How to build a MarTech Stack
Running successful marketing campaigns has never been more challenging. Today’s marketing departments need to arm themselves with the right tools to prove return on investment, turn data into business-boosting insights, scale up, stay on budget, and outpace competitors. Of course, it’s not possible to do all this manually. That’s where your choice of marketing technology – often referred to as a MarTech stack – comes into play.
How do you build a MarTech stack that modernizes your marketing processes, provides value for money, and helps grow your business? This guide will take you through everything you need to know.
What is a MarTech stack?
A MarTech stack is the group of technologies that a marketing team uses to execute their marketing campaigns more efficiently and effectively. The key functions of a MarTech stack are to automate tasks, streamline workflows, enable data-driven decision-making, and help marketers measure and improve campaign performance.
Why do I need a MarTech stack?
Manually handling everything a modern marking department needs to do is simply too time-consuming and inefficient to be practical. By automating certain digital tasks, you optimize your processes, integrate performance-boosting elements to your campaigns, and free up your team’s time to concentrate on developing more strategic initiatives.
Beyond boosting efficiency, MarTech stacks can enable better decision-making. With the sheer amount of information available to today’s marketing teams, you need tools that swiftly transform masses of data into actionable insights. MarTech helps you make smarter, data-driven choices by collecting and analyzing the numbers for you.
By selecting the right tools your team will be better positioned to create, deliver, monitor, and refine its marketing campaigns. With a carefully chosen MarTech stack, your team can generate more leads, drive more traffic, increase engagement, and boost conversions.
How to build your MarTech stack
Every marketing team has unique needs – which means no two MarTech stacks will look exactly alike. It’s important that you tailor your MarTech stack to reflect your requirements, goals, and the size and structure of your organization. And with thousands of tools on the market, narrowing down your options isn’t a straightforward task. Throwing money at the problem isn’t likely to be an effective strategy either. It’s best to take a more conservative approach to building out your stack.
First identify the issues your marketing department is facing, then work out which technologies can adequately resolve those problems before adding any nice-to-haves or more specialist technologies to your stack.
At the same time, marketing departments should use insights to inform and optimize their campaigns, so picking tools that facilitate data-driven decision making is essential.
Remember, the most effective MarTech tools are the ones you can fully understand and use properly – and that means simplifying your MarTech stack from the outset, normally through using all-in-one platforms that provide straightforward integration options with other technologies.
Step 1: Identify your needs
While this part may sound obvious, it’s easy to rush over the fundamentals and end up with a MarTech stack that fails to meet your requirements – or one that is hugely overblown. In fact, research from Gartner found that just one in three organizations believe their MarTech stacks effectively meet their business needs. And with the average CMO spending 29% of their budget on MarTech tools it’s business-critical to get the basics right, or you risk wasting time, money, and resources on inadequate tools.
A good way to avoid purchasing irrelevant or unnecessary technologies is by asking which problem areas your MarTech stack needs to address. These issues might include:
- Boosting productivity
- Project management
- Improving collaboration
- Automated reporting
- Data visualization
- Streamlining processes
- Automating resource-heavy tasks
- Making your marketing budget work more efficiently
- Integrating with your existing tools, systems, and software
- Scaling up your marketing efforts
- Making sense of data
Step 2: Choose tools that help you make data-driven decisions
Once you’ve established the fundamental requirements for your MarTech stack, it’s time to consider how it can aid you in becoming a more insights-driven business. With Forrester reporting that insights-driven businesses are growing at an average of 30% annually, there’s never been a more pressing time for marketing departments to create a competitive advantage through their choice of technology.
But you cannot be an insights-driven business without having access to high-quality, actionable data. That’s where choosing the right MarTech comes into play. It’s important to pick tools that enable the following:
- Data harnessing and analysis
- Comprehensive progress monitoring
- Enhanced reporting
- Tacking progress towards your goals alongside other teams
- Helping to set aligned digital goals that map out against your business objectives
- Using a single source of truth for reporting
Step 3: Simplify your MarTech Stack with all-in-one technology solutions
With so many MarTech tools available, it can be challenging to strike the right balance between functionality offered, onboarding requirements, and value added. Get it wrong, and you could be left with underutilized tools clogging up your stack, fragmentation, and tool fatigue among your team. That’s why you should approach building your MarTech stack from a consolidation perspective.
The benefits of tool consolidation are many, but can be roughly grouped into four main points:
- Gaining better end-to-end visibility of all your campaigns
- Reducing operational silos
- Accurately setting goals and forecasting
- Reducing costs spent on technologies
Using tools that slot into your existing MarTech stack with ease, or choosing ones that offer a plethora of features on a single platform often makes more sense than plumping for multiple, disconnected tools. A leaner stack also reduces the often-overlooked burden of ensuring your team is properly trained on getting the most out of each tool.
MarTech Stack essentials
There is certainly no shortage of MarTech tools available on the market. At 8,000 and counting as of 2020, that glut will continue to expand. One of the best ways to narrow down your options is by evaluating which tools are non-negotiable. Start with the essentials, and then fill in the gaps from there.
Remember: essential tools are all about saving you time, creating a better experience for your customers and prospects, and helping you foster a more data-driven marketing culture. Every MarTech stack should include these must-have elements to bring your business goals to life.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM software is used for building and managing your customer relationships. A good CRM tool stores information about the entire lifecycle of your existing and prospective customers and serves as the key communication link between your marketing and sales teams. CRM tools vary from simple systems designed for smaller organizations to enterprise-level solutions designed to manage hundreds of thousands of marketing-qualified leads and opportunities.
Marketing automation software is used for lead generating activities. The main advantages of marketing automation are adding personalization to your outreach efforts, scheduling and coordinating communications ahead of time – for example, to hit different time zones at the optimal time of day, and of course, time saved through automating these resource-intense activities. Marketing automation services range from basics email outreach services to platforms that encompass a wide range of email marketing, analytics, and lead generation capabilities.
Essential for building brand awareness, social media is a necessary tool for engaging publicly with prospects and customers. Social media management requires curating posts, tracking the success of social campaigns, reviewing analytics, and monitoring brand mentions. Additionally, today’s social media users are split across multiple social platforms – and they expect your business to be too. Stay on top of numerous accounts by opting for a tool that allows you to automate social media campaigns and planning from a central space. Tools range from the platform-specific to comprehensive social media management platforms offering social ads management, analytics, and customizable dashboards.
Content Management System (CMS)
Your CMS is a fundamental element in all MarTech stacks. It allows you to schedule, publish, and edit content across your website with ease. It’s a good idea to choose a CMS with a user-friendly interface so edits can be made quickly and easily with no in-depth training required.
Web analytics tools track and measure the performance of your marketing activities so you can pinpoint which of your campaigns are working well and where there’s room for improvement. In turn, this information enables you to make meaningful, data-led optimizations to your website to boost conversions, drive more clicks, and improve your user flows. Some analytics tools require expert-level knowledge to interpret, while others provide step-by-step instructions and customizable dashboards.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Staying on top of algorithm changes, monitoring your search competitors, building backlinks, carrying out technical audits, conducting keyword research, and optimizing poorly-performing content are essential tasks for keeping your web pages at the top of the search engine results. Enterprise SEO platforms are useful for automating these time-intensive tasks and boosting your organic search results. Some user-friendly tools have been designed to enable non-experts to run a successful SEO strategy using one platform, while others are strictly for advanced users.
Web accessibility might not be the first thing that springs to mind when building up your stack, but for organizations that care about attracting as wide an audience online as possible, adding a web accessibility solution to the mix is invaluable. For accessibility newcomers, automated tools with prioritized lists of to-do actions, like Siteimprove Accessibility, integrate with your CMS to help you quickly bring your site up to internationally recognized accessibility standards.
Google Ads management tool
Expanding your consumer base is vital for scaling up your business and bringing in new audiences – and that requires running an effective Google Ads strategy. Adding a PPC management software to your MarTech stack helps you achieve this by auditing and your ads, landing pages, and PPC budgets. From there, you can optimize your ads to drive more traffic at lower costs and tackle conversion blockers.
How Siteimprove can help you consolidate your MarTech Stack
Having too many MarTech tools in your stack can be confusing, expensive, and ultimately, counterproductive. All-in-one digital marketing solutions like the Siteimprove Intelligence Platform unite multiple MarTech essentials, including SEO, web accessibility, and ads management in one place, while offering straightforward integrations with the most popular MarTech tools on the market.
Your CMS is the bedrock of your digital strategy. That’s why Siteimprove’s CMS Plugins integrate seamlessly with most leading CMS solutions, meaning you can use your favorite Siteimprove tools to swiftly locate and fix errors wherever you see them – directly in your CMS – with no time lost flipping between systems.
Siteimprove MarTech connectors
When it comes to building a successful MarTech stack, choosing integrated solutions is a good idea: after all, siloed tools tend to be ineffective tools. Siteimprove Connectors are pre-built integrations for your favorite business applications that enable automated data transfers between the Siteimprove platform and many of your favorite applications, meaning you get the insights you need, wherever you need them. Siteimprove Connectors are available for everything from marketing automation, to web analytics, to task management.
Digital growth tools
Your MarTech essentials shortlist needs to include digital growth solutions for optimizing your SEO and Google Ads, along with a web analytics tool to measure the impact of your campaigns and prove marketing ROI. Siteimprove brings together these disparate functions onto a single platform, meaning you can plot your digital growth from end-to-end with Siteimprove Ads, Siteimprove SEO, and Siteimprove Analytics.
Web experience tools
While digital growth is vital to meeting your business goals, you still need to get your the basics right. There’s little point sending traffic to your web pages if they’re filled with misspellings, broken links, outdated branding, and other common conversion blockers. Provide an error-free, trustworthy user experience with Siteimprove Quality Assurance. It’s even possible to fix content quality issues on the spot by integrating QA with your CMS of choice.
Because all your website visitors deserve a high-quality, accessible website experience, it’s recommended to add a specialist web accessibility MarTech tool to your stack. Siteimprove Accessibility helps you work towards accessibility compliance using the tools you already have. With its CMS deep linking feature, you can jump directly from any detected issue in the Siteimprove platform to the corresponding page in your CMS for a fast fix.
Website governance and website protection tools
Once you’ve settled on your MarTech essentials, it’s time to think about more specialized technologies that help you provide an even better website experience and gain a competitive edge.
- Website performance: A fast website is non-negotiable for today’s website visitors. And with page speed being a Google ranking factor, web page loading times can mean the difference between being on page one or page two of its SERPs. Using a tool like Siteimprove Performance helps you identify optimization opportunities for faster page speeds, so your website always meets visitor expectations and industry standards.
- Website data privacy: Your website visitors expect their personal data to be protected. However, for many marketers, complying with US data protection regulations – like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is complex and it can tricky to work out what actually needs to be done, where, and by who. By adding a specialist data protection tool, like Siteimprove Data Privacy, to your stack, your team gains visibility of – and regains control over – the personal data spread across the website content and files they’re responsible for. for. With consumers paying more and more attention to how organizations safeguard their sensitive information, data privacy is not a topic you can ignore.
Didn’t see your chosen MarTech tool in any of the above categories? Don’t worry, the Siteimprove API has been designed to cover the rest. Enabling developers to connect Siteimprove with just about anything, Siteimprove’s API gives you even more possibilities to knit together your workflows and pull Siteimprove data into your own customized solutions.
Finally, remember this: MarTech isn’t just about the tools. Your team needs to be able to use the entirety of your stack with confidence. In fact, research shows that 64% of businesses say they don’t have the adequate skills or talent to make the most of their marketing technology. Selecting a user-friendly, well-integrated solution that combines multiple digital marketing disciplines onto a single platform is a good way of minimizing this skills gap and getting more out of your MarTech spend.