Today's marketing technologies are mind blowing--but many marketers aren't making the most of the technology at their fingertips. When ChiefMartec released the Marketing Technology Landscape report in January 2014, it was made clear that with today's tools, you can dissect a competitor's ad copy, keywords, ad campaigns and ad spend with the click of a few buttons. So let's start this second Tech Tools for Entrepreneurs column off with a bang.

Marketers can automate the downloading of tons of relevant data, including every news mention, tweet, blog post, forum post or video related to their keywords in the past few years. Instant information about who's influential in any category can be yours--if you use the right tools.

Plus, it's not just about figuring out what's working for your competitors. It's also about learning lessons from their mistakes to optimize your marketing strategy.

Here are 14 phenomenal marketing technologies that only seem-like magic.

1. Competitive Marketing Intelligence

As a marketing professional for over 18 years, this tool has always blown me away. With SpyFu, you can search for any domain to find out where it ranks on Google. This means every single keyword your competitor (or anyone else) has purchased on Adwords, every ad variation dating back six years, and every organic rank for every keyword.

More than that, you get insight in connecting with your chosen domains with both traditional and lead generation methods including data sets like email/phone/address and social media. Why go to the trouble of reinventing the wheel, when you can find out what your biggest competitors use instantly?

Another amazing competitive marketing intelligence tool is TrackMaven. TrackMaven monitors all of your competitors social media, email marketing campaigns, display advertising and many other channels. The only thing that TrackMaven can't do is track social media advertising, which is too micro-targeted to scrape the data.

SpyFu and TrackMaven are definitely competitive analysis voodoo.

2. Influencer Identification

There are a few top influencer identification services such as GetLittleBird and Followerwonk. These are software services and platforms that let you identify the biggest online influencers and heavy hitters in social media, narrowing down the options so you can reach out and customize your marketing efforts.

GetLittleBird features a social graph that analyzes the most relevant connections within a community (which can't be faked). There's peer validation, news on emerging trends by field, and actionable intelligence is available.

Followerwonk offers a social graph to delve deep into Twitter analytics, lets you connect with new influencers in your field and taps into actionable visualizations. You can search via keyword and find anyone that has that term in their bio, and sort it by followers or Klout score to identify the top influencers in any space.

3. Data Layer Marketing Technologies, Tag Management & Marketing Analytics

One of the companies that continue to blow my mind in the marketing technology space is Ensighten. With their "Agile Marketing Platform", they let you optimize marketing through tag & data management, allowing for better customer engagement through effective action on the data that it collects--it puts the control into the hands of businesses instead of forced dependence on a marketing vendor.

Tag management provides power to marketers while making sure they avoid slow page performance, hard coding that leads to slow processing, and difficult scaling. You build your own marketing cloud with a tool like Ensighten, by deploying any of the 1000s of marketing technologies through their platform.

I'll do an in-depth article on them soon, as there are many facets to how they can help your business effectively manage your marketing.

4. Social Listening Tools

You can get a lot more information and insight from listening than by speaking--and the same is true with social media. One of the best social media listening services is from Sysomos, which targets agencies, brands and businesses.

It offers real-time monitoring on a dash that automatically gathers all online conversations which are relevant to you. It then offers insight via graphics and metrics. The three goals are engagement, measurement and learning. Get tools to reach key influencers (and get new sales leads), access to complete analytics on demographics, and tap into case studies and videos relevant to your business.

Another tool, Anametrix, which was recently acquired by Ensighten, also does some amazing things with this Sysomos marketing data. The reports and dashboards that Anametrix creates are very high-quality, and the marketing analytics are quite useful for any social media manager.

5. Content Analytics

What's the use of good content if you don't analyze it? There's a smorgasbord of content analytic companies out there, and BuzzSumo is one of the best.

Simply put, it's a means to analyze the content that's the top performer for a competitor or a specific keyword. This means you'll stop blogging about dog sweaters when your customers want to know more about organic pet food. It's crucial for both content marketing and SEO.

I wrote an in-depth column on BuzzSumo on MarketingLand. This is a tool that I use every day to discover influential content and influencers.

6. Acxiom Audience Operating System

Known as "the world's most powerful marketing platform," Acxiom lets everyone in the marketing realm plan, optimize and even buy audience no matter what the channel or which devices/applications are being used. It promises exact precision in one innovative platform that perfectly ties every last shred of data together from technology to media channels.

It's a flexible open platform that supports any application on the planet. A full marketing ecosystem, it's everything you need to stay engaged in one service--get a complete profile of customers for better branding and less wasted money and time. There are several "stacks" including the Audience Operations Layer, Applications Layer and Data Layer.

Acxiom also recently acquired LiveRamp, which will become one of the most important acquisitions in recent memory. What Acxiom and LiveRamp will be able to do, is nothing short of extraordinary. Partner LiveRamp with other marketing technologies and you have the Future of Media Buying.

7. Custora

The Custora predictive analytic platform is designed just for e-commerce marketing departments. It uses a customized software to analyze data and predict (with impressive success) how customers are likely to respond in the future.

This means knowing what they'll buy, how often they'll go shopping and how much they're likely to spend. This allows online brands to communicate better and advertise in a way to maximize loyalty and the bottom line.

8. Olapic

Here's a unique idea--integrate customer photos into the shopping experience. In turn, businesses can curate and collect the best customer photos, whether it's a selfie of a happy customer wearing your swimsuit in Brazil or an Instagram of your one of a kind coffee mugs on display at a favorite caf in California. Everyone's Olapic service is custom made from the ground up, guaranteeing a unique experience for every client--complete with A/B testing to optimize results.

9. VisualIQ

Focusing on the beauty in simplicity, VisualQ is all about designing experiences for web and mobile applications--all the way from super simple to database-based complex applications.

The two pillars are finding what customers want (Product Validation) and finding what customers want to use (UI Optimization). Designers work hand in hand with companies to design a one of a kind approach which is then prototyped, tested with real people, and finally honed to pass the client test. This leads to the ultimate user experience. VisualIQ has a lot of very valuable services that help most businesses marketing department.

10. Extole

Here's a different approach: Get new customers by rewarding current customers. Extole has a unique approach that taps into the classic word of mouth marketing strategy. The company crafts an optimal visitor experiencing utilizing your site's branding including mobile readiness. "Advocates" are engaged with "nurturing messages." If that sounds too touchy-feely, in marketing jargon that means easy tagging and promotion with full reward management.

Enjoy a full program that takes you from promotion to customer conversion complete with analysis. A referral program that works, Extole boasts "millions of conversions" and promises to make you an authority.

11. DataXu

Blending science and marketing, DataXu was founded by two MIT grads--one from aeronautics and one from astronautics, both of whom were involved with writing the combinatorial language for NASA's Mars mission strategy. They understand the importance of making the right decisions in real-time, and saw a disparity in the marketing world when manual solutions steeped in intuition were still being used in a digital era.

The DataXu open platform uses real "rocket science" to offer an easy UI to "read" and engage customers in today's tech-driven world. DataXu made the first (and currently only) real-time multi-variate decision platform that helps businesses with programmatic marketing, among other features.

12. AppNexus

Touted as "the industry's only open and customizable ad tech platform," AppNexus lets you build four major items. First, you can build a trading desk, where advertisers can use data-driven insights to up their competitive edge in ad tech. There's no expensive investment or complex technology, simply buy at scale without ever coding.

Next, build a differentiated ad network to optimize scale and performance, tap into advanced analytics, and create proprietary tools to stand out. Want more? Build a custom exchange to personalize your exchange strategy. Whether you respond to direct response demand or you're brand focused, you need management tools as well as complete publisher ad services to make the most of your inventory.

Finally, build an AppNexus app easily within existing infrastructures (no tech degree needed).

13. Turn.com

Claiming it's "your single source for all marketing data," Turn gets you started with a bang. With cloud technology, every last piece of your marketing information is sorted and analyzed in one place with a single dashboard. Instantly get insights, see results and tips on actions.

Perfect for targeting segmentation, better planning and optimal execution, you've never seen your business this way before. Enjoy immediate access to over 100 marketing tech partners so you can focus on results--not integration.

14. Social Content Databases

There are a number of reputable social content databases such as Data.com, Social123, FullContact, and Cision. Each offers different perks, so do some research to find the right match from you. However, they all offer a single, social media-sourced lead generation tool for B2B companies. This leads to more and better contacts so you can target your ideal demographic. Social media is a goldmine of information--but only if you can access and analyze it properly and with great speed.

These are just a few of the marketing technology tools at your disposal. In future articles, I'll be going over a few of these more in-depth however, I wanted to start off the column with a big bang for you with tons of resources to dig your teeth into.

Which of these technologies have you been missing out on? Which other marketing tools do you feel are like marketing voodoo?

Published on: Oct 27, 2014