How to Optimize Your MarTech Stack
Don't let an unwieldy "Frankenstack" slow you down. Optimize your MarTech stack for better business results.
We didn’t always need technology in marketing, but today we can’t live without it. It’s allowed us to move beyond outdated, generic marketing models and embrace data-driven marketing strategies. Your MarTech stack makes it all possible, but choosing the right tools can seem overwhelming.
According to one estimate, there were nearly 8,000 MarTech options available in 2020, from advertising and promotion software to data to program management. Another report found the MarTech industry in North America and the UK is worth an astonishing $65.9 billion, with brands in those regions spending 26% of their marketing budgets on their MarTech stack.
That’s quite a chunk of change, so it’s no wonder you want to get it right. We’re here to help.
What Is MarTech?
MarTech stands for marketing technology, and it’s used to refer to any software or other tools you use to plan, execute, measure and optimize your marketing campaigns. There’s software out there for every marketing function you can think of, and your MarTech stack can easily become an unwieldy tower of siloed technology that slows you down instead of improving efficiencies.
What about other marketing tools, like account-based marketing technology? There is some overlap between MarTech and ABM, but ABM tools tend to be more specialized to create super-targeted, intent-data-driven campaigns. MarTech tools, on the other hand, can help with ABM campaigns and also be used for more general marketing goals. For example, you might have a content management system that you use for both ABM campaigns and to manage your blog. And you’ll definitely use your CRM to track both ABM accounts and any other prospects.
So how do you know which MarTech tools to add to your tech stack? As with anything in business, the key is setting goals and taking an objective look at your current system.
Step 1: Decide What You Need
Before you can choose your MarTech tools, you need to get aligned on your goals, understand your team’s current skill set and then determine what you need to add – or eliminate.
Align Your Team
One of the biggest benefits of MarTech tools is greater alignment among your team and between different departments in your company. For your MarTech stack to work, you must be on the same page regarding goals, metrics, and reporting.
First, see what experience and expertise your team already has with MarTech tools. You may be able to shorten your onboarding time by using tools they’re familiar with. Then be sure you’re aligned on what you want to get out of your tools. The more organized you are, the better.
Determine Your Gaps
Now it’s time to figure out what you need to add to your MarTech stack to achieve those goals. Evaluate your current tools and the areas they cover. Ask your team about any particular pain points with existing tools and where they think you could best streamline your processes.
While some software takes care of multiple marketing goals, you don’t have to go that route. It often makes more sense to choose tools that fill particular gaps in your process, such as intent tracking, lead management, content marketing, and so on. Align on what you want to get out of your tools, then go from there.
Step 2: Learn to Evaluate MarTech Tools
Let’s be honest: Investing in MarTech tools is a big expense, and you want to make sure you’re getting the most for your money. Whether you’re looking to bring your SaaS sales funnel into the modern age or create new efficiencies, there are a few attributes you’ll want your tools to have.
Executes on Your Business Goals
All marketing must ladder up to your overall business goals, and your MarTech tools are no different. The ultimate goal is likely driving revenue and growth, but dig deeper. What does your marketing program specifically need to do in order to achieve those goals? You might need to:
- Improve efficiency
- Generate higher-quality leads
- Increase brand awareness
- Reach a specific audience
- Decrease churn
Don’t give in to the urge to add a tool here, add a tool there. You’ll end up with a “Frankenstack” of technology that creates more work rather than less. Start with strategy, then work backwards from there.
Integration is a three-part test. The first two questions to ask yourself are: Does your MarTech stack integrate easily with other software your company uses, for example invoicing or time tracking? And will any new software you’re considering integrate easily into your MarTech stack?
The third consideration for integration is who will be using the software and the level of training they will require. Your CRM, for example, will likely be used by a wide variety of people throughout the company, so you’ll want something that is intuitive and easy to use. With more specialized MarTech, like campaign reporting, this will be less of a concern as only a few experts will need to know how to use it.
Measures and Proves Business Impact
The days of marketing operating in a silo with little scrutiny are over. Today’s marketers are under a microscope – and under pressure to connect their marketing campaigns to pipeline revenue. To play nice with finance and keep your programs funded, your C-suite wants to see proof of marketing ROI, quality leads, and sales.
The magic ingredient for many MarTech stacks comes in the form of APIs, which stands for application programming interface. APIs allow you to bring together all the technology in your stack, connecting ad spend to leads and proving marketing influence on sales. There are also specific analytics tools you can use – we’ll get into those in the next section.
Step 3: Choose Your MarTech Tools
The MarTech tools you need will depend on what you currently have, the size of your business, and your goals. However, there are four things every MarTech stack needs: customer relationship management (CRM), content management systems (CMS), marketing automation, and analytics. We’ll go over those first, then dive into other tools that can help your marketing program really thrive.
Customer Relationship Management
Your CRM software is the hub of all your marketing and sales operations. It keeps all of your customer data, from contact information to touchpoints, in one place, helping to qualify leads, optimize your target account lists and more. It also connects departments and team members across your company so that everyone has the same information at the same time. Needless to say, this is one vital MarTech tool.
CRM tools include:
- Hubspot CRM
Content Management System
As business genius Seth Godin says, “Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.” With the recent shift from in-person events to online research, this is becoming even more true – and leaving marketing teams with a ton of content to manage. If your strategy includes lots of content, for example, account-based content marketing, a content management system (CMS) will help you handle it all efficiently.
CMS tools include:
- CMS Hub by HubSpot
Marketers are busy. From advertising to social media to email, it’s a multi-channel marketing world – and it can get repetitive. Marketing automation tools bring it all together and streamline these processes, so you can get more done. They also help you improve the customer experience by serving up more relevant, personalized content.
Marketing automation tools include:
You’ll never know if your MarTech stack is performing up to par without analytics tools, and you’ll never be able to prove the impact of your marketing campaigns on sales, leads and revenue. These tools can be used to analyze the performance of your other MarTech tools, or they can help with web analytics, visitor tracking, competitive analysis, and attribution. To prove the success of your campaigns, you need analytics tools.
Analytics tools include:
- Google Analytics
No matter the latest trends in marketing, email remains a tried-and-true performer: it’s cost-effective, efficient, allows you to gather a lot of data – and it works. Many marketing automation programs come with email tools, but if yours doesn’t, consider the ones listed below. They’ll allow you to create detailed segments, AB tests, nurture campaigns and more.
Email tools include:
- Campaign Monitor
Social Media Management
Social media has become an integral part of any MarTech stack. It can increase brand awareness, promote products and drive traffic to your website. Plus, social media platforms allow you to target very specific audiences and provide analytics, making it cost-effective. Social media management tools help you choose topics, schedule posts, manage the conversation and optimize your campaigns.
Social media management tools include:
- Sprout Social
Conversion Rate Optimization
Are your potential buyers doing what you want them to do on your website? With conversion rate optimization (CRO) tools, you’ll be able to determine what works, what doesn’t and how you can better optimize your site to drive conversion. You can test CTAs, design, and copy to create more effective landing pages, form pages, and product pages.
CRO tools include:
- Google Optimize
- Crazy Egg
We did it! Now you know everything there is to know about how to build and optimize your MarTech stack. But if you still have questions, you may want to hire an expert. With 8,000 tools out there, it can be tough to choose.
Still need help with your MarTech stack?
Contact us for a consultation.