All you must know for building a Martech Stack on Steroids in 2021 — Martech review

Did you know that on average an enterprise uses 120 marketing tools? And that currently there around 8.000 marketing tools in the market? Choosing the right marketing technology (Martech) tools for the business has become part of any CMO’s strategic decisions at any company. The Martech stack should be evaluated constantly, assessing different aspects such as cost, integration, ease of use, new tools, and many others that I will try to summarize here.

What kind of tools does the Martech stack include?

Well, many might think that the stack just includes tools strictly related to marketing, but it includes instead all tools that deal with customer data (that includes Development, Support, Sales, and of course, Marketing tools). So… is Intercom, Zendesk, or any other customer support tool part of the Martech stack? Well, all these tools have a huge amount of customer data, so yes!. What about Salesforce or my company’s CRM? Same case here: lots of sales customer data, then yes!.

Which aspects should I consider when choosing a tool?

Cliché answer but totally relevant in this case: you should choose the tool that better adapts to your business needs, considering many factors, such as the following:

  • Cost: No brainer. However, don’t always go for the cheapest option. Evaluate what impact this tool could have on your business. Follow ROI closely, as there are some expensive tools on the market that pay themselves many times over. The opposite is true as well, don’t choose apps with infinite features that you might not even use: the right tools adapt to your current business needs.
  • Ease of use
  • Quality of support
  • Features
  • Integration: This is probably the most important and often, the most overlooked, aspect. Choose a tool that offers direct integrations to your other key business tools. Even if it is the trendiest app, you don’t want to end up with data siloed in different platforms that do not communicate with each other. Communication between 2 platforms can happen at 3 different levels described below: Platform-side, client-side and server-side.

How can we track user actions across different platforms?

  • Platform-side tracking: The 2 tools communicate with each other, then you just have to provide an API key or do an Oauth and you’ll be set. If you need to report on data stored in 5 or 6 different tools, chances are you most probably need platform side integrations. Zapier is an online service that will help you create this kind of integration between your different tools.
  • Client-side tracking: Tracking things that happen on the browser or mobile app through Javascript tags. The problem with this kind of tracking is that the user can opt-out, using an ad blocker, for example. In that case, we won’t be able to see how this user behaves on our site. Tag managers (such as Google’s) are normally used to manage different tags on our site.
  • Server-side tracking: Tracking things that happen in the Cloud (in the backend). This kind of tracking is not susceptible to ad blockers, but usually is more expensive and should therefore be used for critical events (purchases, signups, etc.).

Most platforms use their own syntax (or language) to describe user actions, then traditionally you needed developers to create server-side integrations. Nowadays we have Customer Data Platforms or CDPs (such as Segment or Mparticle) that are APIs’ Rosetta stones; they translate syntaxes so you can track events across different platforms in a relatively easy way.

Types of stack tracking. Source: CXL

How can I discover new Martech tools?

Part of the Martech stack review process is finding and evaluating new tools that we could integrate into our operation. The main 2 ways to discover new tools are:

  • Figuring out the tools that a competitor’s or any other website uses: You can use tools such as Ghostery, Datanyze, and BuiltWith to see a full list of these tools. Almost all of them have Chrome extensions, then you are just 1 click away from finding new options for your stack. Datanyze has a very cool market share report per industry that will help you see the most popular tools being used in the market.
  • Using online lists and comparators: Sites like CabinetM and G2Crowd have very detailed lists of applications per industry. Most of them also let you compare different tools, so you can better evaluate 2 or more different options.
Uses for the Martech Stack. Source: Martech Advisor

What kind of Martech tools are there?

Tough question, since there are so many. Tools can, however, be classified into the following groups depending on their use (see image above) and functionality:

Martech Stack. Source: Coschedule

Importance of tracking marketing SaaS annual spending:

Since SaaS services are charged recurrently without any business interaction, they can easily be forgotten and marketing SaaS spending can reach a high amount. Thankfully there are many online services today that will help us stay on top of our SaaS spending, visualizing real usage of these services, shadow spend, and many other aspects. No more excel sheets that get lost or only reflect partial data. Try tools such as G2track instead.

Much of the content discussed in this article is part of Dan McGaw’s Optimizing your marketing tech stack course on CXL. This course is part of the Growth Marketing mini degree, a program that I had the chance to complete, and that has really impressed me. With around +110 hours of video and +30 different courses, this program is a must for anyone wanting to become a leader in the Growth Marketing industry.

If you want to stay informed on the latest Growth Marketing trends and tools in the Latam region, make sure to follow our podcast El Antipodcast: El cliente NO tiene la razon on all streaming platforms. We have weekly discussions with industry referents in the region about the latest trends in the Growth space.

Growth marketer passionate about launching awesome products!