Marketing technologists face the challenge of not only choosing the right solutions from the 5,300+ vendors operating in the martech landscape today, but also ensuring that chosen solutions actually integrate with your existing stack.
In addition to that challenge, there is the perpetual responsibility of proving the ROI of those solutions, too.
As discussed in a recent post on the SmartForms blog, all of the responsibility associated with building a successful marketing tech stack makes for an exciting, yet increasingly challenging and stressful task for marketing technologists.
To help alleviate that stress and help you establish a framework for the ultimate technology stack, the SmartForms team has put together these five tips for successfully managing your martech solutions.
#1. First, Get the Right Foundational Tools in Place
Before you can reasonably start thinking about expanding your marketing tech stack into some of the new, creative areas of marketing (like artificial intelligence, account-based marketing, or any of the other trends emerging in 2017), establishing your foundational tools needs to be a top priority.
Marketing automation, customer relationship management, and email and social media marketing are all areas where you should have a strong foundation in place prior to experimenting with new solutions.
The same goes for the backbone of your entire marketing strategy: data management.
A good data management solution collates and feeds clean, quality data to the entirety of your marketing tech stack. So ensuring you have a reliable, effective platform in place should be one of the first goals of an effective marketing technologist.
#2. Survey Your Team to Find Gaps in Your Strategy
While there is no substitute for the research and expertise of a marketing technologist, the entire marketing team should have a voice in providing feedback on the effectiveness of your existing martech solutions.
Why? Because no one is more prepared to provide valuable feedback on the ins and outs of your marketing tech stack than the team responsible for using it each day.
In using the tools in your stack, your team inevitably gains an insider’s perspective on the effectiveness of individual solutions, as well as your stack as a whole. That insight helps you uncover critical gaps in your martech strategy; it also gives your team the confidence of knowing their voice is heard and feedback considered when it comes to the tools they use every day.
It is important to remember, however, that surveying the team often results primarily in qualitative anecdotes on the effectiveness of different solutions. While valuable, the true test of your marketing tech stack’s effectiveness requires a quantitative approach.
#3. Trust the Data (It Almost Never Lies)
Just as your business can now create a portrait of customers based on the wealth of data available to you through various inbound channels, you have the same ability when it comes to understanding what is working in your marketing tech stack.
The reason data matters so much when it comes to effectively managing a marketing tech stack is because it (almost) never lies to you. If a tool works, you will see that reflected in the data. The same goes for tools that do not.
People have a tendency to bring bias into the mix. Your marketing team might love the CRM you have selected because it provides real-time alerts on customer clicks that allow your sales team to quickly take action. However, if those clicks are not resulting in an uptick in revenue, it is hard to make the argument that the CRM is actually adding its proposed value.
The reason we qualify with an “almost” is actually the next principle of effective marketing tech stack management.
#4. Centralize Your Data to a Single Source System
When managed properly, data is foolproof; it is an unbiased source of information that collates information and outputs actionable insights for you and your team.
The concept applies to internal data you might use to evaluate the solutions in your marketing tech stack, as well as customer data your team uses to design and implement successful campaigns.
Just as both use cases benefit from quality data, bad data can have a tremendously adverse effect.
The problem with many marketing tech stacks is that there is no central data source that feeds clean, quality data to the other tools in your stack. Data gets collected across various channels and through various tools, but without a single-source that unifies the data - like ReachForce - insights become disjointed and inaccurate.
Inevitably, it is not just your marketing team that suffers as a result. It is also your customers. This leads to the final tip for managing your marketing tech stack.
#5. Put Customer Experience Above All Else
Seek out more opportunities to create a best-in-class customer experience and prioritize that above any other initiatives or goals in using marketing technology.
As more martech solutions enter the market, businesses find new, increasingly competitive ways to reach customers. As a result, customers now expect more from your marketing efforts. Your generic email campaign just will not cut it.
Instead, personalization and real-time interaction are key.
One of the tools that help make better personalization a possibility is SmartForms.