The difference between being a smart marketer and a hardworking one is how you approach tasks.
Marketing hard may mean spending long hours to complete your marketing activities without taking any shortcuts.
Smart marketing, on the other hand, means aiming for the same results but with planning and prioritisation of tasks.
You want to run an amazing marketing campaign – empower your team, create unique content, collect the right data, personalise communication, automate funnels, act on insight, report with ease, and, most importantly, achieve the snowball effect.
Now, imagine doing all this manually — marketing would be so much harder.
Marketing Meets Tech
Reflecting on this past year, we saw the focus shift to enhanced customer experiences. Usually, consumer experiences with brands begin passively, with friends sharing their opinion about a product or service over social media.
Consumers can then express interest – a click, a comment, a reshare, a tweet, etc., leaving brands with a few active ways to escalate this passive relationship. That marks the beginning of CX.
According to Gartner’s report, 89% of marketing leaders primarily compete on the basis of customer experience. The same report also goes on to report how the IT department plays a key role in like 80% of customer experience (CX) initiatives.
It’s now clear that marketing and technology are joined at the hip, and that the two will always be working together to provide the best customer experience.
MarTech is a portmanteau for Marketing Technology. It’s a term used to refer to the tools and techniques that marketers use to create, deliver, communicate, test, measure, integrate, automate, and adjust their marketing efforts.
MarTech is the software that helps you execute any marketing activity. So, if you’ve ever used Google Analytics to track your performance or MailChimp to run your email marketing campaign, then that’s MarTech.
It’s the B2B marketing industry term for any application that helps you succeed in any modern marketing activity.
Why Is MarTech Important?
MarTech is a rapidly growing software category. With it comes so many advantages that marketing professionals can exploit.
Because of this technology, marketing leaders can now execute their marketing activities at scale. By that we mean they can reach hundreds or even thousands of contacts and accounts without handling anything manually.
The value that this brings include:
Speed: The whole point of using a MarTech solution is to save your marketing team both time and resources. You can quickly reach so many people with your marketing activities in a matter of minutes or even seconds.
Results: Depending on what technology tool you use; you can even track your results in real-time. Each marketing activity has a success metric you can use to find out if your marketing efforts are paying off.
Essentials of Marketing Technology
The marketing technology you choose to work with will always vary depending on who you’re marketing to. Broadly speaking, is your organisation marketing its products to consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B)?
Your organisation’s market has a direct influence on the MarTech tools that are most effective. But overall, here are the technologies you might want to consider investing in:
Marketing Attribution Software
A famous US Merchant (John Wanamaker) once complained about half of his ad spending going to waste. The problem is that he couldn’t figure out which half.
That’s one challenge that modern marketers still struggle with to date. Outdated attribution models and failure to account for their marketing successes are the primary reasons companies are missing out on important business opportunities.
However, this problem can easily be solved by adopting the right marketing attribution software.
Email Marketing Software
Since emails are not impacted by what’s trending or Google’s latest algorithmic changes, they’re one of the best ways to reach your target audience.
In a recent survey, more than 50% of respondents admitted that they check their emails at least 10 times a day.
This makes email marketing one of the most effective ways for brands to reach their target consumers.
Content Management System
Marketing Technology can also power your website and blog.
This is important, considering 88% of consumers will first search a product online before making any purchase decision.
So, having a professionally designed website is more than a necessity. It’s the backbone of your digital marketing strategy, leave alone your online success.
Customer Experience Software
This category of marketing technology stack focuses on how customers are interacting with your brand — whether it’s by personalising their experiences or testing your messaging to find out which one is more effective.
A classic example of such software is A/B Testing.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
This group of marketing software solutions are more common with B2B companies. Their primary area of focus is lead generation.
They’re all about helping your company manage leads better.
They’re what you use to assess your customers’ level of opportunity, based on what stage of the sales funnel they are at present.
What’s the Future of MarTech?
It’s no hard guess that MarTech will continue evolving and getting better with time. Consequently, we expect to see more marketing efficient tools in future.
But before it gets to that, MarTech has to keep on adjusting to shifting marketing environments. Here are some trends that you might want to look into before investing in any MarTech solution:
Shrinking Marketing Budgets: We’re in the middle of the tech renaissance, and companies all over are making a big cut in their marketing budgets. It’s, therefore, becoming even more important for companies to justify their marketing ad spend and ROI.
Focus on Retention: Retaining an old customer is five times cheaper than attracting a new one. Companies are well aware of this and are responding by investing in client-business relationships.
Understanding marketing Spend: Only 18% of marketers had any knowledge of Multitouch attribution (MTA) in 2016. Come 2018 and the number had increased to 52, with the respondents noting that they had started using MTA to measure ad effectiveness.
The problem with MTA is that it’s only limited to proving online value. And following the pressure marketers have on proving ROI across all channels, then perhaps a better alternative would be to adopt unified marketing measurements.
More Innovation: Software companies have to live in the future. They have to create roadmaps, build software products, and continually upgrade them with an eye for a few years out. That’s the only way they can remain relevant and useful to digital marketers.
Additionally, with the continuing development in AI and the emergence of IoT, MarTech companies should be able to provide more robust software solutions for marketers to directly speak with their target audiences and establish ROI.
5 Common MarTech Challenges Every Marketer Has to Deal With
Implementing a martech solution and optimising it for your organisation isn’t that much of a streamlined process. Challenges abound. Speaking which, organisations should be prepared to overcome these challenges if at all they want to realise the benefits of martech.
1# Selecting the Right MarTech Solution
You’re not just selecting the right technology, but also finding the right marketing partner.
Remember this is a new system you’re integrating. So, it’s only natural that there’ll be some expected hiccups when rolling out this new technology.
What you want to avoid is rolling out a new technology every now and then. Do your research and settle on a technology that you’re so sure of and that you wouldn’t see the need to change any time soon.
2# Velocity Change
The marketing landscape is changing at an accelerating pace, without showing any sign of slowing. High-performing companies are always quick to adapt as new opportunities and technologies emerge.
You cannot entrust that responsibility to your entire marketing team. Instead, just single out one agile person let them be the ones to steer your company towards these changes.
For a large enterprise, this position is better suited with the chief marketing technologist or anyone with a similar rank or title, while for an SMB you might want to bestow this responsibility to the most tech-savvy marketer on your team or an outside marketing consultant
Martech tools don’t substitute strategy and talent.
That explains why there’s a growing demand for tech-savvy marketers. According to Capgemini Consulting’s report, 90% of companies out there lack the necessary digital skills in key marketing areas, such as social media, process automation, internal social networks, and performance analysis and monitoring.
For some reasons, education institutes can’t keep up with the rising talent demand.
Furthermore, competitive candidates can’t just be trained; they must be completely immersed in these tools and technologies.
Complacency is caused by a lack of vision and will, as well as stagnant leadership, conservative cultures, and internal politics that together lead to inaction over innovation.
In the same report by Capgemini Consulting, 78% of those interviewed felt like digital transformation is critical to their organisations’ success within the next two years, while 63% of the respondents felt like the pace at which it was happening is a little too slow.
Most of them were quick to chalk it up to “lack of urgency.”
The report was also generous enough to define what they meant by digital transformation – “it’s the use of digital technologies (mobile, embedded devices, and social media) to enable key business improvements, such as streamlining business operations, enhancing customer experience, and developing new business models.
You literally have thousands of martech tools to choose from, with new products and features emerging almost daily. That means redundancy is almost inevitable within your martech stack.
You can however minimise it, let alone avoid it, by being as strategic approach as possible.
You may find that a dedicated content marketing solution is precisely what your marketing team needs. But unless you’re working with a specialised content management system, common CMS features such as content calendars, analytics dashboard, document editing, and project management, may turn out to be redundant to your existing project management and marketing automation solutions.
To prevent this from ever happening, you have to consider your full martech stack when making any software decision to avoid sunken resources and inefficiencies resulting from having too many solutions with similar functionalities and value.
What’s a MarTech Stack?
A MarTech Stack is a collection of multiple tools a particular marketer uses to plan, execute, and measure their marketing and sales campaigns.
They’re primarily used to simplify, scale, and automate your marketing efforts. Other than that, you can use them to create, manage, and monitor your sales and marketing strategies.
Since every business has different goals and objectives, it’s safe to say that they each require a different martech stack.
The best way to understand it is to think in terms of a puzzle. You’re trying to crack a set of different puzzles. Each puzzle represents a martech solution, while the entire set is a martech stack.
How is a MarTech Stack Used?
A martech stack is used to ideate, execute, manage, and track marketing campaigns and strategies.
Marketing teams use them to do the following:
- Collecting data
- Creating buyer personas
- Tracking customer data
- Identifying leads
- Communicating with customers
- Enhancing customer relationships
- And much more
The easiest way to understand a martech stack is to imagine a kid building a lego tower. All the pieces have to fit, failure of which the growth of the tower will be affected.
Also, removing pieces that you’ve already built and replacing them with new ones will only end up costing you a lot of time and thinking.
What if the pieces fit in properly? Must you bring the tower down and start everything from scratch?
A martech stack operates quite similarly. You have to bring different martech tools together and make sure that they each fit.
Create a MarTech Stack in Six Easy Steps
As you might have noticed, martech stacks don’t come in one-size-fits-all. After all, no two businesses have the same marketing goals and objectives. And as long as businesses have different goals, then they always have different martech stacks.
Nor is there a canned list of martech solutions that you can easily check off and be done with it.
Instead, each tool you choose to add to your list is deeply connected to one of your business need or problem. Plus, they all have to work in collaboration to solve all of your business needs and problems.
So, yes, no two businesses need the same set of tools. And the only way to choose the right tools for your martech stack is to ask yourself deep questions about your business.
Take your time to understand your business needs, shortcomings, and opportunities, and only then will you be in a position to choose the right tools.
That being said, we’ve prepared a simple guide, consisting of six easy steps, that you can use to build a high-stake, tailor-made martech stack for your business.
Step 1: Take Your Time to Understand Your Business Needs
When working on your martech stack, you might want to take a step back and evaluate your business needs before taking the jump. You have to make sure the sales and marketing technologies you choose are totally in sync with the marketing processes they support.
Failure of which, the technology will be out of sync with the rest of the tools in your stack, doing ad-hoc stuff.
That’s why it’s important to begin by looking at what the tool or software needs to be doing for you and the processes it fits.
If you haven’t mapped out your sales and marketing processes, then it would be best to begin by covering this first. It’s only after you’ve covered this that you can tell what processes can be supported by the technology.
Here are the questions to ask yourself when trying to understand what needs the marketing tech supports:
- What’s the sales team expected to do?
- What are your marketing goals?
- What sources are you planning to use for the campaign?
- What marketing and sales steps does your organisation follow?
By answering these questions, you should be able to develop a better understanding of what tools your marketing teams needs, as well as why they need them. That’s the only way to ensure your organisation can benefit from using them.
2# Identify What Technology You Are Already Using
Go through your stack and try to understand its needs. Check to see if you already have some of the technologies and if there’s any need for you to upgrade them.
Is there a need to invest in a new martech tool? Or does the entire stack need an overhaul?
Here are the guiding questions to identifying your martech requirements:
- Which of your processes requires a lot of work?
- What processes are already doing well or are successful at the moment?
- What processes do you think can be improved or still have more opportunities to be exploited?
- What technology works best with that process?
You can begin by taking a deeper look at the technologies you already have. Find out if expanding your existing technology will solve the problems you have.
You also want to dig into the tool features. Find out which of these features are you presently not using.
If there happen to be any, you want to pair them up with the needs they can solve. If not, then go ahead and look for a new tool (or tools) that can solve the problems you’re facing.
But instead of randomly purchasing these tools, you might want to handpick them and score-compare them before settling on one.
Step 3: Tool Scoring
Pay extra attention to this step:
- After you’ve established that your stack needs new tools
- After finding out the tool you already have aren’t that adequate
- When you need to replace some of the tools you have
So, what’s the scoring procedure?
Well, here’s a three-step blueprint scoring procedure to follow:
Using this scoring metric, here are the things you’ll need to check:
- How appropriate is this tool for my needs?
- What other features does it offer?
You may find that a tool has a lot of fancy features, but the core feature you’re interested in is poorly developed.
It may also turn out that a particular tool is slightly overpriced despite packing fewer feature. But upon closer inspection, you may find out that the tool performs the core tasks much better than all the other alternatives. This is enough reason to make you ignore the rest of the features.
The point here is to choose these tools based on how they support your core goals. Any additional feature the tool comes with is nothing more than a bonus.
The next scoring metric to focus on is the technical requirement. For example, if’s a Windows tool, and it just so happens that your team members are all using MacBooks, then you might want to reconsider your options.
It could be that the tool is Chrome specific, while you’re big on Microsoft or Safari.
You get the drill. The point is to try and look for a tool that’s compatible with your browser or device. If not, then it would probably be better to try and look for alternatives.
While scoring the tool for technical requirements, don’t just focus on current usage, but on your future usage as well as that of your other colleagues.
Privacy and Security
This scoring metric comes with no room for making mistakes. You want to begin by asking yourself, ‘is this technology safe?”
Can it be trusted with your company’s data?
While at it, you also want to consider the privacy of your customers’ data. How is the data maintained? Is the customers’ data storage GDPR compliant?
This is how scoring analysis looks like:
You must have noticed that the scoring is done based on several separate requirements: sales, training, and business requirements. These requirements will always vary based on the company and your reason for using a martech stack.
After the scoring is done, the next thing you want to do is turn it into a scorecard for future decisions.
Step 4: Budget Analysis
A budget analysis will help you save money. Imagine coming across two martech tools, with similar functionalities, both meeting your security and privacy requirements.
Then it just so happens that one of the tools is costlier than the other. The costlier tool may come with other exclusive features, but that’s not enough reason to influence your decision unless you’re sure your business needs these features.
When you’re operating on a shoestring budget, there’s no harm in adding free versions of the tools into your martech stack.
You might also want to consider the future while picking up these tools. If your company is growing rapidly, then you might want to choose a tool with more features if you believe your business will need them in future.
The process of finding new tools to add to your martech stack is involving and takes so much time. That’s without mentioning the time it will also take you to integrate it.
Step 5: Tool Integration
After selecting your tooling, it helps to also look at their integration capabilities. There’s a reason we refer to a collection of martech tools as a stack – and it’s because of the integration.
You can begin by asking yourself the following two questions:
- How well does the tool integrate with the other tools in my martech stack?
- Does the tool have a secure API for transferring data?
The only answer (to both of these questions) that should give you a go-ahead is a ‘yes.’ You want to make sure the tools in your martech stack are communicating with each other.
Think of your martech stack as a fully functional human body. The tools you choose are like the organs.
For your strategy to work well, each organ must also be functioning well. If by any chance any of the tools fails or malfunctions, your stack will fall apart.
For this, you want to stick with tools that are perfect for their role. You may find a temporary tool for the integration, but how sure are you that it will still work after the updates.
At this point, we can only assume you have the perfect combination of tools working together for the common good of your business. Now it’s time to take the stack for a test drive before you can scale it up for your business.
Step 6: The Test Drive
Most tools have significant discounts on their yearly plans.
Sometimes the discount can be so significant that you may feel it’s so good a deal for you to just pass up.
But instead of getting too excited and rushing to make a long-term yearly commitment, we suggest you sign up for their 14-day (sometimes 30-day) free trial.
For those tools that do not offer a free trial, then a better idea would be to just buy a monthly subscription.
After you’ve activated the free trial or the monthly subscription, then it’s time to test the martech stack and all of its functions to find out if it can give you the results you want.
Find out if the integration is going well. Is the blueprint functioning well or is it missing some key elements?
If something isn’t working as expected, try reaching out to the support to see if there’s a solution for it.
Once you’ve established that everything is working well, then you can go ahead and scale your stack. If not, then you want to pivot it or replace some of the tools with their alternatives. Test the stack again until you’re fully satisfied with the results before you can go ahead and make any long-term commitment to the tool.
14 Best MarTech Tools
You have more than 8, 000 martech tools to choose from.
This is a staggering amount, considering you only have to choose a couple of them.
Well, we’ve highlighted 14 of the very best martech tools to check out:
Salesforce is an integrated customer relationship management system, designed to provide a single and shared view of every single one of your customers as they interact with the different departments within your company, especially the sales, marketing, commerce, and service departments.
2# Sprout Social
Sprout social is a feature-rich social media management platform that acts as a central hub for social media publishing, engagement, and analytics across multiple platforms.
3# Google Ads
This is a free web analytics tool from Google. It’s a great tool for analysing your website traffic. You can also use it to measure your advertising ROI.
4# Crazy Egg
Crazy Egg is a heat mapping tool that lets you track in real-time how your visitors are interacting with your site. It lets you identify the hotspots on your site.
You can use it to find out which section of your website gets the most clicks and which one gets ignored most of the time.
This is an automation tool for moving information between two web application tools. You can use it to link two different web applications to automate workflows and share data.
Slack is a channel-based, real-time collaboration workspace for your team. Your teammates can collaborate on projects and communicate in real-time with each other while at it.
HubSpot is an all-in-one sales and marketing stack. It comes with almost everything you may need for your marketing technology stack – CRM, email marketing, CMS platform, and so on.
Moz is an all-in-one SEO toolset. The tool is designed to crawl your website and reveal technical SEO issues and even offer some suggestions on how to get them fixed. It can also track SEO performance, rank traffic-driving keywords, and even provide a backlink analysis of your site.
SEMrush is an all-in-one solution for SEO, PPC, social media, competitive research, and content.
LinkedIn is a social network that focuses on career development and professional networking. They also have one of the most advanced ad systems, supporting self-care using dynamic ads, sponsored content, text ads, and message ads.
Slack is a channel-based communication and collaboration tool. It enables your teams to collaborate on different projects and communicate in real-time.
AdRoll is an AI-driven remarketing platform. It can track your site’s visitors and display targeted ads based on their behaviour.
The platform has evolved to also support email marketing, ads, and cross-channel measurement.
We all know MailChimp as a feature-rich email marketing platform. But there’s more to this tool– if anything, it’s an all-in-one marketing platform. It also doubles as a CRM and automation platform.
WordPress is a free, open-source CMS. It’s built with PHP, with a MySQL database for storing your data.