It’s Time to Assess Your Marketing Technology Stack
Senior leaders have a problem all too familiar to anyone surprised by the amount of subscriptions taking up space on their credit card statements: Many companies have racked up agreements with marketing technology solution providers over the years, but they’re not using their martech stacks to their fullest extent. In fact, senior marketers are utilizing just 42 percent of the capabilities in their martech stacks, according to a 2022 survey by Gartner of CMOs.
In an ideal world, everyone on the marketing team knows what tools are available to them and has some idea of how to use most if not all of them—including the customer relationship management system, data and analytics solutions, email service, social media accounts and the tools to manage them, and the content management system behind the website. Over time, however, as relationships build across multiple vendors and emerging technologies evolve, the full range of services, subscriptions, capabilities often multiply—leading to an unwieldy martech stack.
This puts marketing leaders in a tough spot for understanding the usefulness of the technologies they have on hand and their need to keep tabs on whether their company should add any best-in-class tools to their martech stack, or make do with what they have.
When a Martech Stack Loses Effectiveness
Over the past decade, advances in digital marketing technology have given marketers access to more information than ever about prospects and existing customers, and insights on how their various campaigns are performing across social media channels. Numerous solutions offer ways to make the marketing function more effective, productive, and accountable, including the ability to automate email responses to prospects, keep track of customer preferences and interactions, entice promising leads to stay in contact, and evaluate how much time website visitors spend on it.
When so many capabilities are added on, however, the overall martech stack can become incredibly complex. As a result many companies lose visibility into what they can do with their technology. During such realizations or times when the marketing budget is under scrutiny, the marketing organization can benefit from an inward look at its tools and consider whether:
- The martech stack is fulfilling the marketing organization’s key goals.
- There’s full awareness of the many solutions that the company is paying for and who is using them.
- Budget changes should necessitate a pullback on underused technologies within the stack.
- Efficiencies can be realized through any upgrades or provider switches.
- More pipeline predictability and higher productivity could be affected if changes to the martech stack are implemented.
While economic reasons often necessitate the need for martech stack assessment, it makes sense to periodically look under the hood to understand what everyone in the marketing organization has access to, and assess the usability of solutions available—and ultimately, make it work so that the technologies are aiding the effectiveness of marketing efforts.
A third-party assessment by experts who have helped companies undergo digital transformations could include some of these questions:
- What do you truly need? What are you getting the most use of? Take inventory of all subscriptions within the company that could be tied to a marketing purpose.
- Why did you sign up for these specific solutions in the first place? Are they fulfilling their primary purpose?
- When was the last time each service was used? If it’s not used on a daily or weekly basis, is it necessary?
- How has each tool improved efficiencies or productivity within the team? Or has the insights it provides become invaluable (i.e., a CRM system’s pace of efficiencies may wane over time but when it’s well integrated with other systems and easy to use, it’s a key asset to marketing efforts).
- How are the tools tied to your go-to-market strategy and goals?
- Do you have cutting-edge technology that’s appropriate for the size of your company and the marketing organization? Is there another solution that would be more appropriate?
- If changes are necessary, what effect would future consolidations among tech providers have on your tech stack?
Working closely with the tech team and any experts you bring in to help you think through these issues, you may discover that it’s time to revisit some partnerships with solutions providers and explore new solutions, or you may realize there are better ways of using the solutions you do have.
In addition to uncovering potential cost savings and efficiencies, a martech stack assessment should ultimately reveal whether the tools you have are enabling the company to deploy marketing messages in the right channel, in the right way. Are your technology solutions hindering those efforts or helping?
Fred Ehle is vice president of the marketing solutions group at RoseRyan, a ZRG company that provides on-demand finance and accounting and marketing leadership and consulting services. He formerly led marketing organizations at Jockey, Redbox, McDonald’s, and PulteGroup.