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How to pick the core components of your MarTech stack

Most marketing organizations already have “maintain a high-performance marketing stack” at the top of their priority lists. Few, however, manage to effectively leverage their full ecosystem of complementary platforms. The reality is even a good martech stack is often underutilized. And in order to make the most of them, organizations need to better understand how each platforms works together to drive demand. Each component plays a unique role in the marketing lifecycle—if even one piece is missing, the whole stack loses impact.

In this piece, we’ll take a look at each component of the MarTech stack and what they offer to the broader toolkit.

What are the components of a MarTech stack?

Marketing Automation Platform and Tools

At the core of a company’s digital marketing strategy lies the marketing automation platform. The automation platform executes high-quality campaigns that are both trackable and easily optimized, provides tools to deploy all marketing efforts from a central platform, and enables you to analyze results in real time.

In order to ensure a marketing automation platform aligns with your organizational goals, first taking a step back and assess what you need to accomplish. Are you a large organization that needs multiple customer lifecycles and complex attribution tracking? You’ll probably need a full-featured solution like Eloqua or Marketo.

Not sure how to maximize your marketing automation platform’s potential? Regroup with your cross-functional stakeholders and see what tools you already have at your disposal—too many organizations don’t use their marketing automation platforms to the fullest. Taking the time to maximize what you already have is a worthwhile exercise.

For most marketing organizations, a full-featured marketing automation platform is likely the best option. There are more players in the space now than ever, but two of the most consistent heavyweights are Marketo and Pardot. Both of these cater to enterprises and SMBs alike, and provide a full-featured marketing automation experience that supports everything from campaign deployment to attribution tracking.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

If a marketing automation platform provides the organizational muscle to execute your campaigns, then your CRM solution is the brain. It stores all of the data required to effectively target your prospects and customers, as well as the infrastructure required to perform complex data analysis of your marketing results. The data your CRM collects feeds directly into your marketing automation system and without it, the execution of campaigns simply isn’t possible.  

Most organizations use their CRM of choice for years before migrating to another one. More than likely, the platform you have now will be the same one you have five years from now. This alone reinforces that a CRM is the linchpin of every company’s marketing strategy, and should be treated with care. If you have a marketing operations team, ensure they’re working on efforts to improve data quality. Poor data quality limits campaign targeting efforts.

In the CRM space, Salesforce and Oracle still provide the most full-featured solutions. They’re also the most widely supported by leading marketing automation platforms, which makes them a popular choice for small to medium-sized organizations. Depending on your needs, however, more lightweight solutions (like Zoho or Hubspot) can be viable as well.

Web Analytics

If you’re doing business on the web, you need a quality web analytics platform. It gives unprecedented insight into how prospects are interacting with your content, which therefore informs how you structure your website, your content, and potentially even your sales funnel. Analytics let you measure what’s working and what isn’t, and make changes on the fly.

A web analytics solution analyzes traffic coming to your website, and occasionally assess the performance of your SEO and digital advertising efforts as well. Particularly if search advertising is a key pillar of your strategy, web analytics are critical.

For most large organizations, Google Analytics (often used with Google Tag Manager) is still the gold standard for web analytics. Other attractive options worth considering include more lightweight platforms like Cloudflare or Clicky—equally full-featured, but without the bloat seen in larger platforms.

Social Media

The weight of social media in the marketing stack often depends on your organization’s business model, but it should have a place in your strategy no matter what. Social media is often the best way for an organization—whether B2B or B2C—to build brand awareness and connect with potential customers.

Beyond awareness, social media is about engagement. While other channels (such as email) employ a one-way messaging strategy, social media goes both ways, leveraging the voices of brand and consumer alike to increase awareness and loyalty.

Wherever consumers congregate, social media abounds. With dozens of platforms to choose from, organizations strive to hone in on which channels promise to have the highest impact for their particular business model. B2C businesses may prefer Facebook Ads while B2B companies leverage Twitter Advertising. It boils down to what product you sell, where your market spends time, and the degree of targeting available.

Keeping up with social media, though, is of course endless. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite enable you to schedule posts and automate your engagement to a degree, in turn allowing you to scale and analyze results in real-time.

Beyond high-quality tools, every MarTech stack requires key intangibles to ensure success.

Despite the fanfare around marketing technology, any MarTech stack is lackluster without a well thought-out strategy behind it.

First things first, tracking—ensure your data gets tracked consistently across platforms, throughout the customer lifecycle. Similarly, capture quality attribution. Do an audit of each data-capturing mechanism in your stack and assess whether or not it’s catching the targets you need.

Finally, integration across platforms—keep your data in sync, unlock new opportunities to target prospects and generate demand. The last thing we want is a fancy martech stack siloed by function. Use your platforms together to maximize their potential.

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