Although you may not be entirely familiar with the term tech stack, it's more than likely that your company still has some kind of tech stack in place. Every marketing team needs some kind of technology to help generate leads, nurture them, segment them out, score them, and more. It's not possible (or at least not easily done) to complete all of these necessary marketing tasks without the proper software and tools.
This is why we talk about tech stacks and, more specifically, martech stacks so often on the ReachForce blog. Because we want marketers to understand how to actually build a successful martech stack for their team and their processes.
When marketers actually start to look at their marketing technology as a whole, it's so much easier to find the software and tools that will work together to meet the end goal and optimize your martech budget. You want to start by keeping your current technology in mind, then start to dig deeper.
Let's dive in.
What is a tech stack?
Alright, so we've covered the basics. Let's get into the nitty gritty.
The definition of a tech stack is the combination of software and tools used to complete a process. In this case, it's a marketing process, like the buyer's journey or sales funnel. The term tech stack was coined initially by developers to refer to the tech used to create a web or mobile application, but has since expanded into other industries.
This is why marketers tend to refer to their specific tech stacks as martech stacks. Because we're talking specifically about marketing technology.
Why do you need a martech stack?
You need a martech stack to complete marketing processes for your company, as well as ensure you're not overspending on technology.
As we mentioned previously, your marketing team probably already has some sort of martech stack, even if you don't realize it. The importance of actually looking at it like a stack, though, and thinking about all of your available software and tools (especially those you're paying for) as a whole is to ensure you're not utilizing or subscribing to any two software products that actually do the same thing.
We'll dive into this more in a moment.
How do you build a successful martech stack?
As with anything, you want what your marketing team does to be a success. You want to properly utilize your marketing budget. You want to take advantage of every feature your technology has to offer. And you want to put together a martech stack that actually works for you, that creates and completes your processes, that offers aid to your sales and marketing teams instead of adding on even more work.
Here are a few ways to ensure the success of your martech stack.
1. Don't overpay for technology.
This is one of the most important keys to success, which is why this is the third time we're bringing it up in a single blog post. If there's one thing you don't want to do in a company, it's spend money where it doesn't need to be spent.
So take some time as a team to list out every single software package or tool that your company uses for marketing. Make sure you list exactly what your team is using it for, as well as what all of its features are. Check in on these regularly, because marketing software companies are always adding and updating features to their platforms.
Nix any tools that your team isn't utilizing well, or that can be handled by another software you're using more. This will open up more of your budget for higher tier plans on more important software or tools that can handle and automate even more tasks for your team.
2. Work as a team.
Everyone on your company's marketing team has a different role and interacts with your martech stack in a different way. Don't make assumptions on anyone else's behalf on how integral a certain software or tool is to their job. Be sure that everyone on the team has fair say in which software and tools should be included in the company's martech stack.
3. Find technology that integrates well.
One great way to ensure that you're not overspending on your martech stack and that it's going to work well in completing processes for your company is by finding software and tools that have integrations together. This can make the ease of the sales funnel or buyer's journey for your company that much more seamless, because your technology products are speaking to each other, rather than needing a team member to manually handle anything.
What should you include in your martech stack?
If you're just getting started creating a martech stack for your sales and marketing processes or you're looking to revamp an outdated stack, there are a few staples you'll want to include. Although every single company's stack should look different, we can all agree on a few of the basics.
It's kind of like a pantry. Although everyone's pantries look different, we all still keep stashes of the same basic food groups.
Here are a few categories that you'll need to include software for in your martech stack.
1. Content Management System (CMS)
A CMS is the technology that hosts your website and blog content, and the most common CMS is WordPress. There are several different options, but you'll want to find one that has all of the various capabilities that your website will need. Perhaps you'll need a large server and a coded website, perhaps WordPress will be perfect for your site, or perhaps you want to go with a smaller, less complex version like Squarespace or Wix.
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most important aspects of any company's digital strategy, and you'll need a technology for housing your email list and communicating with them. Although there are basic email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact, we recommend something more expansive like ActiveCampaign, Campaign Monitor, or Drip. These will offer more marketing automation features and more stats on your subscribers.
3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Better yet, find a CRM that manages your email marketing, or at least integrates well with your email marketing platform. For example, Salesforce offers a number of integrations within their platform for email marketing. Your CRM will house all of your sales leads, any account information, contact information, and notes that your sales and marketing team members need to add based on interactions.
4. Social Media
This includes any technology for scheduling content, creating content, monitoring online interactions around your company, and more. In fact, your social media technology stack might be one of the most extensive of every marketing section. This is due to the fact that social media marketing itself has many different facets, including content creation, community management, analytics, and more.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization, or SEO, refers to the practice of implementing keywords and other strategies to increase the ranking of your website and its pages in search engine results pages (SERPs). You may want to utilize technology for keyword research, alerting search engines to focus keywords within your website pages, and assisting with backlinks for your website.
Everything your marketing team does should be analyzed. This helps ensure improvements on campaigns as well as helping your team to better understand why something may or may not have worked. You'll want to look at your website analytics, landing page analytics, email analytics, social media analytics, and anything else that you utilize to run campaigns and market your company. Some of these tools are free, like Google Analytics for your website, but you may need to invest in others in order to see the full scope of your digital marketing.
7. Data Management Software
Last, but certainly not least, you'll need a software that allows your company to easily house, sift through, clean up, and overall manage your data. Not only do you want to utilize this for any big data that your company acquires, but you want this for your own customer data. Although you'll have your CRM and/or email marketing platform to host your email list and sales leads for you, a data management software is different.
Not only does it hold onto data for you, it helps you determine which data points you need to keep so you can easily remove excess data that your sales and marketing teams have no need for. It can also append data from your opt-in forms to help you get a bigger picture of your sales leads and prospects, and it can regularly clean and update your data so that you don't have to worry about having a database full of dirty and out of date information.
Utilizing a data management software isn't an option for companies that go through a lot of data. This is perhaps the most indispensable part of your martech stack, and you should be doing your research to ensure you find one that best fits your company's needs.
Let us help you with your research by offering a Free Demo of our SmartSuite and what it can do for your company.
Putting together a successful martech stack can seem like an overwhelming project, but its importance cannot be overstated. Just because it's a big task doesn't mean you should put it off. Get your marketing team together (and your sales team if possible), go over all of your current technology, and research ideas for technology that your company might need to add to your stack.
A successful martech stack doesn't overspend, utilizes all of its features, integrates seamlessly, and helps to complete the sales process for your sales and marketing teams. Take in all of the information from this blog post to ensure your martech stack "stacks up" against your competition.