Want to make your brain hurt? Take one look at a map of the marketing technology landscape.
Marketing technology is a vast and growing space, and there are a lot of logos vying for your attention. It’s hard to know where to start.
We’ll help you out. Here are the five essential technology categories for building, executing, and analyzing your modern marketing strategy.
Sales Force Automation Software
Visibility into opportunities and customers (and how they became opportunities or customers) is critical for evaluating your marketing efforts. You do this with a CRM, which helps organizations track and predict buyer behaviors, manage the sales process, and close deals more effectively. For the modern marketer, these tools link your marketing efforts to revenue generation.
Also, this is where sales teams live. Your CRM is an important tool for communicating with sales reps and providing them with the content and tools they need to get signatures.
Social Marketing Platform
Content distribution and audience development are big parts of a modern marketing strategy. After all, to get your message to the right people and to drive target buyers to your website and content, you need to know where and how to reach them.
This is where social media platforms factor into the technology equation. With these tools, your marketing team can manage and track community engagement, interact with your target audience in real-time, participate in important conversations happening online, and share important content assets strategically. Social marketing platforms also analyze these efforts, helping your team evolve and hone social initiatives moving forward.
Marketing Automation Software
Tracking and responding to buyer behavior at every stage of the purchase process is critical. Marketing automation makes these interactions not only possible, but effective.
Marketing automation software allows marketing teams to track the digital body language of web users and score them based on their actions. Certain criteria indicate purchase intent and where individuals are in their unique buyer’s journey. Marketing automation software allows marketers to build demographic- or interest-based nurture tracks for people who aren’t quite ready to talk to sales, but may be in the future. Also, as with the other tools on this list, activity is tracked and analyzed, so you can see how leads and opportunities interact with your company throughout their journey.
For the most part, your website is the hub through which all leads filter. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, some opportunities are event attendees or direct referrals. But pretty much everyone else funnels through your website during the purchase process. Your website houses everything from landing pages, content assets, event registration pages, blogs, resources, pricing details, etc.
In the new buyer’s journey, prospects do their own research. They search for answers to their questions, and research topics and tools long before they want to speak to a sales rep. Most of this process happens online. And when people search for your company or subjects relevant to your business, you want to make sure they find your website.
Content Marketing Software
Between key developments in the industry and the importance of content in attracting, nurturing, and closing deals, content marketing software has arrived on the scene as the latest must-have marketing technology.
All of the tools above require content in one form or another. Your website needs content to attract buyers, prove value, and generate leads through form submissions. Sales needs content to be seen as a thought leader on the topics that are important to buyers. Social strategy is fueled by sharing content across channels and conversing on topics that resonate with your audience. You need content to share with buyers at every stage of the funnel, delivered based on their interests and needs through marketing automation software.
Content marketing software manages the production of content assets, the distribution of content to each of the tools mentioned above (and more), as well as the analysis of those efforts. It tells you exactly which content assets are driving opportunities and revenue for your organization.
These five tools are the essentials. Each focuses on a different, yet key piece of a modern marketing strategy. And when they’re all in sync (as they should be), they maximize the value of your investment. Of course, there are many add-ons that can make content more compelling, your website better optimized, your data more accurate, etc. But when it comes down to it, these five tools make up the must-have technology mix for your marketing organization.