What is a Technology Stack?
The phrase “technology stack” refers to the collection of different apps, software and other technology solutions that work in tandem to make a business’ operations run. In the context of this article we’re talking about marketing tech stacks, but you most likely also have a sales tech stack, a customer success tech stack, accounting tech stack, development operations tech stack, etc.
A common tech stack for a web-based or digital services is based on 4 main components:
- Operating system
- Programming language
These 4 technologies are layered, or “stacked”, on top of each other to create a system that allows other applications, such as a content management system or website analytics tool, to run without the need for additional software.
Marketing technology stacks
So if a technology stack is the tools and technologies used to run a business (or some part of a business), a marketing stack refers specifically to the technologies used to manage, measure and improve a company’s marketing efforts.
The size and makeup of MarTech stacks vary widely between business and depends on company size, complexity, industry and goals. Some companies need little more than a rudimentary content management system and social media management platform while others need extremely large and complex MarTech stacks to support large and/or widely distributed teams and provide data on the most granular level.
The key aspect of a successful MarTech stack, however, is the same regardless of size, complexity or any other differences between businesses. A successful marketing stack includes technologies that are fit to purpose, support the business’ goals, and are adopted and used to their fullest capabilities.
Benefits of Building a MarTech Stack
Building a technology stack for your marketing offers your business several benefits:
- Improved efficiency: A technology stack replaces the need for multiple, disconnected spreadsheets that result from multiple data sources, allowing team members to quickly and easily access quality data.
- More marketing capabilities: Your MarTech stack will, ideally, include all the tools necessary to execute your planned marketing campaigns. A well-built stack allows your business to create and publish content, launch performance marketing campaigns and optimizing PPC bids all in the same ecosystem.
- Better decision making: With improved efficiency and access to data comes improved decisions for your business. An effective marketing technology stack takes the guesswork out of reporting and analysis so you can find clearer answers regarding what’s working and what’s wasting your time and budget.
- Better attribution: The holy grail of all marketing, building your tech stack will allow you to better track marketing’s contribution to revenue. By building a marketing technology stack you’ll be to tie together marketing KPIs such as website traffic, email signups and conversions to see how your different campaigns are contributing to overall revenue growth.
Increased revenue: The increased efficiency, capabilities, decision making and attribution enabled by your MarTech stack will combine to drive improved ROI and growth for your business.
What Goes in Your Effective MarTech Stack
Because no two businesses are the same, every MarTech stack will be different. However, just as traditional technology stacks are often built with similar tools or solutions, there are a few key ingredients that you should consider when building and adding to your MarTech stack.
Content management system
Content management systems, commonly referred to as a CMS, is what allows people to create, edit, publish and otherwise manage content on a website. Basic features for a CMS include:
- Creation: Allows users to easily create, edit and format content regardless of technical skills.
- Publishing: Pushes content live to the website, ideally from the CMS interface. This often only requires one or two clicks of a button.
- Storage: Keeps content in one centralized location, usually a database, in a consistent fashion. A good CMS will allow you to organize your website’s content in the way that works best for your business and include a feature for quick, easy retrieval.
- Workflow management: Allows you to specify login privileges (read-only vs. writable permissions, for example) and assign certain responsibilities (writer, editor, admin, etc.). This feature becomes more important the bigger the size and complexity of your business.
Your marketing technology stack’s effectiveness will depend heavily on what CMS you use - quite often, the CMS will work as the central MarTech hub into which many of your other marketing technologies will be integrated.
Common content management systems include WordPress, Wix, Squarespace and Drupal.
Paid Advertising Tools and Platforms
If your business uses paid advertising such as affiliate marketing, display advertising or paid search, the platforms and tools with which you run your campaigns are considered part of your MarTech stack.
For businesses that run paid campaigns (not all do), getting the right advertising platform and tools is critical to building an effective MarTech stack. With the right tools, you’ll have greater insight into
- Whether or not you’re reaching your audience
- How effective your advertising assets are in engaging your customers
- How well your landing page content and offers perform
Without the right tools in your MarTech stack, you run the risk of leaving potential revenue on the table while at the same time wasting your advertising spend.
Common paid advertising tools include:
- Google Ads
- Bing Ads
- Facebook for Businesses
- Twitter Ads
Website analytics tools track how users interact with your site when they visit your pages. Analytics tools, and the data they provide, give you a deeper understanding and insight into your customers. By tracking how visitors use your site, you’ll be able to measure the performance of your:
- Content marketing
- On-page optimization
- Products and features
- Special offerings or discounts
Analyzing website analytics data will give you the insights necessary to optimize your marketing to improve performance or end simply end campaigns that are ineffective - insights that are necessary to increase revenue and ROI.
Popular website analytics tools include:
- Google Analytics
- Crazy Egg
The ability to communicate with your customers is vital to your business. This channel also quite often forms the backbone of a business’ marketing efforts. Typical email marketing features include (but aren’ limited to):
- Lead capture: The ability to create forms and add them to your website in order to capture email addresses and build your list.
- Analytics: The ability to track and analyze important metrics such as open rate and click rate.
- List management: The ability to store and segment the emails you collect on your site.
- Templates: The ability to create and edit how your emails look.
- Testing: The ability to create variants of templates for a/b testing and optimization.
- Scheduling: The ability to send your emails at a preset time of day, day of week or date.
Because email is such an important channel for your business, choosing the right email marketing provider is essential to building an effective and efficient MarTech stack. Picking the wrong one will reduce your ability to reach your customers when you need to most.
On the other side, though, is that choosing the right email solution can make your overall marketing, sales and customer success campaigns much more effective.
Common email marketing platforms include:
- Constant Contact
It’s not strictly necessary, but choosing an email marketing tool that easily integrates with your website CMS will help make your tech stack more effective and your teams work more efficiently.
Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems store information about your customers all throughout the customer journey (from lead to prospect to customer). The idea behind a CRM is to put everything you know about your customers in a centralized location so you can track all touchpoints and interactions you have with your audience.
While increased operational efficiency is a major benefit of incorporating a CRM into your technology stack, your teams’ improved alignment is just as important.
As we’ve covered previously when discussing the benefits of revenue operations, this team alignment is an important aspect of revenue operations and is big part of what will enable your business to maximize revenue.
Common CRM platforms include:
Marketing automation tools allow you to more effectively communicate and market to your customers across multiple channels. These tools allow you to deliver messaging and content to your customers at multiple owned touchpoints:
- Your website
- Your social media platforms
- Your help center
Because, as you can see, marketing automation connects so many different channels, choosing a tool that will easily connect with the rest of your technologies will allow you to build a more cohesive marketing technology stack.
Marketing automation’s benefits aren’t limited to your marketing teams, however. The ability to automate marketing tasks can also help sales and customer operations work more efficiently as well.
When integrated with your CRM platform, marketing automation will also help improve customer engagement and adoption and allow your sales teams to build more valuable consultative sales relationships.
Therefore, creating a marketing automation strategy when building your MarTech stack will unlock several different benefits for your business.
Assess Your Marketing Technology
How effective is your marketing technology stack? Are your tools fit to purpose, integrated and fully adopted? Or are you losing out on revenue due to disconnected technologies?
Contact us to start a MarTech assessment so you can build a more effective technology stack for your business.