It’s easy to get caught up in a dog and pony show for the next great piece of technology and the fabulous ROI that it promises. But building a solid martech stack is really about finding solutions that will help you execute on your strategy, not bending your strategy to a piece of software with shiny functionality. Strategy comes first. Technology supports strategy.
In fact, the most critical element to building a marketing tech stack isn’t marketing technology. It’s the people that the technology supports. You can spend money on technology all day long, but if you don’t have smart people to specify what the technology should do, you’re wasting your resources.
The single most critical team member is your Marketing Strategist. No combination of technologies can replace the critical thinking necessary to drive growth for an organization. And your Marketing Strategist won’t be working alone. A mature marketing team will have a dozen or more individuals who play some critical role in the execution of sound strategy and most of those individuals will interact with multiple applications within your martech stack.
In addition to your strategist, functional roles include planning, analysis, and technical/tactical execution. Each of the roles will have “requirements” for technology to help them perform at their best within the guide rails of your strategy.
No doubt by how you have seen Scott Brinker’s ubiquitous Martech Landscape map. It’s gone from a representation of about 150 pieces of technology in 2011 to over 7,000 in 2019. It’s a mindboggling mishmash of partially overlapping technologies. The proliferation of the technologies combined with a changing marketing landscape makes buying and adoption decisions increasingly difficult.
While there are potentially dozens of elements to a complete Martech stack, a few play far more critical roles than others. As you build or mature your stack in a confusing landscape, you should give priority to these categories of technology:
- CMS – Pick a Content Management System that is manageable. Too many companies overspend and overdevelop on expensive systems and never really recognize the benefits of their efforts.
- CRM/CDP – A single source of truth for everything you know about your customers and prospects.
- Commerce Platform – As with selecting a CMS, pick a commerce platform that is manageable. More bells and whistles are not better unless they align with your strategy and you have the team to leverage them.
- Marketing Automation Platform – Select technology that not only aligns with your strategy but creates efficiency and structure for your team. (Naturally, we recommend the emfluence Marketing Platform seen here).
- Analytics Platform – A single source of truth for measurement of your efforts across your entire stack. It should provide meaningful output that validates your efforts and guides your future strategy.
In giving consideration to which tech makes sense for you, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Invest in your people.
- Start slow and build.
- Invest in solutions to your specific needs.
- Adoption and buy-in are critical to success.
- Make sure every part of your stack allows for interconnectivity via open API or data sync.
Your Action Items
- Validate your strategy.
- Assess your team.
- Vet solutions.
Need help? Reach out to our Agency services team. We’ve seen and worked with technologies at every layer of the stack. We have opinions and experience and we’re here to help.