Every good marketing team has a particular martech stack (or marketing technology stack) that they work with, whether they realize it or not. Essentially, your martech stack is the combination of online tools and software products that your marketing team is using together to create processes and funnels and fulfill your marketing strategy.
If you're working with a new marketing team, or your team is trying to do a software overhaul and figure out if there's a more efficient way to utilize your tools together, you may need to build a martech stack from scratch. In fact, one of the biggest issues that companies tend to face when it comes to their martech is that they can't figure out how to make it work well together. You need to have that vision of how your software can be compatible with one another or else you're not going to have a successful or efficient martech stack.
Although it can be incredibly overwhelming to build a new martech stack for your company because there are endless software options out there, we're going to go over the details of what you need to look for throughout the process so that you can put together a stack of software that will work for your marketing team.
Understand your company's needs and business model.
First things first, in order to build a comprehensive martech stack, you need to know what your company's needs are as well as you know what the back of your hand looks like. You also need to understand its business model, how it sells its products/services, and who its audience is before you dive any deeper.
Different types of businesses run on very different business models, and yours will be the key to putting together a technology stack.
For example, a B2B marketing agency runs differently than a B2B marketing technology company, even though they're both B2B. The former is targeting business owners while the latter is targeting marketers. And both run incredibly differently from a B2C retailer or eCommerce shop.
So understanding what type of business you're working with and what their needs are is key to getting started creating your marketing technology stack.
First, ask yourself these questions about your business. Some of them are no-brainer questions, but if you're new to the company and are just getting started reworking their martech stack, you may need some assistance getting everything straight.
- Is your business product- or service-based?
- What is your product or service?
- Is your business B2B or B2C?
- If B2B, are you targeting small-to-medium businesses or enterprise-level businesses?
- How long does it take to move a lead through the sales process?
- How hands-on is your sales process?
- Where do most of your leads currently come from?
- Do you want to scale that channel or create a new one?
- Who is your target audience?
- Where does your target audience spend their time online?
Then you need to understand what your business's needs are. What is the marketing team currently using? What is working, what do they need, and what are they trying to replace?
Ask these questions about the company's needs.
- What needs does your company have that do not currently have marketing technology assistance?
- What needs does your company have that your marketing technology is not currently meeting?
- What are your company's top three challenges when it comes to achieving goals and meeting benchmarks?
- What tasks take up most of the marketing team's time?
- How are you hoping to make processes more efficient?
Fully understanding the business type you're working with as well as what its needs are will be essential to creating a marketing technology stack that works.
Once you know the answers to each of these questions, you're ready to move forward.
Determine your marketing technology categories.
There are so many different categories that marketing technology lives in. Do you need automation help? Help with social media? Analyzing statistics and data? Lead generation technology?
The key to getting ready to dive into choosing your marketing technology is narrowing down the categories that your business utilizes and with which your business needs help. These could be:
- Social media management
- Landing pages
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Digital advertising
- Public relations
- Influencer outreach and marketing
- Analytics and data management
- Customer surveys
- Lead magnets
- Marketing automation
Determine which out of those (or potentially other tasks) your business needs assistance with so you can get started finding your marketing technology solutions. In fact, you may even be able to find some technology that assists with multiple categories.
Some companies have determined the most important avenues that they need marketing technology to cover, and have then found ways to make it work for their smaller, less important channels as well.
Let's go over an example of this.
Essentially, you're categorizing your most important elements of sales and marketing for your business or the things that you need to be able to track. These may even be overhead channels that then break down further.
- Customer Service
- Social media management
- Conversation monitoring
- Email Marketing
- Email automation
- Email marketing funnel
- Analytics & data management
- Landing pages
- Digital Advertising
- Social media ads
You might then find perfect social media management marketing technology solutions that help you with responding to customers, monitoring brand mentions, scheduling content, and more. You might find a CRM that helps you with your email marketing broadcasts as well as more advanced automation and email marketing funnels. Perhaps you find a CMS for your website that offers in-depth analytics plus a method for creating one-off landing pages for campaigns and strong SEO optimization.
Breaking down your needs and your business' sales and marketing avenues into categories can make it easier to find a solution that is going to work for you.
There might even be more than one way to do it. When you're getting started building your martech stack, try grouping your tools in a few different ways until you find the perfect categorization. After all, there are so many technologies out there, with many offering some of the same things, but in different places on the menu.
Talk to different teams and departments within your company.
Your marketing technology is likely going to need to work for more than just marketers, so you're going to want to talk to the different teams within the company with which marketing works...especially sales.
Because marketing and sales are so closely related, you want to work together on the company's martech stack. One big part of a business' stacks is a CRM, which is mostly used by the sales team to keep track of leads and where each prospect is within the sales process.
Many CRMs also include email marketing and automation capabilities, though, so if you're able to find a software that can do both, you might find even more ways for your sales and marketing teams to work together to push prospects through the sales funnel.
You also want to be sure that you check in with the finance team to make sure everyone is on the same page with what the company can afford. It's useless looking into technology that is completely out of the budget, so understanding financial limitations is essential.
Talk to any other managers or executives within your company that may need access or assistance from any other technology so that you're aware of other parts of the business that you may need to work with or stay in touch with while building your marketing technology stack.
Make sure your marketing technology stack is scalable.
There are tons of marketing software and technology available for businesses of all shapes and sizes, but you want to make sure that you're using technology that makes sense for you.
As an example, some email marketing software makes sense for very small businesses or solopreneurs who are doing the absolute least when it comes to sending out email newsletters. They're sending out an email to their list once a month just to stay top of mind, but other than that, they do not run automation or segmentation campaigns. So they're using cheap email marketing software because that is not where they're putting their focus.
But that's not scalable. Even if your company is there right now, that's not where you want to be forever, especially if the business has plans to grow.
Instead, you want to find an email marketing platform that is still affordable, but that offers email automation, segmentation, and other services that you know your company may need to use in the future. It is the same with anything else. Don't find the bare minimum software for your business needs right now. Know how you plan to use the software in the future if your company continues to grow, and plan around that.
Research marketing technology.
Now that you know where your company needs help and what types of tools you need to be looking for, the next step is to start your research. Using your identified categories, start by conducting an online search for the umbrella terms to see what is out there that can work for more than one specific need.
You absolutely could find a different specialized, niche tool for every single thing on your list. There are so many tools out there that this would be no problem. But it would be silly, and a waste of money, to piece specialized technology together when you can easily find a much more affordable option in a technology that covers multiple bases. Don't invest in one tool for social media scheduling and a completely separate tool for social media monitoring if you can find one that does both well.
Start with a core product.
The easiest way to start building is to find a core product and build from there. Finding a product that aligns perfectly with your business goals, then moving outward to find other products that integrate and work well with that product is a smart martech stack-building strategy.
Some of the most popular CRMs are Infusionsoft, Salesforce, HubSpot, Highrise, Zoho, Oracle, and ProsperWorks, so those are great places to get started with your research.
From there, you might check out Buffer, Sprout Social, Edgar, or CoSchedule for your social media management. There's Marketo, Pardot, HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, Infusionsoft, and Ontraport for marketing automation. However, for businesses that are not quite enterprise level, Zapier is incredible for creating automations and building integrations with technology that don't otherwise have them built in. The platform is also very affordable.
Check out other options for the rest of your categories to see which will easily integrate with your core product. You also want to find options that will work with tech you've already got within your business, or have already selected for the future.
Start building out until you've completely put together a brilliant and effective marketing technology stack for your business. If you need assistance choosing your marketing data platform, request a free demo today!