President and Owner at McKay Advertising + Activation, Florida’s First Digital Media Agency
Evaluating your organization’s marketing technology stack — in other words, all of the technology tools you use for marketing — is more important now than it has ever been. There are a couple of reasons why. First, brands and agencies must find a way to differentiate themselves in today’s competitive environment. One way to do this is by having a fully functioning stack that allows for maximum return. Second, you should understand your customer journey and which technologies along the way play crucial roles in the success of your business. Customers are warier than ever about how brands interact with them, so ensuring that your stack achieves those goals is key.
Here’s how to get started on your marketing tech stack evaluation and how to use this information to make your business stand out:
Divide, Conquer And Reunite
Traditionally, we’ve seen many companies organize their stacks into three main areas of the customer journey lifecycle: attract, engage and retain. However, we’ve taken a different approach that has allowed us to break down our stack into the functions the technology provides.
Here’s how we did it:
First, we outlined the eight most important areas of our business operations. These will be different for each business, but for us, they were: ad platforms, campaign assistant, data partners, measurement/reporting tools, research tools, creative tools, lead nurturing and email, and owned assets.
Second, we held a company-wide meeting where we outlined our goal and the segments we revealed. We then set a date for one week out for each team member to add the technologies that they both currently use and have used in the past for each segment. Finally, we regrouped and went through each in detail, rearranged some based on how they were used and then listed them. Hint: You have a lot more technologies in your stack than you think.
Do you know what’s impressive? An organization that has mastered many technologies and can showcase a wide range of skills to assist with its client’s goals. Do you know what’s even more impressive? An organization that can show that in a simple, easily digestible diagram or infographic. It’s been said that 80% of people remember things they see or experience, and that people process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. By organizing the list of technologies you’ve put together in an infographic, you will possess a powerful marketing tool. Use this tool in your presentations to clients to showcase your extensive knowledge and team skillset, or to internal stakeholders to back your decision on the service you pay for. However you choose to use it, there’s no downside to this tactic.
Cost Savings Or Investment Opportunities
You now ideally have an impressive infographic of your marketing stack or at least a list. Now is the time to evaluate each one. We recommend setting aside a block of at least two hours to run through each piece of technology you have listed. Make sure that all departments are present, and include not only decision makers but also the individuals who use the tech on a day-to-day basis. Marketing and sales may use the same tech, but for different reasons, and the chief financial officer may be wondering why IT is worried.
Ask questions such as: How much does it cost? What are the benefits? What are the downsides? Does this still meet our needs? Does this still meet our clients’ needs? Is there cross-functionality with these technologies? You may come to find that you need to add to the stack to really stand out. Companies that have been investing heavily in tech may find that there are cheaper solutions out there, or maybe it’s time to find something new. Whatever the end result in this step is, it’s an exercise that can prove useful for all departments with the added benefit of breaking down internal silos and creating cross-department communication.
Increase Productivity And Morale
In the era of remote work, how are you keeping track of productivity and keeping employees motivated? According to a recent Business Insider article, companies such as Google and Indeed plan to have their employees work remotely at least until summer 2021. This trend will likely trickle down to smaller companies and employees may demand such rights. By listing your marketing stack and showcasing it to your employees, you not only can receive feedback about other technologies that employees think will benefit them, but you can also pinpoint technologies that may no longer serve your needs. Much like the idea of customer centricity, the goal here is to receive employee feedback on what technology they’d like to use to ease the new challenges they are facing at home.
The exercise outlined here has been tremendously beneficial for our team. Whether your marketing tech stack is a list of 100 or 10 pieces of technology, this exercise will not only provide great insights into your organization’s capabilities, but it also can bring your team closer together through collaboration and communication.