How do you manage to connect all your marketing tools together, in a coherent way? This article will give you food for thought to finally work with an optimized marketing stack.
WHAT IS A MARKETING STACK?
To realize your vision in digital marketing, it has now become essential to know how to juggle with tools of all kinds. All of these tools will give direction and flavor to your business. The ultimate goal is that the combination of all these elements gives it a unique taste!
For Pringles lovers, think of all the possibilities available to you by combining several flavors…
In short, it is the combination of these flavors (or these marketing tools) that gives the final taste to your marketing stack , also called martech stack for Marketing Technology Stack . The stack of the majority of companies generally includes:
An email management tool to communicate with its customers;
An analytical tool to understand the behavior of users of their site;
A tool to manage digital media campaigns.
CHOOSING YOUR TOOLS
After the comparative analysis of a few tools, you have chosen those that will best allow you to achieve your objectives. But after a few months, you notice a trivial detail: the audiences you use in the media are not the same as those you use in your email tools. On the surface, no problem. But wait until you orchestrate a multi-channel campaign and analyze it. You are likely to have surprises.
This kind of problem, by the way very common, generally comes from two issues. First of all, we often notice a lack of strategy behind the data , which has the impact of too much concentration on the container (the marketing tools) to the detriment of the content (the data themselves).
In addition, there is frequently a lack of thought in the design of the marketing stack . To draw a sports analogy, the most important thing is to have a strong team concept rather than a series of lone star players .
In this context, selecting your marketing tools by comparing their features is probably not the best way to achieve your goals. Think about the features you valued during your marketing tool benchmarks. Are you using all the features you evaluated in your Excel spreadsheets? Probably not.
HOW TO BUILD A MARKETING STACK
To put together a successful stack , there are several considerations to take into account. Here is an exercise that may be more complex to perform, but which is definitely worth the effort. For the sake of simplicity, I offer three big points to consider when building your marketing stack .
Define your anchor points;
Create synergy with your marketing tools;
Have a unique identifier.
1. DEFINE YOUR ANCHOR POINTS
When you start thinking about a marketing stack , you must first position your less mobile pawns. This is what I call anchor points. These tools are distinguished by the role they play in a company, either from a technological, human or organizational point of view. It can be difficult to define its anchor points because even if a tool is highly relevant to you , it does not mean that it is an anchor point. In general, you will have to consider three categories of tools to find them.
CRM is a tool that is usually deeply rooted in an organization's processes. In addition to often representing a source of customer truth, the CRM is a perfect tool to centralize your sales information. If you don't have a CRM yet, your marketing stack design suddenly just got easier.
Your website or mobile application makes up the second family of tools that can be positioned as an anchor point. This is not necessarily the case, but in an e-commerce context, for example, using Magento, Shopify or Salesforce Commerce Cloud will lead to different considerations.
Eventually, you'll need an orchestrator to make all your tools work cohesively. Often referred to as CDP ( Customer Data Platform ), your orchestrator will need to integrate with the rest of your marketing tools. We will then want to put the orchestrator in the center and build around it.
We probably can't repeat it enough: the idea behind the design of your marketing stack is to make sure that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts . In this context, a tool's specific functionality should come second to its ability to integrate with your other tools. Since you now know the captains of your team (the anchor points represent your captain and your assistant captains), you will be able to assess which components of your stack best align with your anchor points. If two tools integrate the same way with your hooks, that's when the specific features should be compared.
Another element to consider in the team concept is to clearly draw the line between the roles of each tool . Since companies offering marketing platforms tend to add new capabilities, it is not uncommon to see two components stepping on each other. Don't you have several tools that allow you to send emails to your users? It is not uncommon to see emails sent from e-commerce tools (order tracking, for example) as well as traditional email tools (for the newsletter, for example.)
In short, it is important to define the roles and contexts of use when there is an overlap in capabilities. Do not assume that roles must be centralized at all costs. It is common and completely acceptable for your marketing emails to come from your automation tool, but for your transactional emails to come directly from your CMS.
3. HAVE A UNIQUE IDENTIFIER
Last, but not least, is how you will identify your users across your different platforms. Each will recognize users with an identifier of their own, but when the time comes to pair several platforms, it will be necessary to use a unique neutral identifier that will make it possible to recognize a user in general. This identifier is what will allow data to navigate between your different marketing platforms to achieve your omnichannel vision.
It is important to think carefully about how you will identify your users, as each identifier must be unique, robust and persistent. So, forget the email addresses. (We could dedicate an entire article to the subject of unique identifiers, but for the sake of this publication, let's emphasize that this is a key concept that should emanate from your data strategy.)
In the end, a marketing stack can be composed of tools from one or more vendors, as long as these tools respond to your business needs. Regardless of which approach you use, it’s essential to identify your anchor points, ensure that you have technological synergy and reflect on the method you’ll use to generate unique identifiers. Then, your ability to understand your organization’s strengths and weaknesses and align them with your marketing stack will dictate your ability to carry out successful omnichannel campaigns.