The Strategic Importance of an Integrated Marketing Stack

5 minute read

The meteoric rise of Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape continues to amaze, confuse, and delight both technology suppliers and their valuable users across the 11,038 solutions which comprise the annual Supergraphic. Only five short (long?) years ago, there were only 5000.

From the viewpoint of Upland Software, a technology provider spanning email, SMS messaging, and audience development across established verticals, delivering the right technical integrations for our customers is vital.

We are constantly monitoring the landscape to isolate parallel technology, which can enhance the performance of both our solutions, the integrated partner, and most importantly, satiating the use cases of our customers.

Although established, the verticals in which our customers work are constantly evolving, as are the technology landscapes. This living, breathing organism of changing customer demands and use cases pulses within the technology environment used to deliver continued engagement and ultimately conversions.

An evolving approach is composable technology, referring to a modular approach of assembling marketing tools and platforms, allowing for flexible integration and customization to meet specific business needs.

Selecting a technology solution is a massive decision, with resources and budgets at the forefront. Alongside the native capabilities of the technology, their integrations with other solutions can be seen as additional capabilities and vital when selecting the solution to be suit your needs.

To explore the importance of technical integrations in your marketing landscape, consider the key facets of what a successful integration comprises.

But wait, before this, remember to never lose focus of the overall goal of your marketing strategy. Clearly defined objectives, and incremental conversions through the funnel which suits your vertical, should remain front and centre of all technology considerations.

With goals defined, it would be remiss not to start with data. Your customers, your customer’s customers, subscribers, their preferences, purchase history, demographics, etc.

Securely exposing your marketing technology and its integrated partners to your data source is the building block for successful multi-technology usage. Connection to your single source of truth, or single customer view, where all the intelligence about your valuable data resides, should be a driver in technology and integration selection.

Your marketing technology and associated integrations need to work seamlessly in concert with your database, CDP, CRM, etc., to ensure all intelligence gleaned from customer interactions as a result of the technology integration is delivered back to the single customer view.

Also consider the data flow between the two integrated platforms; for example, an email marketing platform and an ecommerce solution. Utilising purchase history to drive cross- and up-sell can be a productive, and ultimately automated process with an integration. A successful integration will ensure opt-in processes are respected, drawn from the data source, and provide a timely flow of data metrics resulting from the integrated campaign.

Where there are multiple integrated marketing technology providers, successful reporting and attribution will inform decisioning, both strategic and automated, for future campaigns. Consistent tagging across all the integrated solutions will enable the data source to consolidate and retain this valuable information with each contact.

From our point of view, we understand one technical integration has many use cases. Although the integration technology passing data or content is uniform, the application across our customer base will vary for customer to customer. It is important we surround our technical connections with the strategic support expected for any of the native capabilities, all combined to provide the best outcome from customer to customer.

Following on from that, we approach our technical integrations as a partnership, growing and evolving with the partner, and their extended capabilities over time, as well as tessellating with our native product technologies. Being supported through these evolutions of technology—both native and integrated—should form the basis of strategic support you receive.

It would be a misconception to view a technical integration between marketing technology as always a large scale and time-consuming effort resulting in a big red button in each solution which magically connects them. It is important that technology providers are agile in their approach to integrations. There are many types of connection which fall under the banner of integration, it could be a simple as an API connection of data which runs daily to pass new data from into a technology solution from a CRM to facilitate an automation sequence. This would be the other end of the scale to larger white labeled OEM transformation integrations. Both have their place in the conversation around integrations and their importance.

An obvious benefit (but worth highlighting) of integrated marketing technology is cost-saving, or rather, spending less. Users of marketing technology which is integrated to some level to their parallel technology will reduce costs for both technical set-up and resourcing. Alongside this, you can trust the marketing technology providers to maintain the integration and as we stated above, evolve with the solution.

A recent addition to the integrated family at Upland, Zapier, offers another efficiency (and therefore cost saving) when looking to set-up quick time-to-market data connections using iPaaS. Quite simply, our customers connect to Zapier and in turn Zapier can connect to a myriad of marketing technologies.

There will be very few marketing technology articles written in 2024 without mentioning AI. This is no exception. Marketing technology companies are busy developing tools, integrating with such solutions as ChatGPT and OpenAI. This initial generative AI usage within established marketing technology will come with key security measures built in as caution needs to be exercised when working with new AI tools directly, from data security, content vetting and copyright considerations.

Marketing technology will continue apace to integrate with evolving AI technology landscape with—from the Upland point of view—a clear direction and charter to deliver safe, responsible, iterative AI experiences to remove tasks, not people.

To wrap, it is vital that marketing technologies are embracing the evolving landscapes for their customers, and the landscape of the channels they operate in, to deliver integrated capabilities which help their customers build marketing campaigns which deliver results.

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