2017 Guide to Building the Right Marketing Technology Stack

5 years ago it was predicted that by 2017 CMO’s will spend more on IT than their counterpart CIOs.  The analyst mentioned it would be a bit over the top but backs it up with statistics. It’s clear now that the analyst was right on the mark. As we witness the modern marketing integrating with technology even more so, how does one expect to grow their strategy and tactic in the coming years?

Some technologies have become a mainstay in the majority of marketing technology stacks. Below, I note systems that are typically part of the CMO’s tech stack and their application use cases.

But before we dive into the list, let’s define what marketing technology stack is:

A marketing technology stack is a grouping of technologies that marketers leverage to conduct, analyze, and improve marketing activities.

Customer Relationship Management

Known most commonly as CRM, companies use this system to manage records of their customer and their interactions.  It is crucial for B2B marketers, who use it to track touch-points like an email sent, with a timeline and data that can include who contacted the prospect last, and status of the account.  Knowing your customer is important to not only understand acquisition effectiveness, but also retention strategies.

Data Warehouses

These are also called enterprise data warehouses and are used to centralize information from multiple sources, like costs, campaign, and other business information. The data from here can be piped into business intelligence, finance or other analytics systems. This cross-function tool is used across the organization and isn’t strictly used only by the marketing function.  There can also be overlap with functions in a Data Management Platform (DMP) or other analytics systems an organization may possess.

Social Marketing Automation/ Management

These systems, help automate social interactions from a brand and monitor activity on the multiple social platforms, as well as collaboration within the team. Most teams use it to queue content for planned campaigns or promotions. These systems also provide some analytics on the partners and the activities running through them. Some tools provide social listening and sentiment analysis in addition to campaign analytics, enabling teams to agilely “listen” into the right conversations (even the ones from competitors!) and react appropriately. A lot of customers typically vent or praise on social media and social media resources are often found addressing customer concerns. Some review portals or online communities typically need customer support resources to be available.

SEM and SEO Management

Search engine management is done within the search engine provided portals like an Ad-words account. Keywords and trends require research utilizing tools and could utilize content marketing tools for Search engine management or search engine optimization. If a client’s resources managing SEM is at an advertising agency, SEO could be managed internally or by website content professionals. We come across plugins used for SEO in a number of site side systems that help enable management.

Content Management Systems

CMS systems are used to manage digital content and simplify collaboration across teams. It can be used for website content, tweets or to plan keywords. So it could be a single system used by multiple functions within marketing, the agency, and the PR professionals and thus the ROI is justified when it simplifies collaborative drafting, review and approval processes.

Email Marketing System

This has been a marketers’ best friend for the last decade and is also one of the most economical channels to reach consumers. Email addresses are the lifeblood for marketers, even they don’t know the demographic detail of their customers. Email works for acquisitions but is a key part of all retention strategies. Segments and A/B testing within the systems allow marketers to play with creative and messaging and apply learnings within a broader campaign.

Ad Servers

As the name suggests it is a system to serve advertisements in the digital realm. It allows the purchase, performance tracking and optimization of digital ad inventory at scale. Using an ad-server allows control over creative rotation, ability to split-test, centralized management of publishers and data (including all your historical data). The data is available in real-time and allows marketers to react quickly.

Demand-Side Platform

DSP’s help agencies or brands manage and maintain oversight of multiple ad exchanges and data exchanges. Advertisers or agencies optimize for a key performance indicator like clicks and allows them to target, buy, serve and track ads. They provided a way to bid for ad placements, based on designated targeting, incredibly efficiently and in real-time. In these DPS platforms, placements are chosen dynamically and the bidding mechanism is also used to target consumers.

Data Management Platform

DMP’s is often used in the same ways as a data warehouse.  It stores, organizes, and scores into customer audience data, into segments while storing additional info like cookie IDs. They also are used to generate look-alike ids or users who could be targeted for ads. They house campaign data with audience data and help figure out best segments for future media buys and what campaigns/ creatives were most effective. We definitely see bundling of functionalities with the DSP and DMP.

Marketing Measurement / Analytics

We like to refer to this as the intelligence layer on top of the functional layers in media buying, placing and automating serving of ads. It allows for the big picture of what’s working and what’s not working. But at the same time compares purchase paths, channels, publishers and down to creatives’ level. Tactics, strategies, forecasting, and optimizations are available from an independent standpoint. The data collected from different systems are stitched together and a comprehensive view is provided of consumers and media.

Any combination of these tools is typically found from mid-tier to Fortune 100 companies. We found that CMO’s need better intelligence, not just more systems to understand their customers and marketing insights. Better cooperation and consolidation between platforms are likely to continue this year and beyond.


  This post was originally published in MarTech Advisor.

About the Author

Alison Latimer Lohse is the COO and co-founder of Conversion Logic and can be reached at:
Website: conversionlogic.com
Phone: (310) 997-0901 x102
E-Mail: alison@conversionlogic.com

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