How to Optimize Your MarTech Stack for Measurable Business Results
July 11, 2019 | Kirsten Lyons
A robust MarTech stack is essential for many B2B marketers today. In fact, a recent report from Gartner found that CMOs spent nearly 30 percent of their budgets on marketing technology software in 2018, up from 22 percent the year before.
Regardless of your overall budget size, 30 percent is a significant investment—that’s equivalent to what budgeting experts suggest spending on your mortgage or rent!
And as marketers attempt to break through the noise in a rapidly evolving field, maintaining a sophisticated MarTech stack can feel like paying rent. Your MarTech stack keeps a roof over your marketing efforts, from building campaigns, to housing lead data, to keeping your website afloat.
An effective suite of software, programs, and platforms can help improve productivity, simplify business processes, and help prove the ROI of your efforts. But more isn’t always better. To make the most of a MarTech stack, marketers need to continuously evaluate existing tools, identify gaps, and separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.
Regardless of where you are now, optimizing your MarTech stack means auditing your current solutions, as well as adding and removing solutions to make it more effective.
Audit Your MarTech Stack
Continuously evaluating your MarTech solutions will help you determine the effectiveness of your tools, and optimize your ROI. To start evaluating your solutions, consider the two main steps of any successful MarTech audit: survey and evaluate.
Survey Your Stack
Before you can know what’s working and what isn’t, you need to evaluate what’s on the table. Start by listing all of your tools and explicitly stating their functions. But here’s where you have to be honest with yourself: separately list the product’s full functionalities AND the ways you are actually leveraging the tool.
Evaluate Your Tools
Once you have the lay of the land, you can work to identify the two keys to a successful MarTech stack evaluation: gaps and overlaps
Start by listing out the key functions your MarTech supports. By framing your evaluation around functional areas, rather than your existing list of solutions, you can more easily identify your gaps and overlaps. Use a chart like the one below to note each tool in your tech stack, and clearly highlight where you have multiple tools supporting the same function, or weak areas.
P.S. Check out an editable version here to start your audit.
Add New Tools to Your MarTech Stack
Adding a new solution to your tech stack can be exciting, as you imagine transforming your marketing with new capacity and tools. But be sure to avoid getting sucked into shiny object syndrome. With over 7,000 solutions on the market today, you certainly don’t need every single one of them to run a successful and sophisticated marketing program.
Consider questions like these when thinking about adding a new tool to your tech stack:
- Could you upgrade a current tool to get the functionality you’re looking for without onboarding a new solution?
- How long will it take for you to see value from your new tool?
- What team processes and responsibilities will have to change to effectively leverage the tool?
- What specific metrics are you hoping to meaningfully impact with the tool?
Retire a Tool in Your MarTech Stack
Gartner reports that most businesses only see 40 percent of the anticipated value of a technical solution. Understanding when to retire a tool is just as important as onboarding the latest and greatest solution on the market. Look for overlap with other tools (remember your handy function-based chart from the audit step!) and then evaluate what process changes would need to happen in order to implement a switch.
Don’t forget to consider the cost of your team’s time when evaluating a solution. Would shifting from one tool to a different tool save them time? Would it require reestablishing workflows and processes? The humans who make your MarTech work should be a critical element in evaluating if it’s time to retire a tool from your stack.
Your MarTech stack supports many (if not all) campaigns and activities that power modern marketing, and subsequently represents a significant investment. But remember that more isn’t always better. Using these steps to thoughtfully audit your tech stack means you can more effectively use your budget and drive better results for your business.