Understanding your Marketing Technology Stack
You, as a savvy marketer, appreciate the power of First-Person Marketing to cut through all that hectic inbox noise.
Achieving the utopia of well-timed, efficiently-created and target-smashing email requires key intelligence about your valued contacts.
This intelligence is often held in your disparate, but equally valuable, marketing technology systems: your ‘MarTech’ stack. From the humble CRM to browsing history web intelligence and ecommerce systems, the list just goes on. In fact, Scott Brinker’s latest Marketing Technology Landscape has become illegible on anything but an IMAX screen, with over 5000 providers vying for your attention. Back in 2011 (that’s not that long ago, by the way) Scott reported a mere 150. Salad days.
But wait, O savvy one. Before you start launching into kick-off conversations and planning for the day when all your marketing tech automatically sends its key intel back to your ESP, take a step back and remember your email marketing strategy meetings. Remember the goals, the objectives, the conversion rates, the target market… What information do you need to accomplish the First-Person Marketing strategy you presented to the Board some time ago?
By doing this, it will become clear that you don’t need everything from everywhere in order for this to work, and that some of that data and content flow will no doubt already be in place. Chances are you have established a flow of data from your data warehouse or CRM into your ESP, with a number of key demographics for personalization (such as age or gender) coming along for the ride.
Alongside your email marketing goals, it is useful to break down your required marketing tech information into the following four elements, and ask yourself what intelligence you need to know about your contacts for each to be successful:
Once an email has landed in the inbox, your ESP will now start gathering key intelligence – opens, clicks, unsubs, bounces etc. The flow of this intelligence from your ESP is valuable and ensures your source of truth (probably your CRM) gathers all this information about each of your valued contacts. This can also be passed into your BI tools as you build an up-to-date and clear picture around the success of your email campaigns.
A ‘best-of-breed’ approach ensures you are using only the marketing technology your need, served by specialists in each field, and you are not paying for tech you don’t need as part of a ‘one size fits all’ provider. Jack of all trades, master of… etc.
Enter Dark MarTech
You may have heard the term “Dark MarTech” – far from being sinister, this in fact refers to the practice of using homegrown or custom technologies to build a unique stack that fits your business needs. Increasingly popular, it can be a very sensible approach; Econsultancy recently reported 51% of mainstream marketing professionals are utilizing their own Dark MarTech stack.
The important thing here is to keep things simple. Think about the intelligence you need to pass to your ESP from each system. As alluded to already, you won’t need it all for every campaign you run, and you won’t always need it real-time either. For example, will a daily feed of purchase history from the commerce system help satiate the requirement of product recommendations in your weekly news alert?
Keeping things simple will also please your tech teams. I’m going to make an educated guess that your tech team is busy. Application of a simple data flow from your systems to your ESP, with just the information you need, may be all that is required. The spec and scope of an all-singing, all-dancing real-time data integration will struggle to see the light of day on many development roadmaps.
As your requirements grow, your MarTech will need to grow with it. When engaging potential new tech vendors, consider the following:
- What are the must-haves and what are the nice-to-haves?
- What customer service, support and training will you need and receive both at sign-up and ongoing?
- Do they have data flows already in place which will help keep things simple?
With the many thousands of marketing tech companies available it is sometimes easy to be tempted by the new shiny penny and suffer the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). Take (another) step back and make sure any new tech review fits with your goals and what you are trying to achieve with your overall marketing strategy.
A final note
As with anything data-related, have GDPR firmly in the forefront of your mind as you consider data flows between your marketing tech and your ESP. As a savvy marketer, you’ll already have GDPR underpinning all upcoming marketing plans anyway so let’s leave that one there.
Keep it simple, stay true to your goals and make the most of the intelligence you have in your marketing stack to drive a truly successful First-Person Marketing strategy.