What is a MarTech Stack and How Do you Build One

Martech Stack

Read on to learn how you build a marketing technology stack.

Marketing relies more on software than ever, but in an ever-changing field, no product can do everything you need.

Whether they’re selling running shoes or a VoIP phone system for small businesses, with the complex marketing funnel of B2B sales, marketers need to string several tools together to work effectively in a digital world.

But if you’re just starting up a new marketing department or rebuilding an old one, how do you build a Marketing Technology or MarTech stack?

What is a MarTech stack?

A “marketing technology stack” refers to the collection of software you use to plan, manage, and optimize your marketing activities. It’s called a “stack” because the different tools often act as additional layers of one operation: at the surface is the content customers see and the tools you use to distribute it. Below that, the tools you use to manage that content. Below that, the tools you use to create it, to hold the brainstorming meeting about it, etc.

The components of a marketing technology stack may vary depending on the company’s specific needs and objectives, but the main categories are usually:

Communication tools

In an increasingly remote workforce, it’s essential to use the best communication tools. These might be simple things like group chat that puts all your text communication in one place, or they might be more transformative tools like a virtual whiteboard tool that lets remote teams illustrate their ideas as quickly as in an actual meeting.

Adtech and analytics

AdTech and analytics tools for marketers enable marketers to track their ad results, optimize performance, and measure customer sentiment. A tool like Google Analytics can show you how people are moving through your site, and integrated with LinkedIn’s analytics can give you an end-to-end view of all customer journeys that start there.

CMS

A content management system (CMS) allows marketers to manage and publish website content easily. They can also edit and post on the company site without any web development knowledge; the CMS handles things like image compression automatically and can even assist with technical SEO as the content is being published. Examples include WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.

Social media

Social media tools allow marketers to track social conversations, create content, measure performance, and connect with influencers. Even simple tools make publishing across channels faster and more convenient: content is written once, then published on each platform. 

More advanced tools provide better analytics than what the platforms give you on their own, and can help you reach out to creators and influencers in your niche. Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprinklr all make social media management easy for the whole team.

How do you build a MarTech stack?

So, how do you get started if you’re ready to build your MarTech stack?

Keep it simple

With so many tools available, many of them offering a free tier, it would be easy for your MarTech stack to grow quickly out of control. Resolving to keep your stack simple will have many benefits.

Technologies like AI are constantly changing marketing, so it’s important to be agile. Keeping your stack simple will make it easy to change the way you’re working as your strategy evolves; that could mean using tools differently or replacing them altogether. 

Restricting the number of tools means making the most out of the ones you’ve got, reducing expenses, and making it easier to onboard new marketing staff. Keeping it simple means, there’s no room for slack in the system: if a tool isn’t giving you a good return on investment, then replace it.

Set clear goals

When building a MarTech stack, it’s essential to set clear goals aligned with the overall business goals. Some potential goals might be improving customer segmentation, optimizing content delivery, or creating an omnichannel customer experience. Having a “north star” in mind will help you decide what you should include in your MarTech stack at first.

Budget

Setting a budget to ensure the MarTech stack is relatively inexpensive is important. This will help ensure that the stack is well-rounded and that resources are well-spent on necessary components.

Make software ROI a priority from the beginning. You can measure the effectiveness of tools based on factors like how many man-hours of work they save or the increase in customer lifetime value that software has enabled. Setting a budget will help ensure that the components chosen are the best available within your budget. With many pricing tiers available, it’s important to only pay for what you really need.

Measure success

One way to measure the success of a marketing technology stack is to track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as sales or website visits. Keeping an eye on KPIs allows marketers to be proactive in optimizing the stack, ensuring they get the results they’re paying for. 

KPIs like customer lifetime value and cost per acquisition will help you keep the financials under control, while tracking changes in customer sentiment since you switched to a new tool will demonstrate the success of your new MarTech stack.

Building and refining your MarTech stack

A MarTech stack has to cover a lot of bases, but it shouldn’t be complicated. Keeping it simple makes it easy to build, easy to onboard staff into, and easy to optimize over time.

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Jenna Bunnell

Jenna Bunnell

Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Check out her LinkedIn profile.