Optimizing Your Marketing Tech Stack (Review)
Each week for 12 weeks, I am writing about what I am learning through the Growth Marketing Mini-Degree from the CXL Institute. This week, I worked through the last course in Module 7: Optimizing Your Marketing Tech Stack.
Your marketing tech stack is simply put: the digital tools that you use in your business to function day to day and focus on & store customer data. It includes tools for marketing but also sales, support, and development. Tools like Gmail, Calendly, Zoom, YouTube, Dropbox, Wave, Slack, and Final Cut Pro X are just a handful of “tools” that I personally use every day in my tech stack. Final Cut Pro? YES it has LOTS of customer data! And in recent years, the industry has expectedly exploded in growth! Right now in April of 2021, there are over 8000 tech tools available to online businesses and entrepreneurs to assist them with their daily functions.
But what happens if a new tool we’re relying on for our business gets acquired by another larger company, and the tool becomes defunct? This is why it’s important to vet each and every vendor and app you sign up for, checking to see if it’s well-funded, and how long the product has been around.
So, how many tools should we have in our marketing tech stack? The average entrepreneur is using 11–20, and the average enterprise is using over 120 different tools in their marketing tech stack. Choosing tools that help your business evolve and support your day to day is obviously important! A few top questions to ask yourself on choosing your marketing tech stack tools:
- How does does it cost?
- What is support for the tool like? High-quality support is a must.
- Is it easy to use?
- Does it integrate with other tools I use?
- How can we track our users in the tool?
- Assess Your Tools
But this exercise is helpful: write down every tool you use in your business in list form. Go one step further and create a Google Sheet! This helps me see how each tool I use interacts with the other, where we can streamline, and what tools may not be as useful as they were before. I constantly seem to “outgrow” apps, and auditing my own list of apps (along with how much they cost) is so helpful to see which apps are truly being utilized and which ones need to be cut. It also shows you where you can further integrate your tools, aiming for a streamlined data pipeline. Another helpful exercise is taking a harder look at your your tech stack list and writing down things your tools cannot currently do that you would like them to be able to do, and identify gaps that you can take into discovery.
- Comparing Tools
With over 8000 tools available, how do we choose which tools are best for us in each category? It feels impossible to sift through all the options! The tool g2Crowd.com helps compare apps, including reviews, and gives you a snapshot of how the app’s customer’s are interacting with the company.
- Create a Wireframe
Create a visual map of how your data flows through each app, and which apps are more dependent on others. Being able to see visually how your data is flowing in and out of your business really gives you a visual way of seeing how the tech stack is “working”.
Overall, what helped me was keeping in mind the customer’s journey and experience through the stack is a goal that helped keep me on track, allowing me to be ruthless in what we are keeping and cutting.
So how do we analyze our data like a boss?
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. -Albert Einstein
There are three types of tracking our martech stack:
- Platform-Side Tracking: When one of our tools talks to another tool in their own manner to pass data. Also via the server side but is typically managed through the UI of the apps.
- Client-Side Tracking: When the browser of the user is sending the tracking information to the tools. This is most common for marketers.
- Server-Side Tracking: When something is sent to the server and the server is the one who professes the data and sends it through an API to the downstream tool.
What things do we want to track? Review the actions you want your customers to be doing most on your site, and you will start to see what thing are important to you to track. A short list of things to track: Page Views, Signups, New Leads, Purchases, Used Feature, Cancelled. Plan on reporting your data on at least a monthly basis to keep everyone aligned with the north star metric.
1. Lead Generation Tools: services which already have the lead information and you are using filters, triggers and manual labor to sort through and find the leads you.
2. Lead Capture Tools: Lead capture tools are things you may add to your site, web properties or trade shows booths to allow users to self submit their information. Most commonly done using forms and landing pages.
Capturing email addresses (or leads) is essential to running any business. Not only does “owning” your own data great for the changing markets, but it’s time-tested way to directly communicate with your dream customer. As such, it’s important to partner with tools that can help us generate more leads, that lead to happy customers.
What should we look for in choosing the right lead generation tools? Many tools give a very basic info: first name, last name, email address. Others can offer more comprehensive data. A few questions to ask when assessing a lead generation tool:
- Does it provide the phone number?
- What does the sales and marketing team need?
- Does it provide revenue?
- How popular is this tool?
- What other pieces of information does it give you?
Relationship Management with CRM
Finally, take an inventory of everything you know about your customers. It’s important to keep the customer’s journey at the top of our mind, as well as how they interact with us, so having as much information as we can about our interactions with them is key. Sales tools are not just focused on acquiring customers; they’re also used for keeping an accurate and true record of who your customers are. Salesforce is a great tool that not only tracks leads and deals, it also tracks customers afterwards. Another plus about Salesforce is that it has a huge integration network as well, so it can work in collaboration with your other tools! (Important!) This is important because when new leads come in, the sales team needs to be able to see this information quickly in order to reach out, streamlining the sales process for everyone including the customer.
See you next week!