Defining Your Digital Marketing Stack

Defining Your Digital Marketing Stack

In this lesson, you’re expected to:
– understand the importance of a marketing technology stack
– learn about the key components of a marketing stack

What is a Marketing Technology Stack?

A marketing technology stack is a grouping of technologies that marketers leverage to conduct and improve their marketing activities.

Often, the focus of marketing technologies is to make difficult processes easier, and to measure the impact of marketing activities and drive more efficient spending.

Why is a Marketing Stack Important?

The marketing technology landscape is rapidly evolving, with hundreds of different software technologies crowding an ever-increasing number of categories.

In a recent survey of CMOs, 27% were concerned with staying ahead and taking advantage of these digital technology trends. (Source: Korn Ferry)

With so many choices, it’s essential for marketers to have a clear understanding of which technologies are most fundamental to their business goals and to understand how technology can help them positively affect their business.

What does a Marketing Stack look like?
Here’s an example of AdRoll’s marketing tech stack.
See full-size image:
The Rise of the Full-Stack Marketer

The term ‘full-stack’ has its origins in the development world and the concept of the full-stack developer/programmer.

Similar to the full-stack developer, the full-stack marketer can work across a range of marketing disciplines, from SEO to UX and design. Like the T-shaped (a broad set of knowledge and skills but with a specialism in a particular area) or Pi-shaped marketer (a broad base of knowledge but capabilities in both ‘left brain’ and ‘right brain’ disciplines), the full-stack marketer is multi-skilled.

A full-stack marketer excels through action, i.e. they have practical working knowledge, not just a basic understanding.

Full-Stack Developer: someone with the knowledge and experience to work across every facet of the development ‘stack’ or web development platform.
[Optional] What’s in Your Digital Marketing Stack?
Read this article to learn more about components of a digital marketing stack:
Components of a marketing technology stack
The type of business you have will also impact which technologies you might find important, and how they should be organized.

A key difference is whether your business sells its products or services to consumers (B2C) or to businesses (B2B). B2C and B2B marketers will use different channels and techniques to acquire customers, and will have varying technology needs as a result.

When assembling a marketing technology stack, it’s important to know which technologies are foundational, and should be put in place first.

Below are some essential technologies to consider using:

1) Content Management System (CMS)

Technology that powers a website, blog, or other relevant web properties where marketers want to engage their customers.

2) Advertising Technology

This space is vast, but advertising is a key customer acquisition technique for marketers.

Most use a combination of SEM (search engine marketing), display ads, retargeting, and ad tracking or attribution software.

3) Email

A key customer communications channel that all marketers need in their toolkit. Sometimes, email is a capability that comes built into a marketing automation or inbound marketing platform.

4) Insights and Analysis

At a broad level, marketers need to be able to access their data to measure digital marketing activity. Most marketers will have website analytics and their own business analytics tracked in either homegrown or third-party tools.

In more advanced cases, a data warehouse can pull together data from a wide array of systems to make insights and reporting more accessible.

5) Experience Optimization

This includes an A/B testing and personalization software, or programs that allow marketers to take action on their analytics to make their marketing campaigns more efficient.

[Optional] 23 Must-Have Tools for Your Marketing Stack
Read this blog article to learn about the most useful tools that should be part of your marketing stack:
Other important elements
There are many other channels that might require different levels of investment, depending on whether your marketing strategy is more aligned with B2C or B2B, and your business strategy:
1) Social Media 

Technology to monitor social activity and make social engagement easier can help maximize the impact of this marketing channel.

Social networks are also a key part of the ads landscape, and many have paid advertising options available.

2) Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Typically an area of focus for B2B marketers, a CRM framework can track marketing attribution when supporting a direct salesforce.

The CRM will track all customer relationships and can provide insights on how marketing campaigns influence sales pipeline and customer growth.

3) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a key strategy for driving organic (unpaid) visitor traffic to your website domain, and often goes well with a content marketing strategy.

There are many tools available to help with keyword research and other SEO-related initiatives.

It’s also important to know which skill sets and team members you’ll need to have in place to ensure that your marketing team gets maximum benefit from the technologies you use.

Here are a few things to consider when thinking about how your marketing technology will compliment your team:

– Customer Acquisition: online marketing, partner marketing, event marketing, website optimization.
– Brand & Communications: social media, public relations, sponsorships, broadcast advertising.
– Product Marketing: product marketing, analyst relations, content marketing.
– Marketing Operations: campaign performance, data analysis and insight.

In particular, marketing operations is a key role that will help enable the rest of the marketing team to make smart decisions with your data.
[Optional] The 10 Must-Have SaaS Marketing Tools & Platforms
Read this article to find out more about Software as a Service (SaaS) tools:
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