Across the world, marketing and content management teams are all looking to build the perfect “MarTech stack.” If you haven’t been keeping up with the latest buzzwords, MarTech is a portmanteau of marketing and technology, and a MarTech stack is the combination of marketing tools you’re using to drive your business forward.
Sounds simple, right? You’ve got your WordPress website, Google Analytics, WriterAccess, and maybe even a HubSpot account to manage different aspects of the customer journey.
But if this is all you have, you could find yourself falling behind the crowd.
There’s actually a dizzying array of MarTech products and services out there, and the number just keeps growing. Scott Brinker is known for creating the Marketing Technology Landscape, an annual infographic that shows MarTech companies that can help with things like native advertising, talent management, and sales automation. In 2011, there were only around 150 companies offering these types of solutions. In 2018? Around 7,000!
Given the sheer number of choices, it’s easy to see why everyone’s talking about building the perfect MarTech stack.
How do you even start? Our suggestions can help you focus your efforts on finding the right mix for your company.
Identify Your Needs
Take a close look at your customer personas. This knowledge should help you figure out which types of tools your company really needs. Do your customers prefer to learn about your products by reading guides, watching videos, or talking to sales reps? If they’re watching videos, you need MarTech that focuses on video production or in-video advertising. If they’re talking to sales reps, you need a solid CRM system. Choose your content channels carefully, then look for MarTech that will align with your goals.
You should also be looking at the products and services that you’re currently using. Are they working? What additional features would you like? Those features may be available through a different company.
Avoid Data Silos
Many MarTech tools allow you to collect, interpret, and use data that relates to the customer journey. This is incredibly important for increasing your business. But if the product you’re using creates a data silo — a collection of data that can only be used by that one program — you’re missing out.
You want MarTech products that will integrate seamlessly with each other. The data from one platform could help you improve performance from another. Before choosing a MarTech company, you need to make sure that it will work with the other things you use. This doesn’t necessarily mean directly connecting the data to another service. If a program will allow you to export and import data, you may be able to manually transfer data to meet your needs.
Use Real People
We all remember the times when it was easy to game the system by throwing up keyword-stuffed “articles” onto websites. Some companies even used computer-generated content to boost their rankings. The results were barely readable.
Fortunately, those days are long gone, and the result of Google’s smack down of these techniques has resulted in a better user experience for everyone.
Your customers are real people. Your employees are real people. You want MarTech that also uses real people.
MarTech can help you collect data that shows you how you can tweak your marketing campaigns. Many products even make recommendations based on your unique data. However, you still need real people interpreting that data and driving the direction of your company. MarTech should enhance the skills of your workers, not replace them. Although you may enjoy this article about marketing and AI!
Research and Try
By now, you should have a solid idea of what type of MarTech your company needs. Maybe it’s a CRM system that reminds reps to call clients at regular intervals and is accessible online. Maybe you’re looking for a program that will improve your SEO or automate the sales process. With those needs in hand, start narrowing down your choices.
As you look at the companies that offer products you might need, stay laser-focused on meeting those needs. Does the product already have the functionality you need or is the sales rep saying, “Yeah, we can tweak a few things to make it do that.”? Is it the primary function of the company or do they offer an array of products? Is it cost-effective?
Don’t get distracted by bells and whistles. You don’t want to pay for functionality that you don’t need.
Many companies offer a free trial, and it’s a good idea to take advantage of this. But there’s always a learning curve and a time investment in trying out a product, so be picky about which products you try.
Choose the one that best meets your needs.
As we mentioned before, the MarTech landscape seems to know no bounds. It’s important to re-evaluate your needs and your MarTech stack on a regular basis. Have your needs changed? Are their new ideas that you want to incorporate into your marketing plan? Are the MarTech products you’re using not living up to your expectations? If so, you may want to start this process over again. Your company needs to stay ahead of the curve and be constantly looking for ways to improve. At the same time, changing too often can overly tax your employees. You need to find that sweet spot to reach success from every angle.
Shannon T has been writing professionally for over 10 years. In addition to the thousands of articles, blog posts, and web pages she’s ghostwritten, she has bylined work that’s been published on sites like Headspace.com, ModernMom.com, Chron.com, and Fool.com (The Motley Fool). Having earned the HubSpot Academy Inbound Certification, she’s able to craft pieces that satisfy the needs of both readers and search engines.