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How To Stay Focused When Building (And Using) Your Marketing Tech Stack

clock-iconJune 21, 2017

    Today, there are virtually unlimited options for marketers when it comes to SaaS marketing technologies.

    Sometimes it seems like you get 10 requests every day asking you to try a new one to increase your conversion rate or develop a content calendar. This isn’t a coincidence — marketing technology has exploded in recent years. In fact, Chief Marketing Technologist reports that there were at least 3,874 software brands in business at the start of 2016. There are even awards for marketing technology stacks: the Stackie Awards.

    To make matters even more confusing, most of these requests center around marketing buzzwords like “social media marketing,” “content marketing,” “conversion funnel” and more.

    If you’re not careful, it’s easy to lose your focus and forget why you started the process in the first place.

    What is a marketing tech stack?

    To understand how to choose the right marketing tech stack, you first have to understand what a tech stack is and why it matters.

    While the phrase “marketing tech stack” is commonly used to refer to a single space, like content marketing, tech stacks can — and frequently do — include analytical tools, list curation tools, marketing automation tools and more.

    In a general sense, Optimizely defines marketing tech stacks as a “grouping of technologies that marketers leverage to conduct and improve their marketing activities.”

    Choose the right mix.

    The critical first step to maintaining your focus as you work on your marketing tech stack is to choose the right mix.

    This involves considering factors like your budget, need and the functionality of the product at hand. Ideally, all of these factors will work together, in cooperation with one another, to help you meet your marketing goals.

    Here’s a step-by-step guide to choosing the right tech stack for you:

    1. Start at the roots.

    Choosing a tech stack can be an intimidating process, and it’s tough to know where to begin. Combat the confusion by starting at the foundation and working up. A great resource is G2 Crowd, which amasses user reviews of marketing technology to help you weigh the pros and cons of each marketing software system.

    First things first, align your tech stack with your IT department and sales team. Remember that it’s impossible to facilitate great marketing without great IT backing and sales support, so it’s essential to ensure these branches work well together. With this in mind, enlist the help of your IT department as you move forward toward choosing a tech stack that works for you and your sales department to make sure you are delivering sales qualified leads.

    2. Define a budget.

    Tech stacks come in all shapes, sizes and expenses, so it’s essential to define a budget before you go about choosing one.

    Not only will this narrow your search by allowing you to evaluate only the in-budget options, but it will help you make financially responsible decisions regarding your tech stack and its deployment.

    Today, most modern marketing budgets range from 4 to 10% of a company’s annual projected revenue, so it’s wise to choose a tech stack that falls within that range and takes into account any unique budgetary concerns your company may have.

    3. Consider your needs.

    The needs of a well-funded startup will be different than those of a large, established, enterprise-level firm. Consider your marketing and technology needs as you shop for tech stacks and consider how the tech stack you like will grow with you and support your goals throughout.

    4. Paint a complete picture.

    Now that you know what your IT department wants and can support, what you can afford and what you’ll need in the way of technology, it’s time to select and build your tech stack. Check out these 41 different marketing tech stacks for inspiration.

    Keep in mind that these factors may change down the road and it’s always smart to adjust your approach when they do.

    While maintaining your focus when selecting and building a tech stack can be difficult, these four simple tips can help you stay between the lines and ensure you wind up with a tech stack that truly benefits your company and marketing efforts