Tuesday, July 16, 2024
- Advertisement -

    Latest Posts

    You need to glue your martech stack together. Here are some of your options.

    You need to glue your martech stack together. Here are some of your options.

    Most marketers today understand that marketing is a science driven by data. Yes, creativity and innovation matter, but relying on a spark of genius at the start of each campaign is not a strategy.

    The insight data provides about audiences can be the spark that kindles the flame of creativity. Data really matters.

    The best marketing teams use data effectively to improve their campaigns, but it’s not easy. Martech vendors tend to silo their data, making it unreasonably difficult to have one seamless picture of your audience and its engagement with your marketing activities. You might say the best place to hide marketing data is in a forest of martech tools.

    The broken martech stack

    There are endless articles available about the martech stack: What products to use, which solutions are best-in-class and profiles of the choices made by leading organizations. 

    A “martech stack” sounds good. It feels like a single platform of tools that build on each other. Unfortunately, it’s more like an archipelago of islands. The tools don’t interact, and are often separated by a sea of vendor protectionism and lock-in. As a result, users must ultimately deal with data that is fragmented across multiple tools.

    Dig Deeper: What does ‘better data quality’ mean for marketers? And how do we get there?

    Breaking down the martech silos

    The solution to this data problem is breaking down the walls of the martech silos and integrating the data in a single database. This trite solution seems simple, but achieving it is much more challenging than it sounds. There is, however, an approach that will help bring your data together and deliver the insights you need to create more effective campaigns.

    Decide what matters to your marketing team

    First, decide what you want to achieve by integrating your data. This is a challenging process, so you need to prioritize. 

    Think about what’s more important: giving your sales team a view of a contact’s engagement with your marketing activities or generating attribution models to estimate ROI for each channel and activity? 

    Is it more valuable to provide a clear analysis of performance or a richer picture of your audience? 

    There’s no right answer. You get to decide what matters to you.

    Once you prioritize the outcomes, you can begin to plan how you’ll integrate the data. 

    Your martech integration options

    One solution is using an integrated product, such as HubSpot. Pick one product with all the capabilities you need, and the problem of integration disappears because all of your data is stored in a single system. 

    Unfortunately, it’s rare for one platform to meet all of your requirements —  particularly if your organisation is of any significant size. Inevitably, you’ll have to settle for some features that offer less than best-in-class capabilities.

    So many tools offer integrations with Salesforce (SFDC) that it has a unique position as a platform to store marketing data, although it’s obviously only an option if you use Salesforce for your CRM. 

    If you are an SFDC organization, however, you’re still putting all your data into a CRM and need to get it out to use it. Frequently there are limitations in the data that can be shared with off-the-shelf integrations. It’s also almost certain that you’ll be using martech tools that don’t interface directly, requiring programmers or middleware (more about this later) to store and access your data.

    Using another tool to store data if you are not an SFDC user is often even more challenging. You need to tackle the problem of moving data in and out of one system, and you’ll likely  have far fewer built-in integrations within your martech tools than the SFDC users.

    The custom database, often called a data lake, is a common solution among enterprises. It’s frequently the worst solution because you’ll need tools or custom software to store and retrieve the data. We find this solution usually ends up as simply being used as a repository of data to simplify reporting, but it rarely promotes the sharing of data that will enhance your marketing activities.

    In truth, there are no great solutions for combining your marketing data from different platforms, but the least worst is to pick one tool as the keystone and use that as a repository of data. Although it’s tempting to pick the tool with the most integrations, you’re better to pick one that is central to your work and is best positioned to achieve the objectives you defined at the start. You’ll then have to develop a strategy to get the data in and out.

    Dig Deeper: How strategic martech integration drives business growth

    Glue your martech together

    Most martech applications will provide an API as a mechanism for getting data in and out of the system. Unfortunately, each API is different and incompatible (see The sticky problem of martech integration to learn more).

    In the past, marketing and tech teams had to write software to link the different systems together. This was time consuming and expensive. But today there are some great products called “middleware” that are designed to make it easier to glue together your martech stack.

    Perhaps the best-known of these applications is Zapier. It relies on one platform creating a trigger for Zapier to move data. For example, if a contact registers on your webinar platform, Zapier can create or update a record in your marketing automation platform or CRM. Zapier, however, isn’t good at synchronizing data. It is designed to make one-way transfers. Despite its limitations, Zapier can be very powerful, and for simple automations it is often the best solution.

    Other systems are built for better synchronization, where updates in either tool will trigger the same update in the other. A good example is Outfunnel, which is primarily designed to synchronize data between the tools used by SMBs. 

    While these tools are easy to use, they are limited by the number of integrations available. If they lack the ability to talk to products in your martech stack, then you’re pretty much out of luck, and your data will remain siloed.

    Other, more powerful, tools can be configured to use any martech vendor’s API, such as Make.com. These tools offer the potential to connect all of your tools without the need to write a single line of code. But they are complex, and you’ll need to understand data structures. If the mention of files in a JSON format makes you think of golden fleeces, then you’ll struggle with these tools. 

    Your IT department or a technically aware marketing agency will be able to use them to link your martech platforms together in much less time than it would have taken even a few years ago.

    The best solution usually combines multiple approaches. Use built-in integrations where available, simpler tools should do as much as possible and the complex connectors like Make are only used when there is no better alternative. It’s also likely the limitations of some tools, the time and the technical complexity involved will mean you’ll never have all data available to all tools. 

    By using the tools available and building your approach around the outcomes you want to achieve, integrating your stack and bringing your data together is possible. If you invest the time and effort, you can dramatically increase the performance of your campaigns.


    The post You need to glue your martech stack together. Here are some of your options. appeared first on MarTech.

    Latest Posts

    - Advertisement -

    Don't Miss

    Stay in touch

    To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.