompasses a wide variety of disciplines such as data science, analytics, automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, mobile apps, software development, social media, video production, and more.
A martech stack is a collection of technologies and services used in digital marketing. It allows companies to collect and process large amounts of customer data during the buying journey. This system will give everyone involved in marketing the business to evaluate the performance of their efforts.
It also enables individuals and businesses to make better decisions, and as an ecosystem, a martech stack lets users monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of marketing efforts. Simply put, it empowers professionals with more customer insights, many of which were not easy to get, if not impossible to have in the past.
Why is it Important to Build a MarTech Stack?
A well-thought-out martech stack is central to an organization's success. There are several different reasons for this. First, 80% of B2B sales will occur over digital channels by 2025. Most organizations are already using martech to provide a better experience across these channels. That means that if you aren’t using the right martech stack, chances are that you’re missing out on opportunities.
Another reason is that it can enable you to handle a lot of marketing tasks in-house that you may otherwise have to outsource. This can save your organization both time and money as you work through different campaigns.
Building your own martech stack allows you to leverage the latest technology and best practices in an efficient manner. It gives your team the ability to access data and have capabilities that they may not have been able to otherwise.
Martech stacks are also important because they allow you to create a complete view of your customer interactions. For example, you can see where your customers are coming from, whether they're converting, and what actions they take after completing a purchase. You can then use this information to make decisions about future marketing strategies. The most successful martech stacks provide value across all stages of the buying cycle.
What Makes Building Your Own MarTech Stack a Challenge?
The martech space is growing rapidly, with new startups emerging every day. Despite the fact that there have been several acquisitions in recent years, there are still over 8,000 vendors operating in the martech space. With so many different options available, it’s difficult to choose the best vendors to fit your specific needs.
Then, there are the day-to-day technology considerations. Martech stacks need to be scalable, flexible, secure, reliable, and easy to maintain. This makes it challenging to find the right mix of technologies that work together seamlessly.
The third component is concerns surrounding the budget for this initiative. Building the stack, you need in a cost-effective way isn’t always an easy feat, as the fees for different solutions can add up quickly.
How MarTech and the Customer Journey Connect
Your audience will go through several stages before they become a buyer of your product or service. While the customer journey may look a little different from company to company, it typically consists of five different stages.
Mapping out the journey for your customers is important because it allows your team to identify gaps. Both in your strategy and in your martech stack. Since the customer journey has so many moving parts, it’s important to find tools to help your audience move through each stage. Then, you can ensure that you’re meeting your audience where they are every step of the way.
Marketing Technology and the Addition of Automation
With so many different tools available for marketers, the possibilities are endless, but there are only so many hours in the day. That’s why many companies look for martech solutions that give them automation capabilities.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is the process of automating certain aspects of marketing campaigns. Marketing automation helps marketers streamline repetitive tasks, save time, and increase efficiency. While there are several different categories of martech tools that allow you to leverage automation, there are 3 categories to pay close attention to.
Demand generation marketing automation
In demand generation marketing automation, companies use different tools to generate leads. For example, they may choose a solution that helps them with SEO to generate traffic via organic content or ads. They may then use another solution to analyze visitor behavior and qualify leads to move on to sales. Often, these tools are helpful in the awareness, consideration, and decision stages of the customer journey.
Customer service marketing automation
Customer service marketing automation is used when companies want to offer support to existing customers. For example, they might send automated messages to remind customers about upcoming events or special offers. Or they could automatically respond to questions from customers via chat or email. Good customer service is key as you work to retain your customers.
Customer relationship management automation
Customer relationship management automation accelerates a person’s path from customer to advocate. When companies grow and their teams have to handle many different accounts, they can put solutions in place to help them build existing relationships and encourage customers to spread the word about the product or service.
Marketing automation has become one of the most effective ways to automate tasks and increase efficiency. However, companies need to find the right solutions to make these automatic insights and interactions valuable.
Essential Tools to Consider When Building Your MarTech Stack
Let’s take a closer look at some of the key capabilities you’ll want to have when building your martech stack:
Real-time audience insight
It can be a challenge to determine who’s on your website and what content is getting interaction. Getting rich, actionable insights on what visitors are doing and where they came from makes it easy for your team to take the necessary steps to move from the awareness stage to the decision stage.
Leveraging live chat, messaging, calls, and chatbots as part of your daily customer communication and customer service workflow software is key. This makes it possible to provide effective and proactive support that retains and engages customers through their lifecycle. This can make a big difference for your business, as data shows that live chat can increase your conversions by 45%.
Reporting and analytics
Measuring what matters and having insights into your customer conversions and data will help your team evaluate your organization’s performance and take actionable steps to improve your marketing success.
Lead management and nurturing tools
Having a lead management and nurturing system tool in your marketing stack is a vital feature. It empowers you to build better relationships with your customers by bridging the gap between your organization’s customer relationship management system (CRM) and customer data. That way, your team gains access to a more complete view of customers and leads and uncovers opportunities to build loyalty and trust.
Bringing your data and all the essentials together
Using a solution in your marketing stack like Velaro's Engagement and CRM Platform as part of your essential customer service workflow, conversational marketing, and automation implementation will allow you to gather crucial insights about your online prospects and customers.
With Velaro you can measure what’s happening in real-time, engage with visitors and customers via live chat, voice, and messaging, gather valuable first-party data to personalized experiences and increase your customer lifetime value. All of these things come together to help you generate and nurture leads, and connect with customers.
What Does a MarTech Stack Consist of?
Beyond the essentials, a martech stack can consist of several components, which work together to provide an integrated solution. What you need will depend on your organization’s specific goals and processes. These tools may include:
• A CRM system
• An email marketing platform
• Analytics tools
• Data management
• Content creation
• Digital advertising platforms
• Social media
• Website optimization
• Email marketing
• Online reputation management
• Conversion tracking
• Lead nurturing
• Market research
• Video marketing
Building Your First MarTech Stack
Once you decide that you’re ready to put together a martech stack for the first time. What do you do and how do you figure out exactly what you need? Here’s a process that you and your team should go through before putting a stack of solutions together:
Understand your goals
Before you choose any specific tool, it’s important to understand why you need a martech stack. What do you hope to achieve with a particular combination of tools? Do you want to improve the customer experience? Increase conversions? Generate more revenue? The answers to these questions will guide you in selecting the right martech stack.
Talk about your team's challenges
Next, talk to your team members and find out the challenges that they face when trying to execute their daily jobs. Ask them how they feel about their current workflows. Then, come back together as a group and discuss which features would help them overcome those obstacles.
For example, maybe they struggle to keep up with all customer communications. So, they've tried implementing their own solutions to help them overcome this problem. After discussing their needs, you’ll now have a clearer picture of what tools you need to build your martech stack.
Determine top tools and budget
At this point, since you’ll know about the challenges in your organization, you’ll be able to tell which tools are the most important. Take note of them, so that when you start your search, you can focus on what matters most.
Then, think about how what you’re looking for will fit into the budget. How much can you spend and what constraints do you have to overcome to build something effective for your team? You need to know the answers before investing in any solutions.
Research and make your selections
This is where it all begins to come together. You can start researching different vendors to see which ones offer the best solutions and which ones will work best to help you create the workflows you want. Don’t rush this step, it’s important to get as much information as you can about using a tool before you add it to your stack.
Document along the way
The best martech stacks don't just magically appear fully formed. Instead, they grow over time. As your business evolves, so does your martech stack. To avoid getting stuck, make sure you periodically review the choices you’re making about your martech stack, so you can understand the choices made and how to make effective changes down the line.
4 Steps to Simplifying Your Existing Stack
There are many different ways to simplify a martech stack. Here are some examples of common solutions:
1. Evaluate your current choices
If there’s some frustration with your current stack of tools, it’s likely because there’s too much complexity or something isn’t working for you. Do an audit of the tools you’re using and what they do for your organization to figure out what to keep and what you may need to replace.
2. Choose one tool per function
Repetition isn’t always a bad thing, but when it comes to your martech stack, it can be wasteful. Do your best to choose one tool per necessary function and ensure that none of the solutions that you’re using conflict with each other.
3. Seek out integrations
Another option is to look at integrating multiple systems together. You may already have tools that you are happy with. If this is the case, you can start by looking into how these platforms integrate with each other. For example, you could use a CRM to send emails from within your email marketing platform. Or you could set up rules so that certain events trigger automated tasks across systems.
4. Search for a provider that covers multiple martech needs
You can also look for a single cloud provider for many or all of your martech needs. If you go this route, you’ll have fewer vendors to manage and support. You also get the benefit of having access to a wider range of integrations and features with a smaller learning curve.
Are All-In-One Marketing Platforms Effective?
Yes, they can be effective. All-in-one marketing solutions provide an easy way to manage multiple different tasks in one place. They also allow marketers to easily track results across all channels. However, there are drawbacks to using an all-in-one solution. The most obvious drawbacks are costs and a potential lack of flexibility. Do your research to ensure that the option you're considering actually fits your organization's specific needs.
Final Thoughts: Building a MarTech Stack that Grows with Your Business
Building your own martech stack is a great way to ensure that you have more control over the customer journey and make things easier for your team. It’s now easier than ever to leverage technology that works for you, as long as you take the time to evaluate the options and be patient as you work to find the right solutions. When you create your ideal martech stack, you’ll create a better experience for everyone that interacts with your organization.