Marketing technology (MarTech) is a hot commodity, but actually adopting these tech items can be intimidating for most business owners. The intimidation makes sense. New technology can be scary, and you don't want to struggle with a tool that has a steep learning curve. Unfortunately, this means companies are missing out on some great products that can make life and business so much easier.

Consider this: What if you created your own MarTech starter kit with several key solutions that you could use to optimize your marketing and tech departments? You could grow revenue, give your employees a break, and optimize your time, money, and efforts. If applied correctly, you create the magic bullet.

Here's how you might begin to build your own MarTech stack. I've included some potential software products in each category to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind, no two tech stacks are the same. Your marketing technology stack will likely depend on your business model, commerce versus media or B2B, for example.

 

 

 

 

Analytics and Tracking: You need to track your performance, ads, technology, and everything else. How else will you know what's working--and what isn't? By far, Google Analytics is your best weapon, which is why more than 80 percent of smaller businesses use it. You might also want to check out Adobe Analytics, especially if you're an enterprise or headed in that direction. Tag Management: What exactly is a tag and why does it need managing? A tag is a chunk of code-- often JavaScript--that performs a task on your site. Oftentimes, websites have several of these chunks that need deploying, including tags for analytics, affiliate marketing, advertising, and much more. With a tag manager, you're able to deploy the same tag across all pages without requiring ongoing development resources, speed up your site performance, and capture the data from the various tags that you're using. It's one of the main foundations of a marketing technology stack. If you're a small or medium-size business (SMB), look at Google Tag Manager. If you're an enterprise, check out Adobe DTM, Tealium, Signal, or Ensighten. Marketing Automation: This is what gathers all your efforts together. It's a suite that usually includes analytics, tracking, online forms, and even email marketing. Marketing automation suites give your visitors customized content, facilitate sales and marketing, and much more. There are oodles to choose from, but I recommend trying HubSpot, Infusionsoft, or Act-On for smaller businesses. Enterprises should check out Silverpop, Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, and Adobe Campaign. Customer Relationship Manager (CRM): CRM in its most basic form is a method for managing a company's current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize prospecting, sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support. The world's most popular CRM is Salesforce. However, there are a bunch to choose from, including SugarCRM, Nimble, HubSpot Sidekick, and KarmaCRM. Find one that you like and stick with it. It's how you manage relationships with the lifeblood of your business: customers. Data Management Platform (DMP): In lay terms, a data management platform is a data warehouse. It's software that grabs, sorts, and stores information---and then spits it out in a way that's useful for marketers, publishers, advertisers, and other businesses. Vendors that sell DMP technology to the digital media world currently include Adobe, Krux, Lotame, Aggregate Knowledge, BlueKai, and others. Content Delivery Network (CDN): A CDN works by providing alternate server nodes for users to download resources (usually content like images and JavaScript). These nodes are spread throughout the globe and are therefore physically closer to the end users, which ensures a faster response and content download time. While CDNs are a great solution for websites looking for speed improvements, not every site needs a CDN. Akamai is a popular CDN, but there are many CDN vendors to choose from. Conversion Optimization: You don't make the sell until you make the sell. Ideally, you're also converting that first buyer into a long-term loyal customer. Getting someone to your website is just the beginning of the battle. You can lose your prospect with an unattractive layout, long forms, or a slow site. Conversion optimization can easily double how many people fill out online forms, getting you that invaluable big data. Try out Optimizely for A/B testing of your pages, the complimentary Landing Page Grader from WordStream, or Ion Interactive to easily craft marketing apps with absolutely no tech background required. Enterprise businesses should consider Maxymiser, which was recently acquired by Oracle, Monetate, or the original Adobe Target. Campaign Management: Campaign management applications help organizations segment, target, and manage multichannel marketing messages. Elements of functionality include attribution, data mining, customer segmentation, customer-event triggering, next-best-action recommendation engines, and campaign optimization. Many of these components may be in your marketing automation platform, but not necessarily. Some of the better campaign management platforms are Integrate, Ensighten, Pardot, Adobe Campaign, and Accomplice. Email Marketing: Email marketing isn't going anywhere, but most people aren't using it as well as they could be. This isn't about spam, but about genuine emails sent to people who have opted in because they are interested in your offerings. Only send valuable materials--period. Content should be personalized and sent in just the right doses. Some fantastic tools include Constant Contact, Exact Target, Emfluence, and MailChimp, all pillars in the world of email marketing. Keep in mind that most marketing automation tools already have great email marketing tools within them, so you might already be sitting on a goldmine! Mobile Optimization: The majority of people now use their smartphones or other mobile devices to do just about everything. This means your site has to be easy to navigate and view on mobile devices. Deploy responsive design from a designer who knows the importance of mobile readiness. You can also create a mobile site that's totally different from your "desktop site" and/or an app to help with mobile access. Mobile tag management is also a thing to be aware of. Advertising Networks: There are many types of advertising tracking codes that you may want to use on your site, as there are tons of ways to advertise. If you're an SMB, you probably use Google AdWords, or maybe Google Retargeting or DoubleClick. You probably use Facebook for ads, as well. If you don't, you should. Who knows more about your potential customers than Google and Facebook? One of my favorite things to do is to execute Facebook ad campaigns using a variety of these tools and retargeting platforms. Remarketing: You may not know it, but you already know firsthand what remarketing is. If you visit a website, then later see an ad for that website somewhere else, it's most likely no coincidence. Remarketing helps you reach people who have already searched for your offering--or something very similar. You pay for these connections via a CPM approach, snagging a bundle of complimentary impressions. You can use Google AdWords, AdRoll, or Perfect Audience to get started. Search Engine Marketing: From search engine optimization (SEO) to paid search ads, search engine marketing is one big marketing enchilada. Simply put, you have to be where people are searching for products or services like yours. Search ads let you test and improve copy, forms, and keywords, then track potential customers via Google AdWords and Analytics. Of course, SEO demands regular, original, valuable content. Many companies depend on WordStream, gShiftLabs, or BrightEdge to complement Google's tools--and don't forget that Bing and Yahoo are search engines that deserve a little SEO, too.

Looking at other sites' MarTech stacks can help you imagine your own. Here is a great example of a MarTech stack that is organized well, according to data pulled by Ghostery. This is HomeDepot.com. They have many of the right pieces in place.

Here is another example: FoxNews.com. You can see that they don't have a tag management solution serving as a centralized hub for managing vendors and customer data, so many of their tags are all over the place.

These Ghostery graphics can also be fascinating for competitive analysis.

Here is the worst marketing technology stack that I've seen so far. Whoever is managing TMZ.com is clearly a fan of duct tape, Band-Aids, hope, and prayers, because it sure doesn't look like there is a solid plan behind their stack.

They have Google Tag Manager, but nothing is deployed through it. This stack is cringe-worthy.

[Click Image to see the TMZ MarTech trainwreck in all its glory.]

Another great tool for competitive analysis is BuiltWith. It allows you to see all of the technologies on any site, see which sites have those technologies, and which other technologies are present on those sites. The illustration below shows which technologies are present on sites that are also using Ensighten technology.

 

So let this article serve as your ultimate cheat sheet to MarTech. If you want to discover all of the marketing technologies in the landscape, check out Scott Brinker's MarTech Landscape. Or if you like something a bit more interactive, explore Growthverse, as it has a dynamic visualization mapping the whole marketing technology ecosystem.

Did I miss something or do you have something else to add to the discussion? Comment below and share your thoughts!

Published on: Oct 28, 2015