Often, marketers find it daunting to choose the right tech stack for their campaigns. Indeed, the task is quite challenging and can either make or break a business. Especially if the concerned people are “non-technical” —which is usually the case anyway—the wide range of contesting options could become overwhelming. Since a wrong combination could be detrimental to business, the decisions for narrowing down the options and making the right choices is absolutely crucial.
The first step, obviously, is to understand what a marketing tech stack means. If you haven’t taken this step, we suggest you read our in-depth explainer on this topic first. Anyway, to put it briefly and simply, a marketing tech stack is a well-integrated toolkit, comprised of technologies and tech-based solutions. Primarily, its purpose is to empower and amplify marketing campaigns, broaden their reach, and enhance the overall customer experience that they offer. In doing so, it helps brands develop better, stronger, and more profitable relationships with their customers, both existing and potential. As such, generation, streamlining, and analysis of customer engagement data is a crucial element of the tech stack’s functioning.
What does a fully-integrated marketing stack look like?
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software like HubSpot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Active Campaign.
- A Social media scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite.
- A Content Management System (CMS) that hosts the website and its respective content, such as WordPress, among others.
That being said, let us now look at some of the things to keep in mind, before proceeding to a discussion on some of the tools that comprise a marketing tech stack.
Choose a stack that aligns with your business growth goals
Your tech stack is indispensable at every stage of your business. Although the idea of diving head-first into MarTech could be quite tempting, think deeply, and honestly, about your needs before investing in any kind of new software or tools.
While analysing your business’s status and goal, it’s important to assume a holistic viewpoint. This allows you to properly identify the aspects of your business that can improve from better tools and more data. As yourself— what could be the best way to integrate the new streams of information that you’ll receive? Usually, the answer will emerge from a close observation of your existing customer journeys, or those that you intend to achieve.
As a rule of thumb, start with technologies that already have a track record of success and broad adoption. However, if a particular combination doesn’t make sense in the specific context of your business, don’t settle for it, even if that means going against the grain. Your business type, size and the marketing strategy will invariably determine which tools are most important.
Be mindful of your customers’ expectations and experiences
Always keep your problem space in mind. Fully understand the requirements of the customers before you make a decision about which tools to use. For instance, if you are an influencer or blogger who is looking to increase conversions, Drupal or WordPress will work best in ensuring the experience that your audience is most likely to expect.
Moreover, some things will always be better achieved in one programming language than another. The right selection of tech stack invariably depends on the kind of target audience, their demands and how you wish to meet these demands. This will serve to improve the customer experience at every touchpoint.
Acquire customer data that is crucial and offers your business granular information. Always keep in mind that the product/service is built for the users. Think about the people who will use your system—will they access it on tablets or desktops? Should there be a dedicated desktop-friendly application or at least a version of the mobile app? What browsers will be used most often? These are some of the important questions to ask.
Be flexible, and most importantly, adapt to the changing times
The world is moving at a fast pace. The way people consume a product or content will not be the same in another 10 years. Your chosen tech stack will stay with you for 5 to 10 years. At least that is something to aim for, in terms of feasibility. However, this is a long span of time and you never know how things may evolve.
Hence, you must be prepared to modify or upgrade when the need arises. Think in little packages and always think granular. In doing so, you should be able to separate back ends, front ends, and services into microservices and applications. Ensure that your tech stack is flexible so that you can easily swap them out when the existing ones are rendered obsolete, without needing a complete overhaul.
Some Tools That Make Up a Marketing Tech Stack
As mentioned, let us briefly discuss some of the most essential tools which you must be aware of while choosing your tech stack. The options, however, are virtually endless.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) System
CRM systems help businesses improve every single aspect of the customer journey, right from initial contact, to lead generation, to retention. It ensures that all the data is in one central location while streamlining and tracking touchpoints. HubSpot and Salesforce are big players in this space, and so is Microsoft’s Dynamics 365. There are other options such as Active Campaign
These set of tools enable marketers to get better insight and understanding of their customers. Monitoring the performance of the website, products, content marketing, and other campaigns puts you in a position to make the adjustments necessary to increase your growth and revenue over time. For this, you can consider Google Analytics and Hotjar, among others.
Literally a time-tested tool, emails are essential to the profitable running of a business and is arguably the most important aspect of your tech stack. However, since there are a handful of email providers out there finding the best software can prove to be difficult. It will invariably depend on the number of customers you have and the kind of functionality that your business demands. Active Campaign, ConvertKit, and GSuite are some of the best and most popular email solutions.
Content Management System (CMS)
A CMS handles all the content marketing needs of a business, helping teams manage their website, blog and various other aspects as part of their overall growth strategy. CMS solutions often require their own technology stack—say, for instance, LAMP—to be completely functional. WordPress is one of the most popular choices in the space and you could very well go for it unless you specifically need something different.
Social Media Marketing
If social media is a part of your marketing strategy, you will have come across Hootsuite and Buffer at some point. These, and many more similar ones, integrate with social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. This software helps you manage, schedule, and analyze the results of the campaigns you run, thus enabling you to become more agile. Moreover, akin to website analytics, it fosters better and more efficient decision-making.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The most important step in getting the much-coveted free traffic to your website is to optimize it for organic search. Many businesses often opt to include SEO tools as the most essential part of their digital marketing tech stack—you should consider doing the same.
A Handy Checklist to Consider
- Integrations: The tech stack has to work well together to be efficient and effective.
- Real-time information: Real-time computing and fast processing will allow you to gather real-time customer information and data, and then, to act on it accordingly.
- A single source of data: All tools consist of some analytics component. However, to effectively maintain the overall integrity of the data ensure there’s a single data platform that provides a 360-degree customer view.
- Omnichannel communication: That is, the ability to engage with customers across several platforms. You need the latest and most advanced technology that allows you to reach the customers anywhere and anytime.
- Data that offers attribution: An essential feature of a marketing tech stack is data that allows you to attribute the success of the marketing campaigns to a significant marketing initiative.
Today, we are in the new era of marketing tech—the age of microservices, distributed platforms, and of course modularization. Building a tech stack will automate many core aspects of your business, which in turn, will boost team productivity, enable your business to grow faster and smoothly, and enhance customer relations. There is absolutely no one stack fits all solution, at least not yet. Creating the ideal one won’t happen overnight and will take up time and resources, but making strategic tech choices implies that the payoff is well worth the effort.
That being said, you can automate your marketing and sales workflows with KDM marketing solutions. Backed by experience and expertise, we take extra care to ensure that your MarTech roadmap is perfectly aligned with your company strategy, shaping deal-winning customer experiences. Since we focus on team workflows and business goals to drive growth, our stacks efficiently cater to the evolving needs of your customers and teams. We are here to answer all your questions. Book a call now. Let’s start the conversation.