Our staff got into a discussion recently on marketing technology stacks. Yes, you might be thinking, why would a boutique advertising agency like 78Madison even care about the subject. Is it even relevant to our clients? The simple answer is, of course it is.
Even if it’s only in the smallest of senses, what value would we be offering our clients if we tell them in our own marketing messages that we are an agency that is always ahead of the curve in connecting brands with consumers, and then not follow through? For us, our word is not just empty platitudes. And because we take such a statement to heart, it means no matter what, we embrace the challenge of tackling the complex, to make it simple for clients who depend on us.
SO, WHAT THE HECK IS A MARKETING TECHNOLOGY STACK ANYWAY?
In the simplest of terms it’s a grouping of technologies that marketers leverage to conduct and improve their marketing activities. Often, the focus of marketing technologies (aka “martech”) is to make difficult processes easier, and to measure the impact of marketing activities and drive more efficient spending.
Three key touchpoints:
>Make difficult processes easier
>Drive efficient spending
Who doesn’t want to do that, right?
THE NEXT QUESTION IS, WHY SHOULD MARKETERS CARE ABOUT THE MARKETING TECHNOLOGY STACK?
The marketing technology landscape, as most of us know, is rapidly evolving, with hundreds of different software technologies crowding an ever-increasing number of categories. In a recent survey 27% of CMOs (Source: Korn Ferry) were concerned with staying ahead of the game and taking advantage of these digital technology trends. Frankly, we’re surprised the % is not higher.
With so many choices, it’s essential for marketers to have a clear understanding of which technologies are most fundamental to their business goals and to understand how technology can help them positively affect their business. It is astounding how many companies, ad agencies, and marketing organizations choose to stay in the dark.
WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF A MARKETING TECHNOLOGY STACK?
The type of business you have will of course impact which technologies you might find important, and how they should be organized. A key difference is whether your business sells its products or services to consumers (B2C) or to businesses (B2B). Logically, all of us understand that B2C and B2B marketers will use different channels and techniques to acquire customers and will have varying technology needs as a result.
As such, when assembling a marketing technology stack, it’s important to know which technologies are foundational, and should be put in place first. If the foundation is not solid, you stack will likely fail. So, both B2C and B2B marketers should consider the technologies below essential:
Most of us are pretty familiar with this – the technology that powers a website, blog, or other relevant web property where marketers want to engage their customers. The question to you becomes, how important is content to your overall success? If your answer is “very important”, then how are you doing in the area of CMS? Does it reflect “the importance”?
This space is vast, but advertising is a key customer acquisition technique for marketers. Most will use a combination of…
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Display ads
- Retargeting, and
- Ad tracking or Attribution software.
What’s right for you?
A key customer communications channel that all marketers need in their toolkit is an email marketing program. What will it look like? How will it be deployed? Is it always a broad-based message? Or do you get granular and build each message around specific targeted personas? Know specifically what you want to get out of your efforts. Is it manually deployed? Automated? How clean is your list? Sometimes, email is a capability that comes built into a marketing automation or inbound marketing platform. You’ll want to understand both.
Insights and Analysis
At a broad level, marketers need to be able to access their data to measure digital marketing activity. Most marketers will have website analytics and their own business analytics tracked in either homegrown or third-party tools. The question you have to ask yourself regardless, is, is it enough? Do you really know the impact your efforts are having on your bottom line? In more advanced cases, a data warehouse can pull together data from a wide array of systems to make insights and reporting more accessible. Do you need to go in that direction?
We talk a lot about customer experiences and storytelling at 78Madison, which makes experience optimization important. Experience optimization will include A/B testing and personalization software, or programs that allow marketers to act on their analytics to make their marketing campaigns more efficient. Again, who wouldn’t want to do that? There are many other channels that might require different levels of investment, depending on whether your marketing strategy is more aligned with B2C or B2B, and your business strategy.
Here we are talking about technology to monitor social activity and make social engagement easier so we can help maximize the impact of this marketing channel. What is right for your brand and organization. So many organizations tend to use the social media channels that everyone else in the world uses. Is that smart?
For example, we are sure you have heard the question – do you advertise on LinkedIn? The answer is usually No. But why not? Do you really have a good reason, or just missing a golden opportunity to build business? Bing? Tiktok?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Typically an area of focus for B2B marketers, a CRM can track marketing attribution when supporting a direct salesforce. The CRM will track all customer relationships and can provide insights on how marketing campaigns influence the sales pipeline and customer growth.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is often a key strategy for driving organic traffic to your website by ranking higher in search engines such as Google, and often pairs well with content marketing strategy. There are many tools available to help with keyword research and other SEO-related initiatives.
It’s also important to know which skill sets and team members you’ll need to have in place to ensure that your marketing team gets maximum benefit from the technologies you have in place. Below are a few marketing roles to consider when thinking about how your marketing technology will compliment your team:
- Customer Acquisition – Online marketing; partner marketing, event marketing, website optimization
- Brand & Communications – Social media; public relations, sponsorships, all advertising
- Product Marketing – Product marketing; analyst relations, content marketing
- Marketing Operations – Campaign performance; data analysis and insight in particular, marketing operations (or marketing ops) is a key role that will help enable the rest of the marketing team to make smart decisions with your marketing data. Many marketing experts advise that this is a key role to have in place when growing the team.
Bottom line, the marketing technology landscape has exploded over the past few years, and there are now thousands of vendors offering technology solutions and “Software as a Service” products for marketer problems. In 2011, a “technology” infographic by a guy named Scott Brinker had just under 150 companies to consider – today that number is 7,000.
So that is the 10,000-foot view. Be on the lookout for follow up blogs on:
- Content Management
- Search Engine Marketing
- Marketing Automation
- Inbound Marketing
- Website Analytics
- Content Intelligence
- Experiential Marketing
- Virtual Events, and
- Search Engine Optimization
In the meantime, if you would like to know more about 78madison, visit our website at 78madison.com. Better yet, let’s start a conversation. Feel free to reach out to me by email.