2023 has been heralded as the year that AI technologies will overtake traditional software in the CMO’s budget and digital marketing spending is expected to reach $146 billion. With these and many other similar trends in the horizon, if your company hasn't adopted the right process for researching, adopting and managing the right technologies to support Marketing & Sales, you're already playing catch-up.
In this post, I'll walk you through the basics of MarTech as a discipline, its role in today’s modern marketing organisation and how to build a marketing tech stack for the longer run.
What is MarTech?
Marketing technology, or MarTech, refers to the tools and software that marketers use to automate and measure their marketing activities. This can include everything from email marketing platforms to social media management tools to customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
The term ‘MarTech’ has taken on a life of its own and been popularized by Scott Brinker; the Godfather of Marketing Tech, author of the ChiefMartec blog and VP of Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot, who tirelessly produces the Marketing Technology Landscape Infographic every year.
Martechbase was actually born out of the idea of translating this vast ecosystem of tools and systems into a searchable online database.
What is a MarTech stack?
A MarTech Stack is a collection of marketing technology tools that are used to support marketing (and often sales) activities. An effective stack will help you automate repetitive marketing tasks, measure performance, and track results. It can also help you better understand your customers and target market but analysing the footprint that your prospects leave as they engage with your marketing programs.
What does a MarTech manager do?
A MarTech manager is responsible for overseeing and implementing an organization's marketing technology strategy. This includes selecting, implementing, and maintaining marketing tools and platforms, as well as integrating these technologies with other systems.
The role of a MarTech manager is becoming increasingly important as the use of technology in marketing continues to grow and evolve. In addition to selecting and implementing marketing technologies, a MarTech manager is also responsible for managing budgets, tracking performance, and providing training and support to team members.
How can technology enhance marketing?
Marketing Technology Management is the process of selecting, implementing, and managing the tools in a MarTech stack. Marketing Technology Management focuses on how to make marketing systems operate efficiently to support the company's goals, especially from a marketing and sales perspective.
As the world of marketing evolves, so must the tools and technologies that marketers use to reach their audiences. In order to stay ahead of the curve when building your MarTech stack, marketers need to be aware of emerging trends in the intersection between marketing and tech.
What will be the top 5 MarTech trends of 2023?
The continued rise of AI and machine learning.
The growing importance of customer data.
The need for omnichannel marketing.
The increasing popularity of voice search.
The rise of visual search.
How to build a marketing tech stack in 2023
As marketing technology becomes more accessible to us marketers but also more and more complex, it can be difficult to know where to start when building your stack. However, by following a few simple guidelines, you can create a setup that will serve your needs well into the future.
Define your marketing goals and objectives.
What do you want to achieve with your marketing? This will help you determine which tools you need to include in your stack. These are some common objectives for marketing teams. Do any of these resonate with you?
Generating leads and sales
Increasing brand awareness and reach
Improving customer engagement and loyalty
Developing targeted marketing campaigns
Each of these goals requires different combinations of tools to support them. For example, if you're focused on generating leads, you'll need tools that help with lead capture and nurturing. If you're looking to improve customer engagement, you might invest in customer relationship management (CRM) software or a tool like Drift that helps with live chat and sequences.
Understand the needs of your own business.
What works for others might not work for you. That’s why you need to make your requirements unique to your own business. Consider the different channels that you need to reach your prospects based on your ideal customer profile. Where does your audience hang out? This might include social channels, online forums, industry publications and more. Then, determine which tools you need to activate each of these channels. This might include an email marketing platform, a social media management tool, and a paid advertising platform.
Audit the current MarTech stack.
With a clear understanding of what you need to achieve, the next step is to understand your current capabilities. Conducting a MarTech audit is an essential way to understand the current tech stack, fill any gaps and plan for the future. I recently covered ‘the 5 essential steps for conducting a successful MarTech audit’ in another post, so head over here for all the details on this step.
Consider your marketing tech budget.
Marketing technology accounted for 26.6% of marketing budgets in 2021. So building your MarTech stack might require a significant financial investment.
When it comes to budgeting for your MarTech stack, start by evaluating your current marketing spend. MarTech management tools like Martechbase make it dead-easy to analyse your total spend and how that breaks down by tool and category (see how here →).
Then, determine how much you can afford to invest in new technology, as a percentage of your total marketing budget. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to allocate around 10-15% of your total marketing budget to new technology. This will ensure that you have enough resources to support your stack and keep it running smoothly.
Research the tools for your MarTech stack.
Once you have a budget in place, it's time to start shopping for the right tools.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you evaluate different options. For instance, make sure the tool integrates with your existing systems. A high-performing MarTech stack is one that works together seamlessly. That means each tool must be able to integrate with the others in order to share data and avoid duplication of efforts (and money).
Don’t underestimate the power of having a rich, clean database! Having a strong data foundation is critical for any MarTech stack, as it will allow you to make informed decisions about your marketing efforts. Make sure to invest in a data management platform that can help you collect, clean, and analyze your data.
Next, consider your customer experience. Your MarTech stack should be designed to create a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints. Invest in tools that will help you personalize the customer journey and create a consistent brand experience.
Finally, invest in automation. Marketing Automation as a discipline has been around for a long time, but it’s never been so relevant: it can help you scale your marketing efforts and free up your team to focus on other tasks (these things never go out of fashion). Look for marketing automation tools that can help you with things like email marketing, lead generation, and campaign management. Platforms like HubSpot rank high for Martechbase users.
As companies accelerate their digital transformation plans to meet consumer and industry needs, marketing technology will become even more important in the year to come. By making sure you have the right strategy for selecting and maintaining your marketing tech stack, you’ll be effectively supporting the growth of your marketing and sales organisation.
A good MarTech stack is one that is thoughtfully planned according to the goals of your organisation and that takes into account both your budget and your own customers’ needs. Use these as guidance to research and select the right tools and build a MarTech stack that will help your business stay ahead of the competition in 2023.