Marketers use many different channels to reach customers, and they’re increasingly building omnichannel strategies that can follow and engage an audience on multiple different platforms. But when it comes to the marketing tools they use, too often these solutions are siloed from one another.
The process of bringing these tools together isn’t easy. But it’s a critical step every business must take to reap the benefits of their customer analytics, and to create a more seamless marketing strategy while improving the overall customer experience.
If businesses are serious about breaking down silos and integrating both their marketing technology and their enterprise data, they need to get serious about building and managing their marketing technology stack. Let’s take a few minutes to unravel the mystery of how this process works.
The Challenges of a Growing Stack
You might not realize it, but you likely already have a marketing technology stack in place, even if it isn’t organized or conceptualized as one. This stack represents the overall body of marketing technologies you use to support your marketing strategy. As the number of channels increases, so does the number of solutions: chiefmartec.com estimates that there are more than 5,000 martech businesses offering services and solutions right now.
It’s inevitable that your suite of martech solutions will grow over time. And they all perform better when they’re integrated with one another to share data, services, and other perks of seamless connection. But creating this synergy is easier said than done, because these solutions are created by different businesses and for different hardware, operating systems, and other variables that affect how easily two pieces of technology can connect with one another.
These challenges only grow more complex when you’re adding new technology. Connecting two solutions is hard enough. Try connecting more than a dozen disparate solutions created over a span of years. Technology evolves so quickly that your legacy solutions might have trouble connecting with newer solutions.
It quickly becomes an unwieldy process. The earlier you get started managing this technology as a cohesive stack, the easier this process will be, especially as you add new solutions down the road.
What to Consider When Choosing Solutions
When it comes to choosing vendors and solutions, companies should consider several criteria, starting with how well the solution can integrate into your existing stack. To navigate these conversations, you either need an internal martech stack expert involved in the process, or you need marketing and IT leadership working together to make sure they understand the opportunities and challenges of each prospective solution.
A good vendor and/or solution will be able to seamless connect with as much solutions as possible, especially with newer martech and software versions likely to be prevalent in the future. Integration with other tech stacks in the business should also be a priority. Ask vendors for proof of their effectiveness in this area, and don’t be shy about scrutinizing their process, as it will determine how agile and seamless your own stack ultimately ends up.
In a more general sense, businesses should understand exactly how a new stack addition will contribute to your existing solutions, and what it can offer in terms of productivity and ROI. Examine how it gathers data and how that data can be used: How granular is the information, and how easily can this data be leveraged by other martech solutions, or even technology elsewhere in the company?
Ultimately, successful selection and integration of new technologies will depend on how well your leadership understands your marketing stack: Its strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities when it comes to gathering and using data.
What Businesses Gain by Prioritizing the Martech Stack
Even if you’re unfamiliar with the concepts of the marketing technology stack, it’s important to remember that there’s no serious debate about whether stack development should be a focus for businesses large and small. If you aren’t at least exploring ways to integrate and enhance your marketing capabilities, you’re missing out customer acquisition, ROI opportunities, and overall business growth.
Just as importantly, a stack making good use of its data can facilitate better marketing acquisition, which tells you with greater precision what sort of value each solution and channel is generating.
When the stack is firing on all cylinders, it can be an engine for crucial marketing insights that drive enhancements to your existing strategy. The value of this asset will be most evident when you’re struggling to drive better results from your strategy. Instead of grasping in the dark for answers, you’ll have a deep pool of information to guide your line of inquiry, and a suite of marketing tools to help you turn things around.