Side view of computer screen with technology icons flowing out the back in lines

As the digital marketing landscape continues to evolve, so do your customers’ expectations for a connected and personalized experience across all of your brand’s touchpoints. As a modern marketer, you need a stack of tools to ensure you’re getting the right messages in front of the right customers at the right time. 

According to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey for 2018-2019, martech now accounts for a whopping 29% of the total marketing expense budget, making it the single largest area of investment when it comes to marketing resources and programs.

Let’s take a deeper dive into marketing technology stacks and how to put yours to work for your business.

What is a marketing technology stack?

A marketing technology stack (also known as a tech stack) is a group of tools used to execute, analyze, and improve marketing across the customer life cycle. This includes a variety of marketing platforms used across many channels. 

Marketing tech stacks often include the following marketing platforms:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software
  • Content management system (CMS)
  • Customer data platform (CDP)
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Email management
  • Marketing automation
  • Social media management
  • Advertising technology
  • Prospecting and outreach
  • Web analytics
  • Collaboration

Each component serves a critical purpose in the efficient operation of your business at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Some technologies can span many layers of the technology stack.

What marketing tools should I consider for my tech stack?

The goals of marketing technology, or martech, are to improve internal collaboration, measure the impact of marketing activities, and reach customers in new ways. Simply put, martech helps marketers evolve with the changing needs of their customers. 

However, the number of channels and breadth of martech vendors are overwhelming. According to Scott Brinker of chiefmartec.com, there were only about 150 marketing technology solutions in 2011, compared to more than 7,040 in 2019. 

Here’s a look at the marketing technology landscape through his Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic, April 2019.  

Each company’s marketing tech stack should be structured to meet that business’s unique needs.

For example, a marketer’s tech stack might include: 

  • A customer relationship management (CRM) software like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics
  • A content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Craft to host a company website or blog
  • An email or marketing automation platform like Salesforce Marketing Cloud or HubSpot
  • A social media management tool like Sprout Social
  • Analytics tools like Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics and Tableau

Your marketing tools alone are not a strategy. The real value marketing technology provides is in the strategy and approach it enables. 

Related: The flywheel: A new era of customer relationship management

Before investing in new software and tech stack components, think about which tools will help you reach your goals. Consider how they will work with other platforms to improve your customers’ experience.

Take a team approach to marketing tech stacks

You shouldn’t create your tech stack in a silo. It takes a team approach to manage the implementation and optimization of the different tools within a marketing tech stack. One of the most common ways teams manage their stacks is by delegating components to different departments. These could include marketing, sales, customer service, and agency partners. 

The insights gained from your marketing tech stack are valuable. It’s important to share them beyond your marketing department. Determine a plan up front to share key insights with your sales, customer service, and agency partners as well.

Documenting your marketing tech stack

Choosing the right martech is important, but so is documenting and sharing that concept across your organization. Many marketers create a simple single-page document that illustrates their stack. This includes the collection of marketing tools they use and how they conceptualize them together. 

Your tech stack illustration is key to ensuring you’re using the right tools and communicating their purpose and value across your organization. It serves as a marketing enablement asset that helps key stakeholders understand what’s in the tech stack and how it serves your organization’s overall marketing operations. 

It also helps you prevent too much overlap as you adopt new tools, which will ultimately help keep martech costs down. A big tech stack does not always equal a big payoff. It’s important to be mindful about the cost and rationale behind each new marketing technology you adopt. 

There are many ways to organize and conceptualize your marketing tech stack. These include mapping martech to the customer journey, internal workflows, or product application. Check out these creative marketing tech stack designs from the 2019 MarTech Stackies.  

Start documenting your marketing tech stack today

You’re likely already using a variety of marketing technology solutions for your operations, so now you just need a plan for evolving your marketing tech stack and putting it to work for your business. 

Start by taking an inventory of your current marketing tools and how they impact your internal collaboration, marketing activities, and customer experience, and then identify any gaps or challenges before aligning on your marketing technology needs.

Need help making the most of your tech stack? Contact me at hillaryf@2rm.com today to talk martech, or fill out our contact form below to learn more about our integrated marketing services. 

About Hillary Ferry

After launching her career at a firm in Los Angeles, Hillary’s family lured her back home to Des Moines as our digital marketing director. Outside of work you can find her coaching gymnastics. Reach out to her at hillaryf@2rm.com for help with digital strategy — or your cartwheel technique.