You Ask, I Answer: Prioritizing Your MarTech Stack?

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You Ask, I Answer: Prioritizing Your MarTech Stack?

Ted asks, “How do you prioritize building an organization’s MarTech stack? How do you build a foundation that you can add to over time?”

One of the biggest pieces is going to be your database environment, followed by your overall tech platform. Many companies have a major tech provider, and that puts some constraints on what you have. Follow that with a thorough analysis of your marketing ops funnel and identify where your biggest gaps are.

Look for partners with strong interoperability and data interchange. That’s the ultimate key to a strong stack. Vendors will spend a lot of time trying to lock you in.

You Ask, I Answer: Prioritizing Your MarTech Stack?

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In today’s episode, Ted asks, How do you prioritize building an organization’s Mar tech stack? How do you build a foundation that you can add to overtime? So really good question.

The biggest challenge for a lot of companies when they’re building out their marketing technology stack is dealing with constraints that they have, particularly in their environment.

So most companies have a major tech provider of some kind, you know, you’ll hear people say like, this is a Microsoft shop, a dotnet shop or Google shop.

And that major technology provider can provide some guidance but also some constraints on what you can and can’t have.

That’s not to say that, you know, marketing can’t work with multiple platforms.

certainly plenty of organizations do but to increase the collaboration, to reduce the headaches that come along with compliance and audits, you It is generally a good idea to be aligned with whatever your company’s major tech provider is, especially if your industry is a more highly regulated industry, you may not even get a choice, right? If you are 100%, Microsoft shop, you may be using Microsoft Dynamics as your CRM, even if Salesforce is considered the gold standard in your industry, the CIO, the platform and the environment provides one major constraint.

The thing that to do next after that is to do a thorough analysis of your marketing operations funnel.

If you remember, customer journeys are how we look at essentially marketing to consumers, whether they’re b2b or b2c.

But from an operational perspective, we still have a funnel, we still have to have a funnel because you can’t just have people working on things willy nilly.

You do have to have some sense of order.

So you want to do an audit of your office.

Operations funnel and figure out where are your biggest gaps in terms of technology? Where are you seeing a lot of inefficiencies? Where’s your headcount? Where is your performance lagging? And most of all, if you look at your funnel numbers, where is your biggest fall off? Right? Is it lead generation? Is it demand generation? Is it awareness, what’s what’s most broken in your funnel? They can’t just go out and start buying things.

But you do want to have that mapped out.

I mean, put it on a whiteboard in a conference room or something and just every stage of your operations funnel, have, what the performance numbers are, and what technology pieces you have in place.

The next thing you want to audit is data interchange and interoperability.

So of the pieces you have, how interoperable are they? Do they have good API’s? Do they have robust data export? How well do they play with others? What kind integrations Do they have built in, the more interoperable a piece of software is, the more likely it is, it’s going to be a good and long standing part of your operations funnel, the more of a walled garden, a piece of software is, the less likely that you should be spending a whole lot of time with it.

Once you’ve got that operations funnel, whiteboard it out, and you’ve got a little post it notes detailing the performance of each piece and stuff, then it’s time to start looking for vendors to patch the holes where the things that you have the biggest gap, that’s going to be your budget priority because you can’t buy everything all at once.

And you got to make a list of vendors in that space.

And in that particular space, whether it let’s let’s say for example, its prospect nurturing.

You have marketing automation software that helps with that.

Gonna make a list of what its interoperability features.

What is its data interchange features? What kind of API doesn’t have what kind of data export does it have And ultimately, how compatible is it with the rest of the stack.

That’s going to be a key part to understand how pieces map together.

And again, you want to focus on the interoperability because you may change pieces downstream.

Right? You may be on, say Microsoft Dynamics today, but in a year, sales is moving to, you want a piece of software that is in your marketing automation section that is compatible with both as compatible with as much as possible, so that when the time comes to change out, it’s not a big deal to simply pull the plug from one, CRM, one, plug it into another one.

If on the other hand, you have a vendor that is narrowly tuned to one piece of tech downstream, that could be a problem.

Right? So you want to have that map laid out the connections between layers.

Because remember that there’s some tools like Google Analytics Google Analytics plays mostly well with others.

But it more than anything mandates others play well with it because of its market position.

So things like setting up user ID, you want a marketing automation system that’s robust enough to connect back upstream as well.

Those interconnections between nodes in your Mar tech stack are the defining feature of what you will and won’t be using.

So that’s the process.

After that it’s vendor selection time, it is RFP time and is evaluating the vendors and making sure that they do what you want them to do.

Again, with that focus on interoperability, I literally cannot say that enough.

It is the most important thing for making sure that you have a platform that you can build on over time.

Vendors some, not all spent a lot of time trying to lock you in trying to make it easy to onboard and difficult to leave.

Take a look at the vendors that you currently have.

Take a look at the vendors that you’re evaluating in the marketplace and ask yourself, How easy is it to swap this piece of technology out? The best pieces of technology in your Mar tech stack will be the ones that would be the easiest to replace, because again, of that strong interoperability, the the vendors that try to lock you in, those are things that you want to try to avoid.

Because if you do need to change upstream or downstream pieces of technology in your stack, in six months, a year, two years, and you’ve become so dependent on one vendor that it doesn’t play well with others, it’s going to be very painful to make a change.

So even though vendors have sort of a self serving incentive to make it difficult to leave in your selection process, look for those vendors that make it easy to leave.

Knowing that that will actually work in their favor.

Because the technology is good, you don’t want to leave.

But if if you need to swap out for some reason, it’s not, you’re not completely locked in.

Those are all criteria for selecting martech vendors in your stack.

So that’s the summary.

First, figure out what your constraints on your environment are.

Second, do a funnel operations analysis to figure out where the gaps are.

Third, evaluate the partners you do have already and how interoperable they are.

And fourth, select partners to fill the biggest gaps with an eye towards interoperability.

It’s tough, it will take a long time, and there will be some less good choices you’ve made over time that happens.

The good news is there are a lot of middleware pieces of software that can help bridge some of those gaps, Zapier or If This Then That can help provide a little bit of digital glue.

We want to try and avoid that as much as possible because it just complicates things.

follow up questions about this, please leave in the comments box below.

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I’ll talk to you soon.

Take care.

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