How To Audit Your MarTech Stack: A Clear Guide

Learn about the 5 essential steps for conducting a successful MarTech audit

How To Audit Your MarTech Stack: A Clear Guide
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Whether you’re a marketing operations professional, a senior leader in marketing or sales, or a digital consultant, chances are you’ve heard about the importance and challenges of running marketing technology (or ‘MarTech’) audits.
You may have even been asked to conduct one yourself. But what is a MarTech audit? And why should you care?
In this post, I’ll answer the main questions about auditing and planning your marketing technology stack, as well as a simple five-step guide to help you with your own MarTech assessment.
Let’s dive in 👇

What is a MarTech audit?

A MarTech audit is an assessment of your current digital marketing tools, applications and technologies. It’s an opportunity to understand what tools you have in place, how they work together and where you may need to upgrade or add new systems based on your organisational goals and requirements.

Why are marketing tech audits important?

Companies have been using technology and SaaS tools to enhance their marketing strategies for years. Today, these tools and platforms have become an essential part of any successful marketing strategy. Now every company wants to build a MarTech stack that works for them, but goals and objectives shift over time. Sometimes companies don’t even have the time or expertise required to plan an efficient MarTech stack in the first place!
That’s where marketing technology assessments come in: The goal of a MarTech audit is to determine if your current setup is working for you.

What are the benefits of a MarTech stack audit?

A MarTech stack audit can help you optimize your stack for operational performance and financial efficiency.
Once you have an understanding of the current state of your marketing stack, you can start strategizing how to move forward with it and make better informed decisions with more information about what works and what doesn’t.
The main benefits of a MarTech stack audit are:
  1. Identifying gaps in your current stack.
  1. Gaining insight into where you should invest your resources.
  1. Avoiding vendor lock-in by knowing what's out there and what's possible.
  1. Getting input from around the organisation on how to improve your existing stack.
  1. Setting up an annual roadmap that keeps you aligned with industry trends and internal goals.

How often should a MarTech audit be conducted?

It is recommended that companies audit their marketing technology stack at least once a year, or whenever there is a significant change in their marketing organization. For instance, a good time to consider conducting a MarTech audit is after making changes to your sales or marketing strategy to ensure the stack is still supporting your goals.

Who conducts a marketing technology audit?

Generally, the audit lead role tends to fall within the marketing operations function, as this team is familiar with all aspects of marketing technology and able to understand the different moving pieces. But who audits the MarTech stack normally depends on the size and type of organisation.
For instance, if your company has a small marketing team, then it can be conducted by a single individual in the marketing department. However, if you have a large marketing and sales team with multiple functions (e.g. marketing operations, product marketing, copy & design, pre-sales, sales…), then it may require several individuals to conduct the audit.
Having different stakeholders from around the organisation, including senior management, can also ensure that all aspects of the business are covered during the audit process and any gaps identified can be addressed accordingly.

What are the components of a MarTech audit?

A MarTech audit involves looking at each tool individually and also comparing them against each other. This allows you to see where there are gaps in your stack and determine if there are any opportunities to consolidate services or remove unnecessary ones altogether.
A good MarTech audit will include:
  • An inventory of all the tools. Listing the systems you use in your marketing and sales processes, including their strengths and weaknesses. The goal is to make sure that every tool you use is actually helping you achieve your business goals.
  • A clear definition of what success looks like for each tool. For example, if you're using a CRM platform that doesn't integrate well with your website, then it's not a good sign of success. In this case, you'd want to find a new CRM that integrates better with your CMS so that it becomes easier for customers to interact with your company online after they've filled out a lead form on your website.
  • Owners and users: Who uses each system and who’s responsible for each tool is key to understanding tech adoption and inefficiencies around your MarTech investment. Your assessment should include a full list of who has access to what (including internal users and external parties, like agencies) and how often each system is being used (e.g. daily, weekly, quarterly).
  • How everything comes together: With the average enterprise using 120 marketing MarTech tools, marketing technology setups can get very complex. That’s why it’s important to make it easier for your team to understand what technologies are being used and how they fit together. While marketers have been using spreadsheets to document their stack stack for quite a long time, Martech diagrams are a much better way of visualising elements, connections and dependencies. Here’s an example stack visualisation generated with Martechbase’s drag-and-drop diagram builder.
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How to audit your MarTech stack in 5 simple steps

Now we’ve answered the main questions around the importance of marketing technology audits, let’s get down to the specifics of how you actually run a MarTech stack assessment.

Step 1: Always start with goals

It’s not unusual for some companies to invest in technology without fully understanding their goals and requirements. This can lead to a MarTech stack that is bloated and ineffective. By understanding your organisation’s goals and tech requirements, you can ensure that the stack is lean and fit for purpose.
Talking to colleagues in multiple departments; from Marketing but also Sales and even IT and Finance can help you get the full picture. Stakeholders should be involved in this process because they're the ones with knowledge of what needs to be accomplished.

Step 2: Define what’s in place first

After taking inventory of all the tools, applications, and technologies you currently use for marketing purposes, assess how well these different systems work together. Are they integrated or do they operate independently of one another? This will give you a good sense of what you have to work with and where there may be gaps.

Step 3: Identify gaps in the stack

This will help you determine where you may need to upgrade or add new systems. For example, maybe there is one particular platform that doesn’t work as well as it should and needs replacing or updating. Or perhaps there are two platforms that do similar things but one is much cheaper than the other — so perhaps it would be better to use this less expensive option instead?
Another way that a MarTech audit can help is by letting you know when certain tools aren’t working well together — for example, if you have multiple email marketing providers but they don’t integrate properly with each other (which means one could potentially spam subscribers from another provider).

Step 4: Map out learnings and insights

The key questions you need to answer when conducting a MarTech Audit include: What platforms do you use? Is there anything missing? Is there anything redundant? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each platform? Which channels do you use most often? Do they align with your marketing objectives? How much are you spending on each platform? How much ROI do these platforms generate?

Step 5: Plan your MarTech roadmap and review it often

Finally, don't forget to periodically review and update your MarTech stack based on your long-term goals and requirements. As your needs change and new technologies become available, you'll want to make sure your stack is always up to date.

What issues can be uncovered during a MarTech audit?

Here are some common issues that can be uncovered during a marketing technology stack audit:
  • You’re not using the right tools for the job. If you’re not sure about what success looks like for your team, it can be difficult to find and implement the right technologies. That's why it's important to audit your MarTech stack regularly, to make sure the tech stack is fully aligned with the vision.
  • Lack of integration across systems and channels. According to Chiefmartec, ‘Integration is by far the most important criteria when selecting MarTech’. When your systems don’t talk to each other, it get’s harder to maintain a holistic view of the MarTech stack and the purpose of each tool. For instance, this can result in lost leads and opportunities due to poor coordination between platforms and inaccurate reporting.
  • Unclear ownership of the stack. The marketing team is the hub of your organization. It's a team that touches every other department. But from a technology perspective, it can mean that ownership of the stack might be shared between people across multiple teams. Defining clear ownership of each system will help you avoid process inefficiencies like missing billing cycles and renewals and capabilities overlap between tools.

How to manage and maintain a MarTech stack.

Managing a good MarTech setup is not just about having a good set of tools. The most important thing you can do to manage your MarTech stack is to have a documented process that everyone can access. That way, you can answer questions quickly and maintain good visibility for your stakeholders. For instance, this is a simple stack summary created on Martechbase:
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This is also an excellent time to introduce some form of governance or oversight over your MarTech stack. This can be as simple as having a person or team in charge of managing the budget for all software purchases, or full-blown governance with a committee and regular meetings.
If you don't already have a policy in place that outlines what types of software purchases require approval, now is the time to create one. This will help ensure that all purchases are being made with appropriate oversight and that no one person has too much control over the decision making process.
In addition to outlining how decisions are made around new purchases, this policy should also outline how legacy systems are maintained and upgraded. For example, if your website uses WordPress for content management and it's due for an upgrade, are there guidelines on who gets access to make those changes? Is there a process in place for testing new versions before they're deployed?


Let’s recap the main best practices on how to audit your MarTech stack:
  • A MarTech audit is the process of evaluating your current marketing technology stack, identifying gaps and opportunities for improvement, and determining how to move forward.
  • MarTech stacks are complex, so before embarking on an audit, it's important to establish a clear scope and methodology.
  • The first step in any audit process is to determine what you want to achieve. Once you have established this, you can then decide which tools will be most effective in helping you achieve these objectives.
  • When auditing your MarTech stack it is important that you take into consideration the following factors: What are your objectives? What do you want from your technology? What are the current capabilities within your business? What skills do people have within the company? What kind of budget do you have?
  • The MarTech Stack is constantly evolving. As new technologies emerge, it’s important to understand what you have in place and whether it's still relevant. The best way to do this is by auditing your stack regularly.

Written by

Agustín Rejón
Agustín Rejón

Agu Rejón is the Founder of Martechbase. He has worked in B2B Marketing Operations and Performance Marketing for more than 10 years and is fascinated by the role of technology in marketing and sales.