Marketing technology (martech) has become an essential part of the B2B marketing landscape in recent years, enabling businesses to automate and optimize their marketing activities like never before. However, with so many technologies available, it can be overwhelming for your company to choose the right martech tools for your needs. In this blog, we discuss the key components of a successful martech solution and provide examples of how martech tools are used for different applications.
What is martech?
If you’re wondering, “What is martech?” you’re not alone.
Martech definition: Martech is a collection of marketing technologies and software applications that businesses use to manage their sales and marketing efforts.
This assortment of tools comprises multiple layers, each with its own specific function and purpose, and is often called a martech stack or martech architecture. At the foundation of a martech stack is the marketing automation platform or customer relationship management (CRM) system. The layers above this core platform might include tools for social media management, email marketing, analytics, reporting and more.
How is martech used?
Martech software provides your marketing team with the solutions to help your business reach and engage your target audience, nurture and retain existing clients, automate and optimize your processes, and track and measure your efforts.
The different components of your marketing technology are centered around four main areas: lead generation, lead nurturing, customer engagement, measuring and optimizing your efforts. It’s a powerful toolkit that helps dealings align their sales and marketing teams, drive business growth and stay competitive in an increasingly digital marketplace by providing:
Increased efficiency: Automate repetitive tasks such as lead scoring and nurturing, email marketing and social media management. This frees up time to focus on higher-value activities such as engaging with prospects and customers.
Improved targeting and personalization: Segment and target your audiences more effectively, based on data such as demographics, firmographics and behavior. This enables your business to deliver more personalized and relevant messaging, which can improve engagement and conversions.
Better analytics and reporting: Access a wealth of data to track performance and measure ROI/ROAS (return on investment / return on ad spend). Martech tools enable you to monitor key metrics such as conversion rates, customer acquisition costs and customer lifetime value. With these data-based insights, your marketing team can optimize your campaign efforts.
Enhanced lead generation and nurturing: Generate more leads and nurture them more effectively through the sales funnel. For example, martech can help you create landing pages, forms and pop-ups that capture prospect information and trigger automated follow-up messages.
Increased collaboration and alignment: Facilitate better collaboration and alignment between your sales and marketing teams, who can use the same tools and data to achieve common goals. This can help to break down silos and improve communication, leading to more effective campaigns and higher revenue growth.
What technologies are included in a martech stack?
44% of B2B marketing professionals have between five and 10 tools as part of their marketing technology stack. 6% have 21+ (Source: Statista)
The martech software that makes up your stack depends on your industry, goals, needs, existing (legacy) technologies and your budget. Let’s look at some examples of the key components:
Marketing automation software automates repetitive tasks, such as email campaigns, lead scoring and lead nurturing. Some of the most popular marketing automation solutions include Marketo, Eloqua and Pardot.
A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a sales platform used to store customer and prospect data, track and manage customer interactions and manage sales pipelines. Popular CRM systems for B2B businesses include Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and Oracle.
A content management system (CMS) helps marketers manage and publish website content. It allows marketers to create, store and publish content without having to write code. Some of the most popular CMS platforms include WordPress, Drupal and Sitecore.
Ecommerce platforms facilitate online buying and selling of goods and services. It includes inventory management, payment processing and order tracking. Businesses that don’t buy and sell online can use ecommerce systems to maintain and update an online inventory of products. Popular ecommerce platforms for B2B include Shopify Plus, Magento Commerce and BigCommerce B2B.
Web analytics systems provide insights into how visitors interact with your website. You can then use this data to support decisions to improve your website. Google Analytics is a popular web analytics system that provides a range of features for tracking website traffic and user behavior.
Search engine optimization (SEO) systems help marketers optimize their websites for search engines, such as Google and Bing. They provide data and insights on keyword ranking, link building and other factors that can impact search engine visibility. Some popular SEO tools include AHRefs, Moz and Semrush.
Social media management solutions help marketers manage and schedule paid and organic social posts. They also provide analytics on engagement, audience reach, etc. Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer are popular social media management systems.
Ad tech is used to manage and optimize digital advertising campaigns, such as display advertising, paid search and programmatic advertising. Some popular ad tech tools include Google Ads, Adobe Advertising Cloud and The Trade Desk. Social media ad platforms such as Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads may also be part of your ad technologies.
What type of martech stack do I need for my business?
As discussed, the technologies in your martech stack will depend on your industry or objective. Here are a few examples of different types of martech stacks and the tools that might be included in each:
A B2B martech stack includes tools for managing and nurturing relationships with business customers, such as:
- Account-based marketing (ABM) platforms (e.g., Terminus, RollWorks, Engagio)
- Sales engagement and automation tools (e.g., Outreach, SalesLoft, Yesware)
- Lead generation and management tools (e.g., Leadfeeder, ZoomInfo, SalesIntel)
- CRM and sales pipeline management tools (e.g., Salesforce, Pipedrive, Insightly)
- Web analytics and optimization tools (e.g., Google Analytics, Optimizely, Crazy Egg)
An e-commerce martech stack comprises technologies for managing online stores and driving sales through digital channels, such as:
- Ecommerce platform (e.g., Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce)
- Payment processing (e.g., PayPal, Stripe, Square)
- Product management and catalog tools (e.g., Pimcore, Salsify, Akeneo)
- Shopping cart integration (e.g., CartHook, Bold Commerce, Checkout X)
- Personalization and recommendation engines (e.g., Dynamic Yield, RichRelevance, Barilliance)
A healthcare martech stack uses tools for managing patient relationships, marketing healthcare services and complying with regulatory requirements, such as:
- Patient relationship management (e.g., Salesforce Health Cloud, Cerner, Epic)
- Telemedicine and virtual care tools (e.g., Teladoc, Amwell, Doctor on Demand)
- Compliance and regulatory tools (e.g., HIPAA compliance software, cybersecurity tools)
- Healthcare content management systems (e.g., Sitecore, Drupal, WordPress)
- Healthcare CRM and marketing automation tools (e.g., HubSpot Health, Marketo, Silverpop)
A media and publishing martech stack includes software for managing content creation, distribution and monetization, such as:
- Content management systems (e.g., WordPress, Drupal, Joomla)
- Digital asset management (e.g., Widen, Bynder, Adobe Experience Manager)
- Ad servers and programmatic advertising platforms (e.g., Google Ad Manager, OpenX, AppNexus)
- Subscription and paywall management (e.g., Piano, Zuora, Chargebee)
- Social media management and publishing (e.g., Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer)
What is integration and how is it implemented?
If you’re new to martech, you might be wondering how to get the best results from your stack of marketing technologies. You can do this by ensuring your martech is correctly integrated. This means that each technology in your stack communicates and works together with the others. This simplifies data transfer and workflows, thus streamlining your sales and marketing processes, increasing efficiency and driving better results.
Unfortunately, not all sales and marketing technologies were designed to work together. Different programming languages or data formats can create compatibility issues or other barriers to effective integration between different technologies.
To help you understand how your tools work together, let’s look at the different integrations:
A comprehensive stack is a suite of tools that offers a wide range of marketing functionalities and is designed to work together seamlessly. For example, HubSpot includes a CRM system, marketing automation platform, social media management tech, email marketing system, analytics and reporting tools and more. HubSpot’s tools are built to work together out of the box, making it easy for businesses to manage all aspects of their marketing operations from a single platform.
A native integration stack uses different technologies and software applications that are designed to work together. For example, Hootsuite has built in integration, allowing marketers to use a single dashboard to manage social media channels– including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram – and some CRM and marketing automation platforms, such as Marketo, Salesforce and Hubspot. Other platforms, such as Zoho, Eloqua and Pardot, will have to be connected through an application programming interface (API).
An API integration stack connects different technologies and software through an API. For example, Shopify offers a range of APIs to create a comprehensive ecommerce solution by connecting a Shopify store with other systems and software applications, such as payment gateways, shipping providers and marketing tech.
A non-integrated stack uses different tools that are not connected and therefore operate independently of the others. For example, a business might be using a standalone email marketing system, a social media management technology and a separate CRM system, with no communications between them. This can lead to data silos and inefficiencies.
What is a martech audit and how will it help my business?
50% of marketers report that their martech solutions are not delivering the expected results (Source: Scott Brinker, Chief Martech)
If your stack isn’t providing the results you expect, an audit can provide valuable insights into the efficiency and effectiveness of your technologies and your marketing efforts. The following list includes a few of the ways an audit might help you to optimize your sales and marketing strategies:
- Improve integration: An audit uncovers difficulties that can arise in connecting or communicating between different tech systems in an integrated or comprehensive stack. If your architecture is not integrated, an audit can determine which tools could be integrated and the recommended method to do so.
- Reduce technology overload: Over time, businesses tend to collect several technology tools, many of which aren’t used effectively (or at all). An audit can help you identify which ones are essential to efforts and eliminate the ones that are not delivering value.
- Eliminate data silos: If you’re using tools that aren’t designed to work together, data silos may prevent you from getting a full view of the buyer journey. An audit can help you identify silos and integrate each piece to avoid duplicated data management efforts as well as duplicated, inaccurate or incomplete data.
- Identify inefficiencies: An audit can pinpoint inefficiencies in processes and areas for improvement. This might include automating manual processes or integrating technologies that are causing duplicated efforts.
- Improve results: An audit can help you identify the metrics that matter most to your goals. Tracking and analyzing the right metrics can help you make informed decisions about your marketing efforts, thereby increasing conversion rates, improving customer engagement, reducing the cost of customer acquisition, maximizing your ROI, etc.
Here’s what you can expect from a martech audit:
- Technology inventory: A comprehensive inventory of all the technology tools you are currently using for sales and marketing.
- Data analysis: Analysis of your data to identify data silos and inefficiencies in your sales and marketing processes.
- Journey mapping: Mapping of your buyer journey to identify opportunities for improvement.
- Metrics analysis: Analysis of your key sales and marketing metrics to determine what’s working, what’s not and what can be optimized.
- Recommendations: A detailed report of recommendations for optimizing your sales and marketing strategies, including technology integrations, process improvements and data analysis.
Make the most of your martech
Martech can be a game-changer for B2B marketing, enabling companies to streamline their workflows, deliver more personalized and targeted messaging and measure their performance with greater accuracy. To make the most of your marketing technology, a company must think strategically about its goals and choose the right tools.
This requires a solid understanding of the martech landscape, including the different solutions available, the benefits and challenges of implementation and the key considerations involved in building a successful stack. By following best practices and leveraging the right tools, B2B companies can unlock the full potential of martech to drive growth and stay ahead of the competition.
If you’re ready to get started, partner with an agency with digital marketing experience. Contact us to learn how Elevation Marketing can help.