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    Not too hot, not too cold: How to build the perfect martech stack

    Not too hot, not too cold: How to build the perfect martech stack

    “This bowl of porridge is too hot, this one is too cold, but this one is just right!” This famous fairy tale starring Goldilocks searching for the perfect bowl of porridge is remarkably similar to assembling the perfect martech stack for your organization. With more than 14,000 martech options available to industry professionals, it’s not surprising marketing leaders are struggling with the Goldilocks principle.

    Are you trying to find that “just right” solution to create the perfect martech stack? Sorry, Goldilocks, but what is “just right” for one marketing department might be “too hot” or “too cold” for another. Here are a few ways to find your “just right.”

    Define the goals of your marketing and what success looks like  

    Is your primary focus on increasing leads, growing brand awareness or creating customer loyalty? It’s important to have a clear vision of what you’re chasing so that you can properly align tools to support the journey. 

    Next, how will you determine success? I find it best to set quarterly goals around two or three KPIs that impact revenue and account for adoption.

    Dig deeper: A practical guide to building a marketing technology stack

    Identify areas for quick wins

    It can take years to see the full impact and ROI benefits of many martech tools. While this is expected, I recommend looking for low-hanging fruit that can show immediate results and help move the needle forward to accomplish your business goals. 

    Finding the right balance of quick wins and slow burners will be your key to success. For instance, if your company has a sales department that sends hundreds of emails daily, try an e-signature banner platform that could drive an immediate increase in traffic to the website, creating an uptick in leads.

    Look for tools that achieve multiple objectives simultaneously

    Everyone loves a good “get two for the price of one” special, so keep this principle in mind when exploring martech solutions. Look for tools that will help you obtain two or more benefits or outcomes while expending the effort or resources equivalent to achieving only one. 

    Instead of using separate tools for each function within your social media strategy (social listening, content scheduling, reporting, etc.), identify tools that offer these capabilities within one platform or span multiple channels. Working smarter, not harder, is always a win for me!

    Dig deeper: The CMO’s guide to aligning martech and business strategy

    Prioritize scalability and flexibility

    Ensuring your martech stack enables your organization to grow, adapt, innovate and succeed in an ever-changing digital landscape is critical. Over the years, when adding tools to my marketing departments, I always run through a basic checklist to confirm scalability and flexibility: 

    • How will this tool accommodate growth as our business expands? When implementing a new tool, avoid going from zero to 60 out of the gate by purchasing all the bells and whistles and product add-ons. Start small, purchasing limited product/functionality with the idea that you can expand to support the business as needed. 
    • Does the contract allow for additional licenses and/or products to be purchased as the business ebbs and flows? I’ve been burned by this before, so I always take time to review the fine print.
    • Does this tool/platform allow easy integration via APIs? Make sure to understand how any new tools you’re exploring will “talk” to the ones already in place. Most martech tools should easily integrate with your existing stack with little development work needed.
    • How will this tool continually evolve to address new challenges within the industry? The martech landscape constantly evolves, with new technologies and innovations emerging regularly. Before signing any contracts, inquire about product roadmaps, the use of AI, machine learning (ML) and automation. Speaking of contracts, I rarely sign for more than one year at a time for this reason.

    Create an ABT (‘always be testing’) environment

    With the martech landscape evolving daily, it’s vital to stay abreast of new platforms and tools entering the space. I like to earmark approximately 15% of my martech budget specifically for exploring and testing emerging technologies. New-to-the-market platforms often offer three or six-month product trials at a reduced cost, hoping to show immediate ROI and value. 

    My team members regularly research new products, participate in demos and bring select “winners” to my attention. We then determine which tools make sense for testing based on criteria such as ease of implementation, impact to drive revenue, benefits without full integration, cost, etc. Having a budget set aside that supports this approach is critical to staying ahead of the competition.

    Understand the importance of stakeholder buy-in and adoption

    Achieving successful adoption among users within your organization is crucial for maximizing the value and ROI of your martech investments. After years of implementing martech tools (some successful, some “meh” and some that just completely flopped), I can say one thing with confidence: You will not have success without stakeholder alignment and support. This takes time and effort. Do not try to cut corners here because you will likely fail. 

    Meet with important stakeholders individually, highlighting specific business challenges. Use cases unique to their departments and explain how this tool can provide solutions and drive revenue. Involve stakeholders in shared goal-setting and defining KPIs for success so there is combined skin in the game. 

    And then, there is training. To achieve optimal adoption, it’s important to remember that training isn’t just a one-time occurrence. Consider setting up weekly/monthly “office hours” for users to call in with questions and real-time screen sharing. Create a cadence for emailing tips and tricks and cascading product updates and enhancements.

    Just like Goldilocks searching for the ideal porridge, marketing leaders must navigate various martech solutions to find the right fit. By integrating these principles into your evaluation and implementation process, your organization can create a Goldilocks-worthy martech stack that delivers tangible business outcomes and stays ahead of the curve in today’s dynamic marketing landscape.

    Dig deeper: How strategic martech integration drives business growth 


    The post Not too hot, not too cold: How to build the perfect martech stack appeared first on MarTech.

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