How to build an optimal marketing technology stack


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stack of pancakes

We’ve spoken extensively about how to make sense of the MarTech puzzle, and no doubt you’ve read other opinions on this topic. But when it really comes down to it, choosing the right tools to make up your marketing technology stack is quite frankly intimidating. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution or stack, and each organization’s needs will be different from those of the next.

Let’s back up a second though, what exactly is a marketing technology stack?

A Marketing Technology Stack, or MarTech Stack, is a combination of tools used to complement your human marketing efforts and enable you to meet your objectives. Their function is generally to conduct, improve, or measure marketing activities in order to facilitate smarter behavior and spending.

How to go about building your stack

As mentioned above, there isn’t a silver bullet when it comes to selecting the right tools to fit your stack. The key is to first recognize what your objectives are. Only then will you be able to determine the type of technology that can help you achieve them. Naturally, objectives will vary based on your business plan, size, strategy, and even the makeup of your team.

B2C organizations will differ from B2Bs, just as SMEs and Fortune 100+ enterprises will have understandably different needs or possibilities.

However, we can go ahead and identify some of the most common marketing objectives as a place to start:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Generate highly qualified leads
  • Engage with target audience
  • Drive traffic and/or conversions
  • Educate via thought leadership
  • Contribute to the bottom line

If you have not done so yet, sit down and sketch out your objectives, and then use these, in combination with your knowledge on company assets to build unique and comprehensive KPIs. Once these have been determined, it is that much easier to pair them with the functions needed, for example:

  • Store & process data
  • Social media management
  • Content & web experience
  • Operations
  • Automation
  • Measure results
  • Etc…

In order to ensure you’ll get the greatest benefit from technologies, internal discussions should be held prior to contracting any tools to outline:

  • Who’s going to handle the day-to-day maintenance and running of the tool
  • Who are the stakeholders and what is their involvement
  • Forecasted timelines
  • Onboarding
  • Expected return on investment

Besides the most obvious factors, such as function and expense, you may wish to consider additional elements when evaluating your MarTech contenders as well:

  • Integrations
  • Scalability
  • The extent to which it can help you meet objectives
  • Educational resources available
  • Available or included support and set up, and capacity for self-service where that is important to you and you have the resources to support efforts internally
  • Time to deploy the solution
  • Privacy and security standards

It’s vital that any tools you employ in your stack will play nicely with others and scale to fit evolving business needs and trends. You also want to make sure the learning curve won’t prevent your team from utilizing it to its full potential. After all, these softwares are there to improve performance, so they should be used to eliminate your marketing team’s biggest pain points, not add to them.

As we mentioned before, MarTech should be adopted to help you meet objectives. It’s useful to monitor your performance both prior to roll out of the solution and after it to understand if your choices are truly helping you to better your performance. According to a study conducted by Asscend2, 87% of their respondents reported that marketing technologies have improved marketing performance, 32% of those noting a significant improvement.

how the marketing data technology landscape fits together: discover, decide, activate, automate

The Marketing Data Technology Ecosystem can act as a guide to help you understand the interaction between the discover, decide, automate, activate and backbone layers in order to help you choose the best mix possible.

Backbone: gather, process and store data
Discover: slicing and dicing data
Decide: data delivery and performance-driven decision-making
Activate: Putting data to work
Automate: harmoniously automating marketing efforts

A common concern to adopting any new technology is that you may feel like you’re ‘not quite there yet’, but don’t be timid when it comes to testing out tools and experimenting with your options. Most vendors these days understand the value a pilot can give you in terms of understanding how their solution can complement your current mix. You’d be surprised at how quickly tools can shape your marketing operations and help your team to become more data-driven.

Use new technologies, like reporting solutions, as a launching pad from where to start. Dashboards, for example, can help you focus on KPIs, measure progress, make decisions, and set out a framework which can be built upon as marketing efforts advance.

The key to all of this, however, is to make sure data is at the heart of your stack. You want each tool to either help you effectively identify, decide, or act on the information fueling your organization.


We’d love to hear about how you’ve built your marketing stack! What factors do you believe are the most important things to consider when building an optimal stack?

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Holly McKendry

Sweetspot Marketing Director. Wakeboarder & travel enthusiast. Communication Studies graduate of Texas State University, San Marcos.

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