The ultimate goal of any company is to acquire more customers and grow.
Growth relies on an excellent collaboration between Product, Marketing, Sales, and Support team. Every client-facing functions must be aligned and go in the same direction.
Technology is playing a central role and help the teams to gather, share information, and overall improve their processes.
Finally, customers will be delighted by the excellent products and services offered.
Marketing technologies are on the rise and are playing the role of enablers. Companies understood this and started spending more and more on martech.
Today, we are going to learn how a marketing technology stack can help you to run, operate, and grow your business.
At the end of this article, you will:
- Understand what a marketing technology stack is
- What are the key components that you have to consider
- How to build, consolidate and extend your existing application ecosystem
And as a bonus, we will build a “fictional” marketing technology stack made of tools coming from one single country (spoiler alert – it is not the US).
Table of Contents
What is a marketing technology stack
Marketing technology (also known as martech) represents all the technologies, software, and applications used by companies to manage the whole customer lifecycle from acquisition to retention.
Based on your type of business (B2C or B2B), your industry, and your customers’ behaviors, your marketing strategy and processes can differ from another companies.
However, and in any case, your strategy will have an impact on how you organize your technology stack and on what tools and software you should consider.
For any businesses, a consolidated marketing technology stack will help to:
- Execute your marketing plan
- Automate marketing and sales processes
- Gather insights about customers’ behaviors along their entire lifecycle
- Learn from your actions and improve overtime your tactics
A marketing technology stack is a set of interconnected tools that will let you operate your entire marketing strategy, and streamline your processes across teams.
How to use technology in your marketing plan
Even though it is quite tempting to head first in a tool selection and start all the trials and demo possible right away. It is maybe not the best approach to build your stack.
You might be aware that there are 7’000 marketing tools available, and even more are discovered every day.
To make the best use of technology in your marketing plan, you could follow these steps:
- Define your marketing strategy, tactics, and channel.
- Understand the strengths of your team and how “technologist” they are.
- Think about processes and data flow across teams
- Finally, assess the right technologies, and build step-by-step
Don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to make a three years plan: set the baseline of your strategy and understand the stages your customer will go through.
New tools and channels will pop up in the future. But the stages and interactions with your company a customer will go through during his lifetime might stay consistent.
Martech for an inbound approach
Let’s take the following example: Your company is doing inbound marketing.
Your strategy consists of generating awareness and educating your prospects about your solution, and how it will reduce their pain points.
Content marketing and SEO is playing a significant role as you want to drive inbound traffic to your site, and organically if possible.
Your marketing and sales team needs streamlined processes and tools, as customers will flow through your communication channels and have several touchpoints with various internal stakeholders.
What will be the tactics and tools needed for a typical inbound approach?
Here a none-exhaustive list of important martech tools you could consider.
You have to generate awareness. Your brand and products must be known. People must find your company when they search to solve their issues.
Content is vital in this process. Therefore developing your website, content hub, and publication mechanism will be a primordial activity.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Tools
Mastering SEO is crucial, and also can increase your ROI when organic traffic starts to come.
SEO tools have many aspects. They will help you to understand trends in customer’s searches or spy on competition content strategy.
Such tools will help you to define your own content strategy.
Content Management System (CMS)
CMS will be the foundation of your content strategy and act as a content hub. Your editors will work with the Content Management System to draft, create, and communicate your key messages.
The must-have Web analytics
Web analytics is a must-have, you have to understand how the top-of-the-funnel performs.
A proper analytics solution will give you precious information about your audience behaviors:
- How users landed on your site
- What is their behavior flow
- What content is generating traction
Social Media Management Solutions
Even if social networks are crowded spaces, nobody can ignore them.
Social Media tools will help you to publish content on various channels, plan your campaigns, and connect with your audience.
You will build a stronger relationship with your customers.
And more tools…
More tools and features will help you to initiate a relationship with your audiences, such as design, content marketing, or PR tools.
You could also use a Digital Asset Manager (DAM) to store all your assets in a centralized way. If you plan to develop the paid channels, they will also be plenty of tools to review.
Significant traffic is coming to your website; it’s time to engage with your visitors, and turn them into leads. And finally to transform your efforts into paid customers.
And here again, a set of technology will help you to gather customer information and continue to strengthen your relationships with them.
Marketing Automation is another cornerstone of your marketing technology stack.
It will help you to automate (email) campaigns, and deliver targeted and personalized content to your leads.
Form and Landing Page Builders
Forms and Landing pages might be already available with your CMS or Marketing Automation.
Anyhow, specialized vendors brought advanced functionality to get more lead intelligence and increase the conversion rates with optimized landing pages.
Conversational marketing is on the rise. Having a bot and live chat feature is again another way to hook up with your leads and drive them to the right information.
You help them to do the next step.
Customer Management System (CRM)
A must-have for any organization. Once the Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) are handed over to the sales team, Sales will start working on opportunities until closing the deal.
They can monitor the entire sales pipeline within the CRM and get reports about sales forecasts.
Sales Intelligence Tools
Sales Intelligence solutions bring more insights about a deal potential.
Such solutions can define or better, predict, the likelihood of closing a deal. It helps sales to focus on the right opportunities with advanced lead scoring methods.
To reduce churn and improve customers lifetime value (CLV), you have to keep a consistent communication with your customers to turn them into loyal customers.
Also time after time, you will gather more and more information about your target audience. And you will be able to measure the performances of your actions and offer tailored services to your customers.
Customer Service Software
With a Customer Service Software you will collect the issues of your customers and deliver solutions.
You can keep a record of all the transactions with them and build up a knowledge base.
It will help your team to be prepared for the next similar problems and improve your services and products.
Feedback and Survey Solution
The key to success is to build a product that you customers will love.
To make this happen, you can survey your users regularly, gather their feedback, and communicate the result with the rest of your organization in order to improve your products, services or processes.
Business Analytics Platforms and KPI Dashboards
If you are doing some growth marketing or growth hacking, you know the importance of consolidated data.
All the tools of your stack already deliver analytics. They measure the touchpoints or steps they are in charge.
Business Analytics platforms will help you to consolidate all the data from various sources into a single dashboard. It will help you to review your KPI and follow your north star.
Get more insights with a Customer Data Platform (CDP)
With a CDP, you can even go further and use the data collected about all your customers.
Gather information from the top to the bottom of the funnel, from your website, marketing automation, and CRM.. and even more tools and touchpoints.
CDP promises to build a unified customer profile by connecting all the sources. Then it will give you insights about the next actions to take.
Best-of-breed marketing technology stack
At each steps of the customer journey, and for each single internal processes, you will find a set of tools to support your initiatives.
Building your stack will be a decision made on your processes, people, integration constraints, and budget.
So far, we didn’t drop any vendors name in order to give you an idea of the categories of tools you might look first.
In the second part of this article, we will build a marketing stack made of tools coming from one and unique country.
Building a Swiss-made marketing technology stack
Recently I’ve been involved in a project with other marketing technologists. Our goal was to build country marketing technology landscape.
I’ve led the Switzerland Martech Landscape and consolidated all the tools originated from this country located the middle of the Alps.
In this section, our challenge will be to build a robust marketing technology stack only with the tools from the Swiss Martech Landscape.
We will follow the same approach than previously. We will define per stage of the customer journey what tools is the best fit for our stack.
The stack might more fit for B2B businesses, but you will get the idea.
Attract with Swiss Tools
Web content with Magnolia CMS
Open with your main digital channel: Your website. And develop your online presence with a flexible CMS.
With Magnolia CMS you will be able to:
you will be able to:
- Create web pages, blog posts, and landing pages.
- Manage the user experience end to end.
- Integrate other tools of the stack easily.
Digital Asset Management with Sharedien
If you have to manage and organize large volumes of digital assets such as pictures, documents, or video. And re-use them across all your channels, a DAM is required.
With Sharedien you will be able to:
- Manage all your assets in one place and tagged them.
- Define relationship and structure your files.
- Edit, crop and edit your images.
- Distribute the asset to other channels and integrate with third-party applications.
SEO with SECockpit
Understanding how to outrank your competition and driving organic traffic to your site is critical in any digital strategy.
With a powerful SEO tool, you can foreseen keywords trends and write content people are looking for.
With SECockpit you will be able to:
- Find thousands of valuable keywords and related search queries.
- Discover search volume and trends for specific terms.
- Analyze your competition content and backlinks.
- Track your result and progress.
Publish and curate content with Story Shaker
User-generated content plays an important role. It shows what people say about your brand and it is a testimonial of your success.
With Story Shaker, you will be able to:
- Aggregate all the social signals around your brand and consolidate them in a single view.
- Combine your website content with posts from your social media community.
- Organize a newsroom or social feed space that will help increase traffic and engagement.
- Create engaging stories and publish the content with a single click also to your Facebook or Twitter account.
Automate your content marketing effort with Finitiy
Content is king, and it is imperative to deliver relevantly and up-to-date content to your audience.
Finding trends and insights about your industry will let you stay on top of the content game.
With Finity you will be able to:
- Create digital content powered by AI.
- Analyze millions of online data points about your industry.
- Create real-time visuals and infographics for your website.
Marketing Analytics with Board
Taking the right marketing decision is vital for the long-lasting success of your company.
Board offers a broad set of features for different teams and industries to improve their analytics and consolidate data.
With Board you will be able to:
- Analyze the traffic on your website.
- Measure the performance of each channel.
- Get insights about your brand performance and social media presence.
- Develop flexible reports and dashboards for your team.
Engage with Swiss Tools
Marketing Campaigns and CRM with BSI CRM
From marketing leads to sales opportunities, with a powerful omnichannel CRM software, you will connect sales, marketing, and services departments.
With BSI CRM, you will be able to:
- Design and automate customer journey.
- Send the right message at the right time on the right channel.
- Manage sales processes and automate routine task.
- Integrates data from all systems into a data hub to create a 360° view of your customers.
Sales Insights with SalesWing
Get sales intelligence and focus on highly qualified leads.
By understanding the behaviors of prospects based on historical data, salespeople will be more likely to close deals.
With SalesWing you will be able to:
- Build your smart lead scoring rules easily and use predictive scoring models.
- Get a complete overview of your customer data and understand your customer behavior.
- Establish a seamless connection with your CRM and other tools.
Delight with Swiss Tools
Marketing Intelligence with Nexoya
Gather all the data produced by the tools withing the marketing stack and get valuable insights.
With Nexoya you will be able to:
- Get consolidated analytics & reporting services.
- Overview your entire digital marketing performance across various marketing tools and channels.
- Make better decision with predictive analytics and optimize your marketing campaigns.
Service Desk and Project Management with Gmelius
Deliver excellent customer service and support without leaving your inbox: This is the promise of Gmelius.
Gmelius is built on top of Gmail Inbox and offer several great features for marketing, sales, and support team.
With Gmelius you will be able to:
- Turn Gmail into your company’s help desk
- Share and delegate emails and task across your team
- Work in a Kanban fashion and keep a track on all your activities
- Automate your process and defined repeatable sequences
Closing the loop with technologies
To avoid any complaints from the other vendors of the landscape (or from anybody), I would like to say that alternatives solutions could have been used or added to this example.
But this exercise has been made to help you understand how to navigate the martech space and build a marketing technology stack.
Also, please note that all these tools will not work together by magic. One key factor when you pick a solution is interoperability.
Indeed, interoperability will play a principal role in your marketing stack. You have to pick tools offering built-in plugins or having mechanism (open API) to share data with third-party software.
And one last thing. As you might have seen while describing the features of each tools, some of them have overlapping features.
For example, both tools, BSI CRM and Gmelius offer Marketing Automation features. However, I’ve decided to use BSI CRM for the Marketing Automation and CRM processes.
In this case, Gmelius is only used for its collaborative workspaces needed for a performing helpdesk.
Building a martech stack is also making compromises and considering each tool and its features.
One size fits all doesn’t exist in the martech world and will never exist.
At first sight, the 7000 tools from the current martech landscape could be intimidating.
By following the steps defined previously, and by thinking first about your strategy and processes, you will already get a good picture of what kind of tools are needed.
From then, you could start exploring the landscape.
Also, it is always good to see what other companies are doing and how they use different technology together.
If you want to continue your exploration, I could advise you to have a look at the Stackie Awards. You will get inspired by what other companies do.