Blog April 07, 2021 |

The MarTech Stack Evaluation Guide

There’s no such thing as the “perfect” marketing technology (a.k.a. martech) stack. But that isn’t stopping organizations across industries from trying to build one today.

Look at the 2020 edition of Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic.

You’ll see just how many martech companies exist today. (A lot.) What’s more, you’ll notice the practically endless combinations you could create with their tools. (Innumerable, really.)

You’ll also see a commonality among many of the tools: the word “management.”

Campaign management tools, customer relationship management software, social media management solutions, customer experience management platforms: All offer distinct benefits for brands and rightfully deserve a spot in their marketing tech stacks.

But what about customer data management? Where do business technologies like the customer data platform (CDP) fit in the current (and future) martech landscape?

Auditing your martech stack: How to evaluate your marketing technology setup

Evaluating your martech stack often may seem like a needless, time-consuming task. After all, you and other growth-focused colleagues have plenty of other tasks on your plate.

But examining — and, when necessary, upgrading — your technologies is your company's path to realizing better marketing and business outcomes in the long run.

You can streamline this process and get the ball rolling with your martech stack transformation by following auditing best practices recommended by the experts.

Visualize and categorize all your martech tools.

Gartner Sr. Director Analyst Bryan Yeager noted how visualizing one’s martech stack provides brands a digestible means to see what’s driving their customer engagement efforts:

“A stack visualization is an effective tool to help evangelize within the enterprise how martech enables capabilities that deliver on customer expectations and drive value.”

The good news? You don’t need graphic design skills to visualize your martech stack.

Just ensure yours provides your leadership team a comprehensive-yet-brief breakdown of your existing marketing technology configuration. Notably, detail how each tool solves a particular pain point or aids one or more marketing use cases.

Don’t feel comfortable handling this task? (Or just don’t have the bandwidth)? Consider hiring a “martech orchestrator."

MarTech Today contributor Steve Petersen said this person maintains "documentation about each component of a stack.” Thus, they can be the one to visualize it for C-suite evaluation.

Determine the efficacy of each marketing solution.

As Brinker noted at MarTech East 2019, companies need to take a focused approach to modifying their marketing technology stack to ensure each tool is ideal for the business.

The cornerstone of any modern martech evaluation, per Brinker? The ability to discern the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of one’s marketing technologies, backed up by data.

Some key questions to ask regarding the efficacy of your tools include:

  • Are there any tech redundancies? If so, which tools should we keep and ditch?

  • Which tool enable us to activate data across marketing channels efficiently?

  • Can we capably implement real-time marketing with one or more solutions?

  • Do we have a centralized database that unifies customer data and insights?

  • Is it worth renewing contracts for a given tool based on the ROI generated it?

  • Which tools haven’t met our expectations to date based on needs/use cases?

As Real Story Group Founder Tony Byrne noted at Discover MarTech 2020, once you have answers to these Qs (and similar ones), you can take a team-oriented, agile approach to eliminating redundant or inefficient tech and onboarding new tools.

Speaking of which ...

Decide which martech to keep, remove, and secure.

There are many factors to consider when deciding the tech to maintain and ditch.

Let's say you’ve invested in a marketing cloud suite. You should assess if the software enables streamlined, real-time, cross-channel marketing to both individuals and segments — or if a best-of-breed, non-suite martech stack is more ideal. (Hint: It is.)

As BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach noted in our webinar on the issues with clouds:

“The decreasing percentage of marketers willing to accept the suite of tools over a best-of-breed approach is reflecting their understanding of the opportunity cost of being locked into a suite, versus being able to choose innovative alternatives.”

Don’t have a single UI in which you can access all first-party data and liberate it through personalized and one-to-one marketing? Then your stack likely needs to be restructured.

Ideally, to a best-of-breed tech setup built around a pure-play CDP like BlueConic.

Investigating the marketing technology landscape: Tips to find the right tools

Following this close examination of your martech, a very important question emerges:

“Which marketing technology tools should we turn to more efficiently unify, segment, analyze, model, and activate date?"

Enter the CDP, an advanced platform that provides all these capabilities.

Having said that, it's essential to remember in your martech research, though, that not all data management solutions are created equal. That includes all customer data platforms.

Survey the entire marketing technology landscape. You’ll notice the data management platform (DMP), master data management (MDM) software, data warehouses, and similar databases, on their face, have similar features and value-adds.

However, that’s not true. Case in point: Look how a pure-play CDP differs from a cloud CDP:

“If you have ever tried to work within one or more tools within a broader marketing cloud … you will find that things just take longer,” Cory noted in our marketing cloud webinar.

Specifically, Cory added it simply "takes more resources, because this is a little bit of a ‘Frankenstack,'” with disparate tools that don’t integrate well with one another.

That’s just one martech comparison, of course.

Stack up each customer data management system against another. You’ll see only one offers unified profiles and the single customer view you need to succeed: a pure-play CDP.

Extracting the most value from your “new” martech stack for your business

You know all about optimization as it pertains to your marketing strategy. It entails things like mitigating ad spend waste and enhancing landing page copy to better rank in search.

“Cost optimization,” however, is relatively new to many marketing leaders.

In a nutshell, this task involves identifying any and all inadequacies and areas for improvement in your marketing and making necessary changes to rectify them.

(That is, a cost-benefit analysis for your stack.)

This could be pinpointing inefficiencies with the responsibilities assigned to marketing team members. Or, it could mean trying to ID missed opportunities in your email marketing.

As it relates to your tech, it’s vital to routinely appraise your stack to ensure there aren’t:

  1. Gaps in functionality that prevent you from successfully connecting with individuals and segments in real time. (And in a consented manner to comply with data laws.)

  2. Issues causing missed revenue opportunities. For instance, customer profiles in your database failing to incorporate data from other systems in your technology ecosystem)

“Higher rates of marketing technology … abandonment are reported among solutions that are complex, redundant, unfamiliar and don’t meet performance expectations,” per Gartner.

This means it’s crucial to construct a martech stack that marketing can own and operate with confidence. What's more, it should be one that helps growth-focused teams across your company with their tasks (e.g., analysis, modeling).

Whether you want to improve cross-channel personalization or acquire more customers at a lower cost, your marketing strategy will only go as far as your martech stack allows it.

“Martech is marketing,” as Brinker put it.

That means you need tools and resources that empower your teams, simplify your day-to-day, enhance your efficiency, and help you liberate your customer data with ease.

Watch our on-demand webinar to learn how large-scale companies realize strong ROI from — and accelerate growth with — our pure-play customer data platform.

On-Demand Webinars The ROI of a CDP: 6 Ways Enterprises Reduce Marketing Costs & Unlock Revenue Watch Now

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