Today’s marketing environment is undeniably a busy one. In fact, it’s almost impossible nowadays for digital marketers to perform their tasks without the right tools at their side; tools that automate and simplify processes ensuring they get a good return on their marketing investment. This is essentially where having a marketing technology stack becomes fundamental to your success as an online company.
So what is a marketing technology stack? Why do I need one? And which tools do I need to complete mine? Let’s take a look.
What is a Marketing Technology Stack?
A Marketing Technology Stack is essentially a cluster of technology-based tools that digital marketers use to efficiently perform marketing activities, across various channels. Marketing technology stacks often vary from business to business depending on both the size of the business and their priorities.
For example, the marketing technology stack of an enterprise business is usually much more intricate than that of a startup or SMB. This could be for several reasons: a bigger budget and thus the opportunity to invest in a wider range of tools, the involvement of several departments, a larger customer base to serve and more websites & mobile apps to maintain.
That being said, there is no ‘one size fits all’ anymore when it comes to employing marketing technologies. Businesses are now much more keen on mixing and matching different tools to create their own, personalised marketing technology stacks.
Why invest in a Marketing Technology Stack?
There’s no denying that the Marketing Technology (‘Martech’) space is flourishing. In fact, martech vendors are sprouting up just about everywhere, each time with newer and more innovative solutions.
Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the difference between ChiefMartech’s first edition of the Marketing Tech Landscape in 2011 (with roughly 150 vendors) to this year’s edition (with nearly 7,000 vendors)! The transformation is colossal.
On top of that, studies carried out by Gartner show that 50 – 65% of marketing execs plan on spending more on marketing technology in the next year. Not to mention marketing software spending is set to reach $32 billion by the end of this year.
So what can we conclude from these figures you ask? Marketing Technology Stacks aren’t going anywhere. They are here to stay, meaning if you haven’t yet hopped on board, now is the time.
Creating your own Marketing Technology Stack
Before you jump right in and start researching tools (which trust me, can be a very time consuming task), it’s important to do your homework first. Start thinking about which tools you need to reach your goals and why, what kind of budget you have for doing so, and who will be involved in managing these technologies.
Ideally, your martech stack should include a good mix of marketing essentials – all of which serve a critical purpose within your business.
Top Tools For Your Marketing Technology Stack
In the overview of marketing technology tools below, we have covered five key categories that nearly every business tends to start out with: email marketing, social media, CRM, analytics and collaboration.
Let’s start with the first one: email marketing.
Email Marketing Tools
From a business perspective, emails are widely used as a cost-effective as well as efficient way of acquiring new customers, boosting sales, building up your brand awareness and fostering a sense of trust among your customers. Email marketing has also shown a better ROI compared to other marketing channels, making them a great addition to your marketing technology stack. Here are some email marketing tools we suggest you look into.
Mailchimp is a very well-known email marketing tool that integrates with popular apps and services. This tool allows you to easily sync your data from those services, import content from other sources, and learn how your campaigns are affecting your business. Along with reports to show you how well you’re connecting with your audience and how much money you’re bringing in, Mailchimp gives you tips for improvement. Mailchimp Mobile Dashboard enables you to check in from anywhere.
2. Campaign Monitor
A very popular email marketing tool, Campaign Monitor provide its users with an easy-to-use drag and drop email builder as well as a drag-and-drop segmenting tool (to create different campaigns with different contacts). Using their email template, users can customise emails to fit their brand. This email marketing tool also offers A/B testing to optimise test subject lines, sender details and email designs.
A cloud-based email platform, SendGrid is a tool built to serve developers. It is known as the world’s largest Email Infrastructure as a Service provider. Users can quickly send out emails such as shipping notifications, email newsletters, sign-up confirmations, etc. Businesses can also track email opens unsubscribes, bounces and spam reports without the use of code. This email marketing tool also provides templates, scheduling and A/B testing. Email analytics can be viewed in real-time.
AWeber is another popular email marketing tool with a number of great features. Using a drag and drop editor, users can easily create automated emails and make use of their high-quality autoresponder capabilities. Users can also create subscription forms and place them on the website, blog or Facebook page. Within this tool, you can pull up charts showing how many contacts opened emails or clicked on links within your message.
Customer.io is an email marketing tool that can be used by various different roles within your business including marketers, product managers and of course, growth hackers. Users can send targeted emails to your visitors on your website or to mobile app users depending on their activity. You are notified when they have read your email and/or if they click on one of the links. It also includes A/B Testing capabilities.
Social Media Tools
Social media tools are used to track your social media campaigns, whether that’s staying on top of (social) conversations, curating content, reviewing social analytics or scheduling posts on one or more channels simultaneously. Having these tools in your marketing technology stack will save you a lot of time and stress.
Hootsuite is a content marketing tool used for managing social media sites and launching marketing campaigns. It offers a social media dashboard that helps users collaborate and schedule updates for various social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and WordPress. Users can also track campaign results and industry trends to adjust their strategy.
Very similar to Hootsuite, Buffer is also a content management platform. This content marketing tool makes it very simple and easy to schedule posts, track the performance of your content and manage all of your accounts in one place rather than signing in to multiple accounts. With Buffer you can instantly see which posts are performing best, so you can do more of what works and continually increase engagement.
BuzzSumo is a social media analytics tool with a powerful social media search engine that enables users to find/analyse best content in any niche. This content marketing tool helps you improve your outreach and influencer marketing by searching for key influencers in any topic area and following them directly in BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo users can now export all results such as content curators, influencers and most shared content as a CSV or Excel file for detailed analysis.
9. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is a suite of social media analytics tools catered to small and midsize businesses. Easily create engagement reports that accumulate data from all social profiles, including the number of competitors and growth on each channel, content habits, engagement habits and more. This tool is also unique in that it also offers social CRM capabilities, which provide sales and marketing tools for engaging prospects and leads.
Branded visuals are crucial for social media marketing. They help you build a successful brand, getting your audience to remember your messages. Renderforest makes branding available and affordable for everyone. It offers an all-in-one branding platform to create logos and websites, animations, slideshows, promo videos, and a lot more.
The ready designed logos and websites are at your disposal. Simply import your media and get professional logos, presentations, websites, and more within a few minutes.
CRM software now lies at heart of most marketing and sales operations. These businesses are trying to avoid silos and make information available to their employees wherever they are. Plus it’s proven to be an efficient way of obtaining the much sought-after ‘360 degree view of the customer’. With this sudden rise in popularity, a myriad of CRM software providers quickly arrived to the scene, providing businesses with a wealth of options.
You’ve all probably heard of these guys. After all, SalesForce CRM has the largest share on the market. The software combines lead management, marketing automation, sales data, partner management features for a ‘systematic lead-to-conversion approach’. It has a pretty cool visual workflow as well where you can drag-and-drop things like deals, discounts and expenses. Additionally SalesForce offers a variety of modules including: Sales Cloud, Sales Performance, Sales Collaboration, Marketing Cloud, and more.
12. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot CRM is a pretty popular CRM software. It is intended for both enterprise businesses as well as businesses still recognising the value of CRM. The software includes all of the basic features provided by CRM software, allowing you keep track of your company’s activities, including contacts and company profiles, assigning & tracking deals, and managing all of that data in a detailed dashboard (visible to all team members).
13. Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft also has its own CRM software known as Microsoft Dynamics 365. This software is great for boosting lead tracking, sales and helping out with operations done via mobile and cloud-based business applications. And as you might’ve guessed by the name, users can obtain a 360 degree view of their customers thanks to this software’s ability to transform customer behaviour into valuable data and insights.
14. Sugar CRM
Sugar CRM is an open source CRM software with plenty of customisation options, an open API and responsive mobile apps for Android and iOS. The first end-to-end CRM solution in the market, this software has quite a bit of experience. Not to mention Sugar is suitable for a variety of different industries and very easy to navigate thanks to its clear-cut categories, subsections and filters.
15. Freshsales CRM
Freshsales CRM, part of Freshworks, works as a contact management hub helping sales teams stay on top of their leads. Interestingly enough, this software was created in response to Freshworks’s own need to better handle sales processes and avoid having to use multiple programs to do so. Some interesting features Freshsales offers include email tracking, event tracking direct calling, sales management, lead management, analytics and customer support. This enterprise CRM software also provides several integration options with apps like Google calendar and Segment, and of course, with its own software, Freshdesk tickets.
Analytics tools are unfortunately considered an afterthought much of the time. They are often times used to measure the performance and effectiveness of other marketing tools in this list, rather than as a method of fine-tuning marketing activities. Proper analytics tools, however – especially with respect to your website – can do a lot for conversions, customer experience and overall usability of your website. The results you receive from the collection and analysis of website data (whether that’s customer feedback, web analytics, or clicks) will help you identify what’s working and what isn’t so you can make meaningful changes.
Mopinion is an advanced feedback analytics software that helps digital marketers collect and analyse both website and mobile customer feedback (using a mobile SDK). It has an easy-to-use interface, with which users can build, design and configure feedback forms however they like. Mopinion users can also target specific groups of online visitors with feedback forms and gain insights into why they are struggling to convert. Once collected, feedback items can be visualised in customisable dashboards and charts for advanced analyses. Additionally, digital teams can share and take action on these feedback items in a timely manner with the help of smart alerts.
17. Google Analytics
This is the most popular of all web analytics tools and for a good reason. This free Google-powered tool provides a well-rounded dose of prescriptive and predictive analytics. Google Analytics helps you follow trends and understand user flows, however you’ll need to follow a tutorial to use it properly as sometimes it can be difficult to interpret the data without any prior knowledge of how it works.
This conversion rate optimisation (CRO) tool focuses on visitor behavior on the site, first-time visitor conversions and return visitor conversions. What really sets this tool apart from the rest is that it enables users to map out visitor steps starting from the page they start on all the way to conversion completion (e.g. based on the conversion goal you’ve set). Having this in your arsenal will help you increase your conversion goals.
Clicky is a great analytics tool for analysing web activities like downloads and pageviews. It register and reports these activities for you in a user-friendly dashboard – in real-time. It can even give you insights into Twitter statistics. If you upgrade to premium, you have access to other tools as well such as campaign & conversion tracking and heatmapping.
Mixpanel is an analytics tools that really focuses on the user interactions with both website and mobile applications. This tool provides targeted communication with visitors (including e-mails and smart notifications), in-app A/B tests and user survey forms. Additionally, you can visualise the data collected in less than 10 minutes. Another benefit? Mixpanel offers a ‘freemium’. However, if you want more access with additional services, they have a custom pricing model all the way up to the enterprise level.
If you’re team is more adamant on using a tool or software that will facilitate smooth collaboration among team members, collaboration software might be your best bet. These tools are focused on working around the journey together with your team and will help you avoid these common mistakes. They include generic project management tools as well as tools that are more centered on the customer journey itself.
Trello is a visual collaboration software for planning tasks and projects. While commonly used by agile software development teams, the solution is also used in other departments such as marketing, sales, support and HR. It works great for customer journey maps too: Trello makes it much easier for teams to work together organising, prioritising and creating detailed maps. Users can add comments or attachments to ‘cards’ (which represent tasks). Trello integrates with a number of online applications including JIRA Cloud, Bitbucket Cloud, Google Drive, GitHub and Slack.
Jive is a leading collaboration software that connects team members, upper management personnel, and other relevant parties in the corporate environment. It has lots of advanced features and capabilities, all aimed to help businesses achieve strategic alignment and improve productivity for employees and teams. In terms of customer journey maps, it enables users to identify major influencers as well as track various trends and optimise engagement online. Users can also track every stage of the customer lifecycle.
Slack is a well-known and powerful team messaging app and project collaboration software. It offers private and public channels that facilitate conversation and interaction, across organisations as well as between small teams (internally). Messages, notifications, files and projects can be archived for later review or search. A great tool for tightening organisational efficiency!
Evernote is a note-taking application that is ideal for companies who want to capture ideas, draw up to-do lists and list and prioritise project tasks. All notes and files are available to users from anywhere on any device. Users can also easily search for files within the platform so you’ll never lose track an important document.
Asana is a project and task management app that facilitates team communication and collaboration. Users can also use this tool to create customer journey maps and enable teams to track them collaboratively from beginning to end. It is possible to add team members to projects and tasks, share files and communicate with them. As soon as a change is made or a task is assigned, users will receive notifications in their inbox which invite them check, follow, like, or comment the update. Users can also be mentioned in task comments to keep them in the loop.
Get your Marketing Technology Stack in order
While this list obviously doesn’t cover all of the tools out there (as there are thousands and thousands of tools available to you), it’s certainly a good start. It’s also important to point out that there are many more marketing technology categories to look into for your marketing technology stack such as SEO tools, Advertising tools, Content Management sofware (be sure to check out Venngage’s Template library), Customer Data tools, and so on. The categories we have listed, however are believed to be some of the best tool types to start off with…
Good luck in your search!
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