The interest to “marketing stack” concept is now registering in Google Trends, though not quite extensive to generate much insight from Ubersuggest 🙂 The passion for the topic is also high – as marketers love their technology, and we most likely will develop more attachment to the topic.
Looking through webinars and articles describing different arrangement of marketing technology, I discovered a few general themes:
- There are well-defined core components for marketing stacks, though the industry did not create an established “platform,” and the components are somewhat in the flux
- Many marketing stacks place the same tool into the stack template more than once, as a specific tool can fit into different parts of the template; there is a wide variety of “templates” for the marketing stack used by organizations
- Before describing their marketing stacks, marketers often start from their teams – the marketing organization that uses the technology to achieve a specific goal – and the goal itself defines emphasis on particular parts of the stack the technology selection
In this case, the definition of the Marketing Stack could be: organization of marketing technology based on business strategy and available human resources.
If it is the case… what would be a reasonable “template” for the Marketing Stack? I would love to have a template where any organization can “plug” its existing tools and immediately see if its marketing technology matches business priorities and available resources. An attempt below tries to connect these objectives.
The template above is a guess with a touch of wishful thinking, however, it probably could create general framework to make marketing stack creation thought process a little easier.
Marketing Stack Template is organized by the general stages of the buying cycle. Some of the tools can be used throughout the buying cycle, but, typically, they have a “home” as a specific stage. Arranging the tools should visually give an idea if company’s emphasis is in the expected (or unexpected) location.
Ad platforms and research – my guess, this bucket can be used for market research, keyword research, and any advertisement technologies.
Marketing automation – as practically all b-to-b (and probably more and more b-to-c) companies either have or thinking about marketing automation, it is a good separate category. Marketing automation often lacks staffing – the bottom part of the template could show that at a glance. Tools used in conjunction with marketing automation could probably reside in the same bucket, including data cleansing tools, etc. Email analytics tools, such as Litmus, I think, should be in the Analytics bucket.
CRM – CRM could also be a “bucket” for related tools in the area of sales support. It is possible to add sales training tools, phone routing tools, etc. to the same category. Hm… would customer care tools be in a completely different bucket? Most likely…
Web Experience – this is a wast area that can include CMS, tag management, any testing tools and tools used for online experience, including mobile. However, product-related apps I would classify as part of company product, rather than marketing efforts to promote the product.
Analytics – everything from BI tools to ubiquitous Google Analytics, to click mapping tools and surveys.
Productivity – this category would include any project management software, and, my guess, Excel, as it is more of a productivity tool rather than an analytics tool, even if this is where most of data analysis is often done (at least in my experience 😉 ). I would probably place here Tebleau, but many passionate marketers might disagree 🙂
The bottom part of the Marketing Stack Template indicate three more visual points:
- Ownership (sometimes, in large organizations, a part of stack can lack clear ownership, what duplicates efforts and creates wasteful competition for resources)
- Administration – people who are responsible for the tools and have administrative rights
- Users – people who use the tools in each category
I guess, it would be possible to add the cost of the tools in each bucket to the Marketing Stack Template, but it might give a wrong impression to people without marketing knowledge – as marketing fundamentals, such as CRM and marketing automation platform, might consume more resources than dozens “nice to have” tools in other parts of the stack.
CM Insights simply published its marketing stack on their blog 🙂 CB Insights Marketing Stack.
Based on these examples of marketing stacks, and my personal experience, I made a few unexpected (for me) observations:
- Smaller companies could have a more robust marketing stacks. Ah, I love some of the tools so much!! And in many large organizations acquiring or connecting a new tool may be an insurmountable task for an enthusiastic marketer. In many cases, smaller companies also have better staffed marketing departments (as there is no point in purchasing a tool if the company does not have a knowledgeable person to use it). My guess, smaller companies will develop Marketing Stack Template that will be used in the future.
- Difference between tools that have been purchased and tools that are actually used. In many large organizations this difference is rather significant. For example, a specific package of web analytics is purchased on the corporate level, installed, and managed by IT. It may not be complete, it may not be quite configured correctly, it may not have been upgraded to the latest version, and marketers may or may not have needed level of access, and definitely do not have needed training (as training is expensive and difficult to obtain). As a result, regions and divisions add instances of free Google Analytics to do needed work of marketing. In this case, company is paying for one tool, but using the other.
- Integration and connection between marketing stack pieces. I noticed an attempt to highlight the data flow or connection between different parts of the marketing stack. Maybe, indication is not needed, as generally, almost everything can be connected, and the decision if the connection should be made is a business decision of the company. An attempt to avoid organizational silos might be all what is needed to assure that desired integration would happen organically.
- Companies that sell a particular tool, seem to consider this tool as the critical part of their Marketing Stack. I don’t think it is just promotional tactic (though this approach is also helpful for promotion of the product 😉 ). My guess, these companies understand their own tool the most and can take true advantage from its functionality. I guess, it underscores the investment into training and human capital needed to use the tools for the benefit of the business.
The future of the concept of a Marketing Stack is very promising!
A fantastic post with 21 marketing technology stacks is a treasure for marketers thinking on their own stacks. All 21 slides are included below in the presentation from the post – this is a treasure of information!