Is your marketing tech stack actually helping your company grow?

It’s no secret that businesses today rely on a ton of different tools to reach their target audience.

But consider that the average company juggles hundreds of apps at a time and is constantly churning through software.

This phenomenon results in wasted time for your team, not to mention little to no sense of cohesion between your marketing tools.

Listen: a strong martech stack empowers your team to work smarter while also speeding up the process of acquiring, nurturing and converting customers. This guide breaks down how to build your stack from scratch.

What is a marketing tech stack, anyway?

A marketing tech stack represents the collection of tools and software that encompass the marketing side of your business, including:

  • Advertising tools (think: lead capture forms, social media, email automation)
  • Customer data and analytics (think: CRM, Google Analytics)
  • Internal communication and collaboration tools (think: project management tools, Slack)

The concept of a “stack” illustrates how the software above should seamlessly work together (and not be siloed). The good news is that most major marketing tools boast native integrations or can be connected via apps like Zapier.

The sample workflow below from Typeform highlights how a marketing tech stack can streamline your processes.

zapier connects the tools in your marketing tech stack

For example, teams can easily integrate online form entries with their CRM, help desk software and project management app in just a couple of clicks. See how that works?

Why your marketing technology stack matters so much

Not to be dramatic, but the apps you choose are often make-or-break for your business.

And if you’ve chosen tools on the fly or are winging it with free trials, we totally get it.

That said, it’s important to put your marketing tech stack under the microscope and not default to certain tools “just because.” Let’s look at some key benefits of aligning your software below.

Instantly increase your scalability and growth

This is the big one. Through integrations and automation, you can streamline the processes of customer acquisition and retention.

Think about what happens when a lead reaches out to your business or a customer has a pressing concern. How quickly is your team notified? Is the outreach process consistent or something you’re forced to freestyle?

With the right marketing tech stack, you can put these processes on autopilot and make them more efficient. This makes it easier to scale.

Save serious time (and stress) on behalf of your team

Simply put, marketing software can automate tedious tasks and eliminate time-wasters from your team’s schedule.

Food for thought: a CRM can save a sales team ~14 hours per week on manual data entry. When you have a tool like a CRM that can log interactions and schedule follow-ups automatically, you allow your team to focus on more pressing tasks like actually talking to customers.

The same time-saving benefits of a CRM apply to all of the tools in your marketing tech stack as they work together. In short, your combo of apps should boost employee engagement and make everyone’s lives easier.

Give your company a competitive advantage

Martech is a huge factor for standing out against the competition.

If your closest competitor’s tech stack produces more comprehensive lead data or a faster response time when handling customers, it’s a sign that you need to step it up.

Every marketing stack is totally different, though. What works for a startup versus an enterprise is apples and oranges: what matters is putting together a software combination that makes sense for your business.

What’s the foundation of a strong martech stack?

Chances are you’ve seen the bloated Martech 5000 list, highlighting the thousands of marketing apps available to companies today.

But you obviously can’t demo everything (nor should you).

Again, you need to focus on putting together a stack that fits within your scope and budget, all the while addressing your biggest needs. Below we’ve broken down what an effective marketing tech stack looks like piece-by-piece.

Attraction and acquisition tools

For starters, you have the fundamental tools that drive people to your business. From content marketing to lead capture and beyond, these are the top-of-funnel tools that encompass the following:

  • Advertising platforms (Google, Facebook ads)
  • SEO (Ahrefs, SEMrush)
  • Email marketing and landing page tools (ActiveCampaign, Klaviyo, Mailmunch)
  • Social media (Sprout Social)

Working in tandem, these apps allow you to promote your content, increase your visibility and ultimately acquire customers. For example, Sprout helps you condense all your social feeds, content calendar and reporting in one place, increasing efficiency over logging in and out of individual native platform apps to manage these functions.

sprout social publishing calendar as part of your marketing tech stack

Customer engagement tools

At this stage, you’re concerned with managing your customer relationships and separating prospects from leads.

This is where CRM tools like HubSpot, Zoho and Pipedrive (see below) come in handy. Providing an all-in-one place to monitor and engage your list, a CRM serves as the centerpiece of your marketing tech stack.

Pipedrive CRM

Marketing analysis tools

Assessing the performance of your marketing efforts should be a top priority and something that’s done consistently.

This is where reporting tools like Google Analytics or Hotjar come into play, highlighting your top-performing content, campaigns and marketing messages. After all, you can’t figure out what’s working and what’s not until you look at the data.

google analytics

Marketing optimization tools

Piggybacking on the point above, almost nothing is “one and done” when it comes to marketing campaigns.

Continuous monitoring of metrics and performance encourages you to fine-tune your strategy over time. Optimization tools such as Unbounce (see below) and Optimizely make it a cinch to test campaigns and messaging ASAP.

unbounce optimization tool

Team communication tools

Lastly, you need tools to help you communicate campaigns, strategy and the day-to-day happenings of your business.

Internal tools like Slack, Trello and Zoom have become staples of modern workplaces, especially given the rise of remote teams.

There are also tools such as Teamwork which combine live chat and video meetings with kanban boards to consolidate internal communication.

teamwork app for task organization

5 tips and considerations for putting together your marketing stack

If you’re still overwhelmed with where to start or how to choose tools, don’t panic.

To wrap things up, let’s look at some points to consider as you begin building your martech stack.

1. Budget for free, freemium and paid tools alike

You can build a surprisingly powerful tech stack with free or freemium tools alone. This is especially true if you’re part of a smaller team.

And on that note, you should totally test the waters with free trials and demos.

Ideally, you should try to invest in tools that scale alongside your business as you grow. Tools like Sendinblue encourage users to do exactly that based on their pricing structure.

sendinblue pricing

That said, more advanced tools are absolutely worth paying for. Based on your company, you’ll simply need to assess cost versus business impact.

Note that SaaS licenses can be a huge drain on your business if you’re careless with them. The more tools in your stack, the more opportunities there are to blow out your budget.

2. Assess all-in-one solutions versus individual tools

Keep in mind that some tools are “unitaskers” that tackle a specific need versus act as all-in-one solutions that can manage multiple tasks.

As noted earlier, a tool like Teamwork can encompass your team chat, video calls and kanban boards ala Slack, Zoom and Trello, respectively.

Multitasking tools are typically pricier, although they can keep your team from bouncing between a bunch of different platforms. Additionally, sometimes it’s simply easier to roll with solutions that your company is already familiar with. The key here is to make sure you aren’t paying for redundant tools.

3. Consider integrations between your existing tools

Remember: your goal is to build a stack, not a mishmash of tools.

Again, most SaaS solutions have native or third-party integrations to encourage connectivity. Integrations ensure that your team isn’t drowning in notifications and likewise reduces needless bottlenecks.

For example, Slack integrates with tools like Asana and Google Drive to streamline collaboration and keep teammates in the loop without having to leave the platform.

integrations are crucial for a successful marketing tech stack

Before investing in any software, double-check the integrations available for the sake of saving time.

4. Assess “wants” versus “needs” when it comes to martech

Reality check: you can’t have everything when it comes to martech.

There isn’t enough time or money in the world for you to test-drive each and every tool.

For the sake of prioritizing and staying within your budget, ask yourself the following as you assess new tools for your business:

  • What are the specific outcomes of using this tool? More revenue or leads?
  • How many people organization-wide does this tool support? A select few or the whole company?
  • Is it possible to achieve [outcome] with a different or existing solution?

The questions above can help weed out impulse buys and ensure you’re sticking to solutions that’ll actually help you grow.

5. Consider the cost of onboarding

This is something that often flies under the radar when it comes to the “cost” of your marketing tech stack.

Sure, you should be concerned about dollars and cents when you invest in software.

But don’t forget about the time commitment as well.

Onboarding your team to an entirely new system can be a massive time-sink if you aren’t careful. The larger your team, the more daunting it can be to do so. Not only that, but frequently switching between apps can ultimately disrupt your workflows (not to mention your team’s productivity).

Easy onboarding is a huge selling point for marketing tools. For example, apps like Zendesk go out of their way to provide new users with countless resources to get started and actually succeed with their software.

zendesk onboarding example

And with that, we wrap up our guide!

What does your marketing tech stack look like?

From increasing scalability to standing out versus competitors, your marketing stack makes all the difference.

Choosing the right tools can be overwhelming. But once you find the right combination, you can start running your business more efficiently and increase your marketing performance at the same time.

Need help choosing between apps? We’ve got you covered.

If you haven’t already, check out our up-to-date list of the best digital marketing tools to help you grow.