What is a Marketing technology stack?
A marketing technology stack is a group of technologies that marketers leverage to conduct and improve their marketing activities. Often, the focus of marketing technologies is to make difficult processes easier, to measure the impact of marketing technologies and drive more efficient spending.
Why Marketers care about their marketing technology stack?
The marketing technology landscape is rapidly evolving, with countless marketing technology and advertising technology start-ups going after marketing dollars. Not all marketers are using marketing technology in the same way, but trends and best practices are emerging for taking full advantage of data to gently drive prospects through the marketing funnel and to provide personalized service to customers.
Elements of a marketing technology stack
1. Marketing automation software
Marketing automation software exists with the goal of automating repetitive marketing tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. For many marketers, their marketing automation software is the centerpiece of the marketing stack. The leading brands in the arena are ExactTarget, Marketo, and Oracle | Eloqua. For now, many marketers use their marketing automation software as a glorified e-mail newsletter platform, but these platforms can do much more. Using marketing automation systems, marketers can segment their audience by company size, industry, job title, and deliver to these segments precise nurture flows to drive them to relevant content. Marketing automation systems can also implement lead scoring programs that help marketers send only the most qualified leads to sales (and the sales team’s CRM systems).
2. Business Intelligence Databases
These products, which are provided by IBM, Oracle, SAP, Tableau Software, Domo, and many others, allow companies to analyze their big data and derive insights about what’s working and what’s not. These software packages allow businesses to create dashboards, charts, and other visualizations for easy analysis of data. For instance, a marketing team can use this kind of software to create dashboards that track leads, sales opportunities, and revenue generated by marketing qualified leads.
3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems
Customer relationship management systems, such as those provided by Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, Salesforce.com, NetSuite, and SAP, are typically deployed and used by sales and account management teams as their customer systems-of-record. Like business intelligence software, CRM systems provide dashboards that allow sales chiefs to quickly see the sales pipeline, number of leads, deals closed, and other critical data. For the individual sales people, the system allows account and contact management and enables them to track their activities against their pipeline of accounts. Leading CMOs integrate their marketing automation system with CRM systems, and, when done properly, this integration can help improve communication between sales and marketing regarding lead generation, lead qualification, and marketing -sourced deals.
4. Content Management Systems
For most marketers, a content management system (CMS) allows fast and easy posting and changing of content on the corporate website. The best systems allows designers and content producers to post, replace, and correct text, images, and videos without relying on the information technology department to dot every I and cross every T. The best content management systems take a change on, for example, a website and then allow users to instantly make that change elsewhere, such as in catalogs or on mobile pages. Additionally, the most useful CMSs tap into data to automatically serve relevant content based on a user’s previous visits or demographic and business demographic information, such as geolocation, industry, or job title, contained in their cookie. Leaders in this arena included Abode, OpenText, Oracle, and SiteCore.
5. Blogging Platforms
Content marketing is critical to attracting prospects and customers to a marketer’s website. For content marketers, there is a range of blogging and general-purpose content publishing platforms such as Glam Media’s Ning, Moveable Type, Oracle’s Compendium, and WordPress. These platforms stress ease of use, both for designing templates and for day-to-day content creation. Beyond this ease of use, these blogging platforms are designed to push out content – via e-mail newsletter, search engine optimization aids, and RSS feeds – to your target audience. The best blogging platforms also provide easily accessible data on readership, traffic, and time spent on individual posts.
6. Data Management Platforms
Adobe, Aggregate Knowledge, BlueKai (acquired by Oracle), CoreAudience, Krux, and Lotame are the leading data management platforms (DMPs). A DMP uses first-party and third-party cookies as well as application programming interfaces (APIs) to create audience segments that marketers can then target with their online advertising. Using this data, marketers can measure the performance of their ads targeting these audience segments and optimize them to improve performance.
7. Analytics Tools
Analytics tools provide a data-driven window into a marketers’s web traffic. These tools offer insight into where users come from, what search terms or ads are driving website traffic, what pages are sticky, and where visitors are exiting the site. Analytics leaders include Adobe Web Analytics, Chartbeat, Google Analytics (which is free for sites generating fewer than 10 million monthly hits), KISSmetrics, and Mint.
8. Social Media Management Software
Social media management software is available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many software products help with a range of objectives that can include social listening, post scheduling, social selling, customer care, analytics, curation, and promotion. This software can use data to help marketers discern what kind of posts and which social networks are delivering the most traffic and conversions. Among the leading social software brands are Adobe Social, Buddy Media/ Radian6/ Salesforce, HootSuite, Vitrue/ Oracle, Sprinklr, Sprout Social, TweetDeck, Viralheat, and WebTrends.
9. Predictive Lead Scoring
Predictive lead scoring vendors, such as FlipTop, Infer, KXEN (an SAP company), and Lattice Engines, use big data to help marketers and sales teams identify the best sales leads. Predictive lead scoring engines perform a statistical analysis on the best-performing leads with the goals of determining what hundreds or thousands of factors are the best predictors of success. For instance, is the size of the company or what medium generated the lead a better predictor of success than whether the lead’s company is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) or just moved to new office space?
10. Customer Service/ Call Center Software
Customer service software, such as Freshdesk, inContact, TeamSupport, and Zendesk, enable support to help call centers answer customer questions and solve customer problems asa easily and as quickly as possible. The best systems tap into a unified customer database, so that the employees on the front lines have easy access to customer history – including both offline and online interactions – so that, for instance, the call center worker isn’t asking questions that the database already has the answer to.
11. E-Commerce Platforms
Among the leading enterprise e-commerce platforms are IBM WebSphere, Oracle ATG, and SAP’s Hybris. E-commerce platforms straddle the divide between marketing and sales. No matter which department controls this function, the data derived by delving into sales patterns is invaluable to understanding who are buying, what they’re buying, and how much they’re spending. E-commerce also offers tremendous marketing opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell customers. The capability to suggest other products either on the spot or in subsequent e-mails gives marketers the opportunity to make sure customers buy ancillary products from you and not from your competitors.
12. Search Engine Management Platforms
SEM platforms are designed to help marketers manage, automate, and optimize their search engine marketing and pay-per-click campaigns. The most sophisticated platforms enable marketers to develop intelligent bid strategies, optimize creative, identify the most effective keywords, and provide analytics to measure performance. These platforms use data and attribution to allow marketers to measure cross-channel performance among display, mobile, search, and social campaigns. Among the more recognizable platforms are Kenshoo and Marin Software.
13. Demand-Side Platforms (DSP)
A demand-side platform (DSP) is a software platform that enables marketers and their agencies to use real-time bidding (RTB) on multiple online advertising exchanges to purchase display ads across thousands of online publishers. Using RTB, which is an electronic bidding process akin to the way stocks are sold on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ, the DSP allows marketers to bid on ad impressions based on their desire (or lack of desire) to reach an individual web visitor based on his or her demographics, online behavior, or both. With RTB, DSPs provide marketers an automate, centralized, and scaled approach to audience targeting – and the transaction take milliseconds, occurring billions of times a day across the Internet. Among the leading DSPs are MediaMath and Turn. Supply-side platforms (SSP) are similar to DSPs, the key difference is that an SSP is designed for the supply side of the ad-buying equation – the online publishers – to maximize their price per impression. AppNexus is a leading SSP.
Source: The Big Data-Driven Business: How to Use Big Data to Win Customers, Beat Competitors, and Boost Profits