Unpacking the Stack

I’ve spent the better part of my career helping clients and colleagues solve important problems with marketing automation and marketing technology and I’ll tell you right now: it’s naïve to think that what worked 10 years ago still works now.

So… how does one keep all the marketing technology options straight?

One thing is for certain – there’s no single solution out there that solves every marketing problem. And for every problem, you can be sure there are multiple vendors that can solve it in their own way. Don’t invest in a solution because it’s the latest buzzword or ‘everyone is doing it.’ Take the time to understand your own needs.

If you’re having trouble unpacking the stack, and Chief Martec’s landscape is a little too detailed for you – here is a more simplified way to organize martech solution types:

1. Predictive
Technologies that fall in this category enable organizations to identify their target customer(s) by:

  • Creating an ideal customer profile based on a series of successful deals or other behavior
  • Taking that profile and marrying it with a rich database of intent data to reveal the important criteria that defines that ideal customer.
  • Identifying new accounts, or scoring existing accounts, contacts, and leads that are lookalikes to the ideal customer
  • Determining whether or not certain accounts, contacts or leads have a higher propensity to do something (purchase or convert) based on the important criteria.

Clients use this technology primarily for:

  • Uncovering areas of their database they might not otherwise pursue
  • Growing their database with records that are likely to behave in a desirable way (buy, convert, etc.)
  • Getting more precise with ad targeting and display
  • Adding more accuracy to the lead scoring discipline.

2. Orchestration
The biggest change for me in the martech landscape was the discovery that most marketing automation platforms have become the orchestration engine for other martech solutions. This is big because as early as 5 years ago, MAP used to be one of the only marketing technology investments that an organization would make.

I’m not downplaying the importance of orchestration – these tools keep the trains running on time and on the track.

  • Orchestration tools are known for:
  • Centralizing activities from multiple channels and multiple solutions in a single environment
  • Being rich in integrations with powerful, data-driven automation engines
  • Allowing for the planning and execution of multi-channel campaigns with multiple, integrated technologies.
  • Providing light analysis to show users how their integrated efforts are performing.

3. Content Experience
Content experience solutions focus on the sequencing and personalization of content to create a unique, compelling content consumption experience for the user. This involves different content visualization methods and consumption channels which appeal to a user’s desire to self-educate.

Content Experience Solutions are used most commonly used for:

  • Nurture – They adapt to the recency and frequency of a user’s interaction with marketing content
  • Websites and Microsites – Easy organization for digital properties dedicated to a specific offering
  • Reporting – Great for understanding audience’s patterns of content interaction

4. Data Management and Analysis
It’s easy to oversimplify this category because there are many different answers to the question, “How do I best maintain the integrity of my data and have it deliver the insights I need to make good decisions?”

Let’s break this into its two subcategories:

  1. Data Management – The data management tools collect, organize, store, and normalize data so it can be used to deliver insights and segmentation from a variety of different sources.
  2. Data Measurement/Analysis – These technologies allow you to measure the impact of an activity or help you answer a business question.

In short, both data management and analysis are needed to define marketing audiences and measure the impact of a program or campaign – but you won’t always find data management and analysis in the same tool.

I’ve attempted to break down the areas that have been most relevant to me in my journey, but there are countless other ways to think about the marketing stack. In my next posts, I’ll explore some of the solutions and vendors that fall into these categories.