To bring your digital marketing vision to life these days, you have to be able to juggle all kinds of different tools. Together, these tools give your company a direction, a flavour – and the ultimate goal is for the elements you choose to come together to form a flavour that’s all your own.
For fans of Pringles, think of the world of possibilities that opens up when you combine flavours…
Essentially, it’s the combination of these flavours (or marketing tools) that dictates the final flavour of your marketing stack, also referred to as the Martech Stack for Marketing Technology Stack. Most companies’ stacks include:
After a comparative analysis of several tools, you’ve chosen the ones that will best help you reach your goals. But after a few months, you notice a tiny detail: The audiences you’re using for media campaigns are different from the ones you’re using for your email campaigns. On the surface, there’s no problem. But wait until you try to orchestrate a multi-channel campaign, then analyze your results. You might be in for a surprise.
This type of problem, which, incidentally, is quite common, usually stems from two issues. First of all, we often see a lack of strategy behind the data, the result of which is that too much focus is put on the container (marketing tools) and not enough on the content (the data itself).
Moreover, the design of the marketing stack is often poorly thought out. To draw a sports analogy, it’s more valuable to have a strong team ethos than a series of MVP individuals.
Given this, choosing marketing tools by comparing their functionalities is probably not the best way to achieve your goals. Think about the functionalities you attributed value to while you were conducting your comparative analysis of marketing tools. Do you actually use all the functionalities you evaluated in your Excel spreadsheet? Probably not.
To put together an effective stack, there are several considerations to take into account. Here’s an exercise that might be complex to carry out, but will be worth its weight in gold. In the interest of simplicity, I would recommend considering the following three points when you are building your marketing stack.
When you start thinking about a marketing stack, the first thing you need to do is get your least mobile pawns into position. Those are your anchor points, as I like to call them. These tools are distinguished by the role they play in the company, whether from a technological, human or organizational perspective. It can be hard to define your anchor points because even if you’d consider a particular tool to be highly useful, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an anchor point. In general, you need to look at three categories of tools to find them.
The CRM is a tool that’s generally deeply anchored in an organization’s processes. In addition to being a frequent source of truths about your customers, your CRM is the perfect tool for centralizing your sales information. If you don’t have a CRM yet, your marketing stack design just got a whole lot easier.
Your website or mobile application are part of the second family of tools that could be positioned as anchor points. This isn’t always the case, but in an e-commerce context for example, your decision to use Magento, Shopify or Salesforce Commerce Cloud would bring with it very different considerations.
Finally, you need an orchestrator to make all your tools work together coherently. Often referred to as a CDP (Customer Data Platform), your orchestrator needs to integrate with the rest of your marketing tools. As a result, we like to put the orchestrator in the centre, and build around it.
We can’t say it too many times: the idea behind the design of you marketing stack is to ensure that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In this context, a tool’s specific functionalities should be considered only after you’ve assessed its ability to integrate with your other tools. Because you’ve identified your team captains (your anchor points represent your captain and assistant captains), you are now in a position to evaluate the components of your stack that align best with your anchor points. If two tools integrate with your anchor points in the same way, that’s when you should start looking at their specific functionalities.
To make sure your team is successful, another important element is to clearly delineate the roles of each tool. Because companies that sell marketing platforms tend to add new capabilities all the time, it’s not uncommon to see two components stepping on each other’s toes. I would be willing to bet you have several tools that allow you to send email to your users. It’s not uncommon to see email sent from e-commerce tools (order information, for example) as well as from traditional email tools (for the newsletter, for example).
In short, it’s important to define roles and use cases whenever there is overlap in functionality. Don’t assume that roles should be centralized at any cost. It’s common and completely fine for marketing emails to come from your automation tool, and transactional emails directly from your CMS.
The last point to consider, but not the least, is the way in which you identify your users across your different platforms. Each one recognizes users with an identifier all its own, but when the time comes to combine multiple platforms, you’ll need to use a neutral and unique identifier that will allow you to recognize each user more generally. This identifier is what will allow the data to navigate between your different marketing platforms to bring your omnichannel vision to life.
It’s important to give some real thought to the way you plan to identify your users, because each one needs to be unique, robust and persistent. So, forget email addresses. (We could devote an entire article to the subject of unique identifiers, but for the sake of this post, the important thing to retain is that it’s a key concept that needs to flow 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.
Need help to deploy or optimize your marketing stack? Our team would be happy to help!