Marketers don’t have to be overwhelmed by technology if they stick to basic principles when assembling their marketing technology stack. These three steps will come in handy when navigating the complicated landscape of over 10,000 martech companies.
Bad stack features to avoid
But first, what does a bad stack look like?
“Number one, an ineffective martech stack is incomplete,” said Darrell Alfonso, global marketing operations for Amazon Web Services at The MarTech Conference. ”You don’t have the tools and you don’t have the services to actually achieve the objectives that you’re trying to hit.”
Or, you have several tools that are used for the same task, making your martech stack cluttered.
“A martech stack that has multiple tools that do the exact same thing is ineffective,” said Alfonso. “It’s extremely costly, and to be honest, can cause chaos within the marketing organization.”
Lastly, a bad martech stack has tools in it that are underutilized. They might have been acquired by well-intentioned executives but were never fully implemented in marketing processes and strategies.
“Organizations all over the world buy tools and they sit on the shelf,” Alfonso explained. “It’s sometimes called shelf wear because these tools are not being properly utilized, again causing waste and chaos.”
1: Start with the customer journey
So how does your organization get on the right path? Start with who matters most — the customer. Begin to think about all the important actions that the customer takes when interacting with your company.
“Start with the customer journey,” Alfonso said. “What does their experience look like? What are the different types of touchpoints that they’re experiencing with your business?
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He added, “And then from there, map it out to the specific solutions that you need to support the customer experience that you want. That’s why starting with the customer journey and the overall customer experience is the most important part.”
2: Identify core business needs
The martech stack needs to conform to the specific needs of your business. It shouldn’t include solutions that look good on paper but don’t support core business operations.
“Many marketers make the mistake of building their martech stack like they’re building a set of golf clubs,” said Alfonso. You don’t need to add a putter or a driver just for the sake of checking off those boxes.
Instead, map out your core business needs and make sure you have platforms that fit.
“For any marketing team, there are some jobs that really need to be done,” said Alfonso. “We need to engage the customer, we need to get in alignment with sales, whether that’s from a B2B perspective, or whether that’s capturing their credit card information.”
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Often these core functions are carried out by a marketing automation platform (MAP) or email service provider, in addition to some kind of customer relationship management (CRM) system. A work management platform will help teams collaborate and carry out marketing-related projects.
Then, to serve business intelligence functions, the stack should include an analytics platform. Data visualization tools also help team members gain insights and make informed business decisions.
Understanding the core needs behind these tools is a top priority before picking out the right solution for your company.
3: Make sure data is unified
As your organization assembles the stack make sure that marketing data is accessible by all these different tools.
This goes back to customer experience. If different parts of a campaign help move a customer smoothly through their journey, that’s because data like customer preferences and personalization are also unified to help power the experience.
“In order to send you that perfect email, we first need to know who you are, what your preferences are,” said Alfonso. “This is where demographic and behavioral information comes in…We can make better decisions, update our segments and then improve the process once again in a sort of cyclical fashion.”
Alfonso added, “Great marketing feels like magic, but in reality it’s great martech and great marketing operations.”
Mapping out core customer and business needs, while making sure your data is unified, will help you build out an effective martech stack, and closer to making your own marketing magic.
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