Marketing operations have changed dramatically in the last several years. The Marketing Technology Stack (which has been appropriately shortened to “Martech stack”) now dominates time and investment for marketers.
Vendors offering all kinds of goodies to marketers have increased by over 3000% since 2011. It can be hard to identify what a Martech stack should do. The end goal seems clear: “Make our marketing better.” However, what technology stack to have and even what the different parts of the stack are can be hard to figure out.
I certainly felt that way when I entered the Martech world a few years ago. I had no clue what any Martech stack looked like, let alone what a “good” one was made of. This is the first in a series of posts that are the result of a lot of research in the marketing technology world. This blog post provides a simple 4 category view of the Martech stack based on all that research.
What the heck is a Martech stack?
To get a better picture of a Martech stack, think of your marketing effort like a house. You have the basics: foundation, a roof, and some walls. These are your core marketing content and brand. Next, you have a lot of furniture you put in the house to woo any guests. This furniture is all the marketing material you create for current and potential customers.
Your goal is to have your guests love your house. Unfortunately, the problem is you are never in the house at the same time as your guests. You have no idea if they hated your couch or loved your fancy espresso machine. Heck, you don’t even know who they are!
Now here is where the Martech stack comes in. Your Martech stack is the A/C and heating unit to keep your guests comfortable. It is the interior designer that comes in and orients your furniture to make it more appealing. It’s the D/J who plays some jams as your guests walk through the house. It’s your own personal insider telling you all the details about each of your guests. Most importantly, it’s your guru telling you which of these things is actually helping your guests love your house.
The Martech stack is really centered around these two concepts:
- Answer the marketers’ questions
- Improve their marketing effort
What parts are in a Martech stack?
To simplify things, consider the Martech stack as having 4 main areas. These areas answer specific needs in your marketing effort.
How can you get people to your house?
All the content in the world won’t do any good if no one sees it. Technology in this area is designed for the entry point of your marketing funnel. Both for Outbound and Inbound marketing processes. Some examples include SEO, and Advertising for Inbound, or email services for Outbound. This area of the stack also includes social media marketing.
These are tools designed to increase the “awareness” of customers about you and what you do. Of course, it’s not just a volume game. Ideally, the sign you put up in your front yard attracts the sort of people you want in your house. Likewise, the advertising, media, and SEO/SEM vendors in this part of the Martech stack send the customers you want to your content.
On top of directing customers your way (aka Inbound), this layer of the stack includes cool tools to help you go get customers. I’ve come across a lot of buzz about “adding social media to your outbound prospecting”. Even Marketo’s SDR team takes advantage of tools to identify their customers via LinkedIn.
Once people are in your house, how can you keep their attention?
This part of the stack is all about your content. Some tools are designed to “plug holes” in your marketing funnel. Others are meant to create experiences and journeys for your customers.
You ultimately want your content to generate conversions. Whether that be clicks, filling in forms or downloading content, that’s the goal of our content funnel. You don’t want people to leave your funnel before they convert. It’s like having a hole in the wall of your house that your guests fall through. It’s bad to have holes in your funnel, so tools in this part of the Martech stack help you plug them.
Additionally, this section of the stack includes tools to help you make your marketing content more directional. Like the “directed flow” architecture in stores like IKEA. We always end up spending more time (and ultimately more money) in those stores. That’s because they direct us through all the sections before we can check out. Tools in this part of the stack help your marketing content achieve that same effect with interactions and “stories.”
Tools in this bucket range from Marketing Automation Platforms, Content Management Systems (CMS), and Content optimization/creation services.
Relationship Management & Data
Ideally, you’d like to get to know the people in your house.
This part of your Martech stack helps you build the relationship with your customers. You may have all the content you ever needed, but if you don’t know anything about the customer other than an email address, you limit your ability to form a relationship with them.
The tools in this part of the stack are probably the most variable. These tools extend from Data Enrichment tools, Lead Scoring tools, to CRMs and even Marketing Automation Platforms. These tools are supposed to help you understand your customers and their interactions with your content. Moreover, the tools in this section help you identify and prioritize your customers.
For example, Data Enrichment tools are designed to give you Demographic information on a customer. With that information, you can gain insight into what “personas” are interacting with your content. If you have all the clicks, views, and visits you could ever want, it would be nice to know how many of them are the end customer you’re targeting. You achieve this with demographic scoring. Likewise, lead scoring helps you determine which of your customers are “ready to buy”. For more on that, read our earlier blog on behavior scoring.
ROI & Analysis
What things in your house made people love it?
After all the effort you’ve put into building your house, you want to measure which of your labors were worth it. If nobody took notice of the sweet lounge chair you paid oodles of money for, it would be nice to know that you’re better off not buying another one. That’s the job of this layer of the Martech stack. These tools give you insight into which marketing efforts paid off and which ones didn’t.
The ultimate Return on Investment (ROI) for each marketing effort is how much of your products your customers bought due to that marketing effort. I know that sounds obvious, but it can be hard to really measure the impact each piece of the marketing pie contributes to revenue. Tools in this space on the stack should provide you with an immediate picture into your marketing efforts’ ROI. Ideally, these tools should give you the ability to measure the ROI of other parts of the Martech stack. That is the ultimate win.
Related to ROI, this layer includes analysis and reporting of your marketing efforts. For example, this would include tools that analyze your leads performance through the various stages of the marketing life cycle and ideally, through the sales life cycle. These tools should also provide you with predictions into how your programs will perform. How many customers they will convert, and how long it will take them to convert.
Also included in this layer of the stack are tools to help you manage your marketing efforts. These tools range from budgeting tools to talent management. The main goal with this subset of tools is to increase and measure your productivity as a marketing team. That way you spend less time and energy on the management and more time on solving marketing problems.
OK, that’s the Martech stack. Now what?
Does this mean there should only be one tool per category of the stack? Not necessarily. Some tools don’t solve all the problems addressed in each category. These 4 categories are just one way of slicing up the Martech stack. To be honest, I’ve seen it described in 20 sections. This representation is meant to be more approachable from a high level. If you feel like I’m missing a critical section of your Martech stack, send us an email at email@example.com!
If you want a breakdown of your current stack, stay tuned and subscribe to the blog. In the next post of this series, I’ll give you some resources for ensuring your Martech stack is doing what you want it to.
ORM Technologies prides itself on offering a solution squarely in the ROI & Analysis layer of the Martech stack. Our Optimized Marketing solution automatically associates marketing leads with sales opportunities to give you accurate ROI on your marketing efforts. Lastly, we give you an optimized marketing strategy to maximize your ROI for the lowest cost. If you want to measure your marketing ROI and optimize your marketing spend, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.