Evaluating Your Martech Stack: Marketing Solutions That Have High Impact
I’ll be honest - the first time I heard “martech stack,” I was clueless.
Martech. You know how we love to shorten things in the marketing world and use acronyms because it’s a lot easier to say it than marketing technology stack.
Good stack. That means you have a solid foundation and framework - that your marketing processes are like a beautiful orchestra and all of the pieces complement one another.
Stackies. A neat award in marketing for illustrating how you conceptualize your marketing stack. It’s visual in its presentation and usually demonstrates some analogy or journey of how the consumer interacts and is funneled through your system.
Each organization’s martech stack varies based off of preference, audience, consumer funnel and journey, and…. budget.
Marketing software is not cheap.
And, that’s why I’d like to provide you with a brief overview of the tools and resources I have experience working with, because I nerd out on this kind of stuff, and, it’s sometimes nice to hear from a peer versus someone that works at the company on the value each will add to your workday.
Elements of a strong martech stack
I’m bucketing these into my own categories:
-Marketing automation or inbound marketing
Two things to consider before making the investment
The two most important things outside of marketing that you need to consider before adding to your martech stack:
#1 Getting leadership buy-in and approvals
#2 Working with IT and legal to get them implemented
How you can overcome these two hurdles? Ensure you are explaining why it is you need the software in high-level, layman’s terms, and what the ROI will be. Or, maybe it’s not ROI but it will make the team operate more efficiently and save X amount of time that can be spent elsewhere on something that actually does impact the bottom line.
Also, anticipate delays throughout the process. You may have a flip-the-switch go-live date of Jan. 1, but be realistic to know that legal will probably red line through a lot of items to protect your company, and that’s okay. Also, there will be IT hiccups, whether it’s permissions, storage capacity, etc.
I love Squarespace. The plug-n-play features make it super easy if you are not a savant. However, there’s the ability in the advanced settings to do code injections and CSS if that sort of thing is your thing. It’s cheap. It’s fun. The stock photography options are endless. The displays and themes are on trend. Can’t say enough good things about Squarespace.
I used to use Wix when I was in college, because, free. I didn’t pay to purchase my domain so, it was something along the lines of wix.sarahadell.com and I was fine with that because I was just using it to house my portfolio. It’s since become more robust, and I thought about using it for this personal site, but decided to go with Squarespace because I thought the user experience and UX/UI design was better.
Wordpress is easy if you’re doing basic CMS updates. Other than purchasing the templates they have available, it’s tricky to update code - trust me I’ve tried and would not recommend. I think it’s good for a small to mid-size business or nonprofit. If you’re looking to blog - I loved the features it has for bloggers!
This thing is a beast. Drupal is super customizable - so much so that their slogan for marketers is “In a world full of templates, be original.” And that’s probably why each page layout that we have has items in different spots. It can be super tricky to navigate. But, if you’re only using it for the CMS portion of updates or making minimal design edits, it’s not as daunting as people make it out to be. I’m super proud that I’ve figured out how to embed forms and gated content on here, but I still feel like I only understand it at a very, very basic level.
Emma is actually owned by Campaign Monitor. And, it’s more than just email: you can build landing pages, create inbound forms, use it as your contact list database. It’s super, super easy to use. The emails have drag & drop builder features, which I love because I hate being married to a template when halfway through it, something changes and then you have to modify the code or the entire layout (can I get an amen?).
Currently utilizing HubSpot and I have to say, it’s really, really growing on me. One thing that I really like about them is they position themselves as a thought leader for marketing, and they are constantly putting out blog articles and making updates based off of the feedback their clients give them. Again, it’s not just email and not just CRM. It has website, blog, sales/project management, chat bots, social, workflows - the whole nine yards. I will be transparent and say that I think their app is lagging - I would love to see the ability to do more on the go, because we all know, as marketers we’re rarely at our desk and constantly in meetings. I’m not currently utilizing the sales or service portions of the hub, but it truly could be a one-stop-shop for a business. Everything’s there.
Good, ole GA. The ultimate marketer’s tool. I nerd out on Google analytics. I love making dashboards in Google Data Studio, that way I don’t have to email people reporting - they can self-serve. Google Analytics will basically tell you more than you need to know about what is going on in your website. If you know absolutely nothing about marketing, I highly recommend you sit down with whoever works in marketing in your company and ask them to show you Google Analytics. It will blow. your. mind. what type of information is available to you. You can understand patterns in behavior of where people are dropping off from your website, what ads they’re coming from to get there, how long they’re looking at stuff - you can track everything down to IP address. It’s super creepy and makes me feel like I’m Sherlock Holmes.
MOZ is super cheap and you can learn a lot about how your website is performing stacked up against your competitors. It’s $179 for an enterprise account. It tells you your domain authority, SEO rankings and does site crawls. It can seriously help you with writing your website content and H1, meta titles and meta descriptions with the keyword explorer functionality. The keyword explorer & page optimizations show you search frequency and rankings. Lastly, there’s a link explorer, so you can find out what’s broken and fix it!
If you work in PR and you’re not using Meltwater, look it up ASAP because it will change your life. Imagine being able to tell your senior leaders what the advertising value equivocal of the story that ran or the TV coverage you got was - you got that exposure for free. But, had you done paid tactics based off of their media kits and reach, it could have costed $100K+ - $1M+. This tool is so valuable to prove all of that time you spend building relationships with media contacts and running around getting the feature to come together really does impact the bottom line. The reporting is insane and super intuitive. You can drill down to article level, and can break up data based off of sentiment, location, keywords, etc.
Uberflip is really cool - I mean really cool. I’ve only done a demo and just have to say that man, marketing is seriously so cool. It essentially combines any content you want (such as blog posts, press releases, social posts, videos, forms, etc.) onto one massive newsfeed. The best part, you can customize the content based off of who’s looking, so you can create custom landing pages by persona. Love it!
Love Issuu - it’s great for sharing .pdfs and perfect for housing some of your lengthier documents and brochures. Think annual report. One downfall is that I found out the hard way (and this might have changed since last year) that it’s not WCAG 2 compliant if your company has guidelines in place for web accessibility. But, it’s great for news pubs and orgs to share media kits, magazines, newsletters, etc.
I like Hootsuite! Nothing too fancy but it gets the job done and aggregates multiple sites into one platform for ease of reporting and prescheduling across multiple sites.
Twittimer is a free way to prepost to Twitter. For limited uses - you can only preschedule up to 10 posts per month, but Twitter should be in the moment anyway, so 10 is plenty! Which, you’re probably thinking why not use Hootsuite or HubSpot and post to all?!
Which is why I like to say…
I am an avid fan of doing things natively in social. I know it’s more time consuming and you can’t compile data across all the platforms, but I don’t think you should be. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the metrics and the analytics - but you’re intent should be different across all channels and posting mechanisms. For example, you may be interested in Retweets or Repins, but what about engagement in Live video, or story views. It’s not apples to apples. PLUS, the number one reason I loath using an outside source is that if you’re purchasing ads and have a paid strategy, you can’t do any of it outside of Business or Ads manager within Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. If you’re already going to be in their natively for your ads and boosted post, why use anything else?! (Rant over).
Yext pulls information on all business listings, and maps, to ensure your contact information is seamless across the board without having to go to Google and Yelp and BBB and whatever! All in one spot. It’s cheap if you only have a few accounts (approximately $1K). This is super handy if you’re managing a ton of locations - think franchises or frequent acquisitions/divestitures.
I have this under CRM from a client/customer retention standpoint, but let’s be honest: Salesforce is the holy grail of marketing products. The marketing cloud does email automation; I don’t think it’s the most user-friendly from a list pull perspective, but it is great. I love the ability to integrate HubSpot with Salesforce and keep our data clean. We have scoring mechanisms in place to they filter simultaneously, and if one is deleted in one, it syncs to the other. The reporting features in Salesforce are my favorite (you know me, super analytical). You can slice & dice anyway you want and set up attribution models so that you can tie contacts to specific campaigns and channels.
If you’re not doing account-based marketing, it’s time to get on board. Man, DemandBase is so cool. You can have your ads target based off of IP address with custom messaging. Super creepy, but super cool. The program integrates with Google Analytics so you can track engagement. You can view all of the pages your contacts or accounts went to & how many times after being served your ad. Plus, you can pull which creative performed better and on which sites for process refinement. It’s pricey, but I think if you’re using with clearly defined messaging vs. brand awareness, and you have a very targeted audience you’re going after, this is totally worth the investment.
There you have it, folks! Just a few of my favorite digital marketing lifesavers. What tools are you using that are a must in your day-to-day operations?