In the current landscape, marketers are rich with choice when it comes to building a tech stack. There are so many tools that play a role in the day-to-day of any marketing team that you may find yourself jumping from platform to platform, or signing up for tools you never use again.
Consolidating your marketing stack will streamline your day-to-day, while delivering real business impact. We will take you through the process of how best to start consolidating your marketing stack.
The market is ripe with tools. You only need to visit the Martech map database and explore the 8,000 plus companies within the marketing technology landscape to get a sense of just how much choice marketers have.
With so many tools at our fingertips, it can be easy to find yourself spending more time and money than necessary. Consolidating your business-critical platforms will bring the following benefits:
Costs savings - It’s simple. The more tools you have, the higher the cost.
Eliminates data silos - When each discipline of marketing uses their own set of tools, it creates data silos. By unifying all tools, you will breed a far more collaborative culture where each team member is working from the same dataset.
Saves time - Experience the convenience and efficiency from running and maintaining your tools from a central hub.
More secure when data is in less places - Data breaches or leaks can happen, even with the most extensive security measures in place. By reducing the number of tools used by your team, you are also decreasing the risk.
Simplicity - The fewer tools you have, the less training and onboarding needed for new starters. Also having a multitude of tools means multiple admins are needed, which can be an issue if those employees leave.
This step requires the help of all relevant stakeholders across the marketing department. You need to map out how the team/s are structured and to find out exactly which tools (categories) are needed to get their job done. This will give you a foundation to work with.
The second goal in this step is to analyze the current marketing channels and campaigns to see what is working, what needs improvement (maybe a new martech tool could help), and what needs to be removed.
Now it’s time to detail the tools currently used and take recommendations from your team if they know of a better tool (if needed).
To make this step easier, keep track of the tools you're using along with the top three features of use cases that make them business critical to the team. Once all this information has been collected, then it’s time to evaluate.
Take a look at any functional overlap, value of the product, look for the tools that are overly time-consuming or complicated, ensure that the tools you keep can actually work together and are easily integratable. Also, use this auditing opportunity to explore any holes or redundancies that may exist.
This step should not be rushed, there are many values to consider. To get a head start, please feel welcome to use our audit template.
If you audit today, you may be surprised by how long your tools list is. Companies make it extremely easy to sign up for tools that are perfect for the quick fix you need now. Plus, if different factions of your marketing team have independent budgets, you may find out that there is duplication. No matter the case, technology is always changing and evolving, so by running an audit at least twice a year you can remain ahead of the curve.
By identifying and auditing the tools currently used by the team, you are a step closer to consolidating and avoiding wasting capital, time and resources on unnecessary or repetitive tools.
You now have an understanding of what tools you’re currently using or subscribing to, along with the cost, total features and a numerical or star system that outlines how important they are to your business and team.
Now it's time to think about what your business critical tech needs are in order for your team to thrive. Every business will be different however a common martech stack would comprise of the following:
CDP - Ortto, Tealium, Segment
Customer service / support tools - Zendesk, HelpScout, Drift
Subscription or payment - Recurly, Stripe, Chargebee
Content management system (CMS) - Webflow, Contentful, Wordpress
Marketing automation - Ortto, Appcues, Zapier
Social media scheduling and monitoring tool - SkedSocial, Loomly, Hootsuite
BI Analytics tools - Ortto, Google Analytics, Segment
Customer relationship management (CRM) - Pipedrive, Salesforce, Microsoft dynamics
SEO tools - Descript, SEMRush, Google Search Console
Other tools that may be more specific to the needs of your organization can include:
Employee engagement tools - Motivosity, Culture Amp, Pingboard
Live chat or chatbot software - Zendesk, Intercom, Drift
Webinar tools - Livestorm, Hopin
Conversion optimization tools - Hotjar, Unbounce, Optimizely
Project and resource management tools - Asana, Mosaic, Trello
Creative and design tools - Canva, Figma, Adobe Photoshop
By now you might have a few potential variations of your martech stack that you are assessing based on cost, ease of use, reviews, and recommendations. Now it’s time to consider how the various tools will integrate.
Let's say you are using Salesforce as your CRM, but you do not want to use Marketing Cloud for your marketing automation and analytics because the learning curve is too steep. When assessing alternative options, look for platforms that will integrate with Salesforce and other tools in your tech stack (e.g. HelpScout or Recurly) easily.
This step is crucial as it will ensure your tech stack, and therefore your teams, can work together. In the case of a solution like Ortto, which offers a CDP, marketing automation and analytics, you will also benefit from getting a central source of truth.
There are a few things to keep in mind before making changes to your tech stack. You need a plan how this will be rolled out as it’s not in the company’s or team’s best interest to suddenly introduce multiple new tools at once. Proactively manage change by accounting for:
Time required for training and onboarding on new tools
Contract negotiations on new tools
Contract end dates on tools you want to remove
For tools you’re removing and swapping out, prioritize those with a contract ending soon. For tools you're adding, prioritize those that will make the biggest difference to your business and those with smaller learning curves. Be realistic about how many new tools you and your team can learn at once.
Once implemented it’s also imperative to test for gaps in your stack as you may have culled too many tools during your audit. Or a tool you thought had a functional overlay actually turned out to be far more superior in functionality. A part of the testing is ensuring that the correct and most up-to-date information is being used. For example your CRM is using the most recent customer information in your email marketing.
Consolidating your martech stack is a step closer to creating a cohesive and data-driven experience for your customers. It’s not about having the highest number of tools, but ensuring they work together so your stack is smarter, more streamlined, using real-time shared data to empower your team to drive business impact.
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