Every brand has a marketing stack, aka Martech Tool Stack that they use to run campaigns and track measurable marketing outcomes. But not every brand has a good handle on what these tools are. This is something many brands are realizing as they strive to consolidate their unwieldly stacks and understand the consumer and market intelligence that drives business.
So, “why” is this paring back happening in the first place? The Martech Stack at most companies is rife with redundant and even nonessential items that do little to advance a brand’s standing in a given space. And the pandemic forced brands to focus on efficiencies in every category. The great tool consolidation of 2020 was underway. We’re guessing your brand can relate . . .
The Great Tool Consolidation of 2020
Although it’s not really a topic that can compete with pandemic chatter, if you look closely you’ll see that it’s out there under different headings: the Martech Stack evolution, trends, platforms, budgeting. And underlying these conversations, we find the lack of consistent stack oversight causing unnecessary challenges. With efficient market intelligence capture topping concerns, brand teams are tasked with examining what can be done. And with accelerated digital transformation happening, there’s little time to spare.
Another reason Martech tools are consolidating is because brands require faster time to insight. To accomplish this, they need to view key intel to inform rapid decision-making in as few tools as possible. Preferably, with one tool acting as the Martech foundation. From there, brands require the ability to perform/track specific actions in as few tools as possible.
That last part is the rub and a consistent refrain – “as few tools as possible.” It’s a tough standard to meet. Because as long as brands have been chatting up their marketing stack solutions, the options have grown at a proportional rate.
For example, there were less than 1,000 Martech solutions reported by the Martech500 in 2014. And as of April 2020, there were more than 8,000 Martech solutions on offer. With so many options out there on the worldwide web, marketers suffering from shiny object syndrome have traditionally snapped them up as they become available. This needs to change.
Combatting Shiny Object Syndrome
A quick look at the companies dominating the Martech Stack conversation shows how pervasive it is:
Your brand is likely familiar with all of these tools and may even be using a good number of them right now. And that would be great, if you were actually using them to their full potential. Many brands are not. And some are paying lots of money for tools they really don’t need (or use) at all – tools that offer consumer and market intelligence, but in a way that’s ignored.
It’s not that these aren’t all great options – they are. But that shouldn’t figure into the criteria for choosing your Martech Stack. Are they relevant to your brand’s needs? And do they fit into one of the six essential tool categories that should guide every efficient tool stack? Let’s explore what those categories are and why brands choose them.
Martech Tool Stack Categories
You’ll note this breakdown takes brands well beyond marketing, as data efficiencies are needed across the entire enterprise. This is where talk of smashing siloes meets real-world solutions to make this talk a reality. There are six categories every brand must consider:
1. Data: The Foundation of Your Stack
This piece of your Martech Stack is foundational and will eventually be adopted company-wide as digital transformation takes over. It’s your consumer and market intelligence home base, where you’ll capture and analyze data captured from a variety of sources. NetBase Quid serves as an overarching analytics home base for many leading brands, for example.
These are the big picture tools, more aptly described as Project Management as that’s the main function they serve. How is your team staying in touch in real-time and on top of projects? Slack is a good example here, but obviously doesn’t check every box. Dropbox might be where you house all of your shared insight. And Zoom or Microsoft Office are likely your meeting go-to. How are you sharing insight between these tools? How is it organized. That’s all part of the overall management process.
3. Content & Experience
Creating content is important and businesses either must contract with an agency or have an in-house Adobe Creative Suite expert. Canva won’t cut it for professional graphics and your in-house meme-maker is not the best option either. And then how are customers experiencing your website? WordPress is the standard experience master when it comes to website creation. No need to recreate the wheel with this offering available, but you will need tech types able to code it to your specifications.
4. Social & Relationships
Social media management requires scheduling and interaction with followers. With management tools like Hootsuite or Buffer available, brands can work with teams to see which posts are resonating and with whom. Pulling this insight into your foundational consumer and market intelligence tools creates an overarching holistic view of a category and helps identify opportunities – and influencers. And it can also alert brands to previously undiscovered segments and learnings from competitor attempts in a space.
5. Sales & eCommerce
Though typically listed as “commerce,” this is a great example of how needs have changed with time. Thanks to COVID-19, brands have had to digitally transform at breakneck speed or die. So, labeling this “ecommerce” is appropriate, as the tools to accommodate this need have shifted accordingly. Salesforce is an important CRM tool, of course, as is a way to manage financial relationships online. Bill.com helps brands view where money is going and when. And every bit of customer and vendor intelligence can be integrated as well. As long as it has an API, if your consumer and market intelligence tool is robust, it can aggregate and analyze it for you to help identify efficiencies.
6. Advertising & Promotion
With so much intel captured from the categories above, brands are able to create promotions that seem predictive – because they are. Google Ads meets consumer intelligence for the win! And those previously identified influencers and detractors (found vis social and relationship management intel and viewed in next generation AI-powered social analytics dashboarding) offer the most powerful promotional capabilities of all. Talk about bang for your Martech buck!
And finally, who is in charge of the Martech Stack in your organization? It typically falls to marketing, but they’re left with little oversight enterprise-wide. That’s a mistake. Our upcoming report details why this needs to be a specifically assigned (and supported) internal effort.
Wondering how brands know which amazing tools are meeting each need and which are just taking up budget needlessly? Watch for our next post detailing how to spot redundancies and what to do about them! We’ll show you how to trim the fat from your Martech Stack. And be sure to reach out for a demo, so we can show you one that you’ll need regardless of where you land, specifically the foundational data analytics option mentioned above!