Five Essential Steps to Crafting a Winning Martech Stack Strategy

Martech Takeaways 📈

  • The Martech Industry is Booming. The global martech industry was valued at $344.8 billion in 2021, with an expected CAGR of 29.9% from 2021-2028.
  • Martech Tools are Underutilized. Despite the availability of over 9,500 martech solutions worldwide, only 2% of marketers use their martech stacks’ full capabilities. This suggests a significant opportunity for businesses to leverage their existing tools to improve marketing outcomes.
  • Martech Budgets are on the Rise. 70% of marketers plan to increase their martech budgets next year, reflecting the growing recognition of the value these tools can bring to an organization.
  • Strategic Alignment is Key. Effective martech aligns with core business goals around conversion, engagement, and analytics. A cohesive stack increases productivity, delivers customer insights, and enables remarkable experiences, while disjointed tools can waste budgets and impede progress.
  • Integration Matters More Than Novelty. While the martech landscape constantly evolves, strategic alignment and integration are more important than pursuing the latest and greatest tools. Solutions with robust capabilities that align with business objectives bring lasting value.
  • A Martech Stack is a Collection of Tools. A martech stack is a collection of software tools and technologies marketers use to manage workflows and day-to-day tasks. These tools are layered, each building on the capabilities of the layer below, and an integrated stack aims to drive efficiency by consolidating key capabilities into a unified ecosystem.
  • Benefits of a Martech. A well-designed martech stack increases efficiency, simplifies management, improves collaboration, enhances scalability and boosts creativity. These benefits collectively support effective digital marketing activities and achieving business objectives.

Evaluating Martech Options Remains Key

Evaluating martech demands a strategic perspective amid a rapidly evolving landscape. New solutions can sometimes misdirect, while proven platforms empower growth when aligned to core business goals around conversion, engagement, and analytics.

The ideal martech stack is cohesive yet flexible – integrating solutions that increase productivity, deliver customer insights, and enable remarkable experiences. A disjointed network of tools will waste budgets and impede progress. Notice the martech stack diagram below from 2020, highlighting 5000+ vendors. Here’s the latest.

martech stack diagram

Prudent marketers should regularly review existing platforms and objectively assess their impact. Are capabilities being fully utilized, or is the status quo being perpetuated? Discerningly identify which solutions actively drive results versus those languishing without strategic purpose. Judiciously target needs where new technology can meaningfully advance objectives, whether through testing, personalization, loyalty, or other capabilities.

But strategic alignment matters more than novelty. Robust, interconnected solutions bring lasting value. Still, needs to evolve, so reassessing the stack is key. With a dynamic roadmap guiding decisions, marketers can optimize technology to drive results amid constant disruption.

The landscape will continue to change with innovation and certain tools coming and going. However, by taking a thoughtful approach, marketers can assemble the optimal interconnected stack to increase productivity, derive insights, and deliver remarkable customer experiences. Savvy, data-driven martech decisions separate forward-thinking leaders from struggling laggards. A holistic perspective gives the clearest picture to evaluate options and make strategic choices.

key statistics
  • Only 2% of marketers use their martech stacks’ full capabilities. This is a 16% drop from 2020, when 58% of marketers said they were maximizing their stacks’ full capabilities (Source)

What is a Martech?

A martech stack is a collection of software tools, and technologies marketers use to manage workflows and day-to-day tasks. The term “stack” refers to how these tools are layered, each building on the layer’s capabilities below. While some martech tools can function independently, an integrated stack aims to drive efficiency by consolidating key capabilities into a unified ecosystem.

The goal of a consolidated martech stack is to enable effective, streamlined execution of digital marketing activities. By documenting and combining technologies into a single place, teams avoid constantly switching between disjointed platforms. A well-designed stack also makes it easier to swap out aging solutions as needs evolve.

An effective martech stack should collect, analyze, and apply data insights across channels to optimize engagement. Core capabilities include audience segmentation, campaign performance measurement, and using analytics to inform strategy. The collective technology supports goals across paid, owned, earned, and shared media.

A Video Guide To Martech

In the following video, martech expert Austin Haye shares hard-won insights on building an effective martech stack. With companies increasingly reliant on martech, Haye stresses aligning tools to core goals around analytics, attribution, and data-driven decision-making. Agility to swap platforms, focus on impact measurement, and extract data value are key.

5 Steps in Building a Martech Strategy

Choosing the right tech stack for your business can be daunting. There are thousands of martech options, and selecting tools to support your digital marketing programs is essential.

1. Define your needsOutline your goals and requirements to narrow down options to tools that support your strategies
2. Research the optionsExplore different martech products and identify ones that fit your marketing needs
3. Try before you buyTake advantage of free trials and demos to test drive tools before purchasing
4. Keep it simpleStart with essentials and add capabilities over time, don’t overload stack initially
5. Be prepared to changeRegularly evaluate as landscape evolves, stay open to adding new valuable technologies

Step 1: Define your needs

Defining your needs is the first step in building your martech strategy. Taking the time upfront to outline your goals, requirements, and desired outcomes carefully will pay dividends later in the process. This discovery process lets you document what capabilities you require to execute business objectives and marketing strategies.

You can better evaluate tools and platforms with a clear understanding of functional needs. Prioritizing must-have features and nice-to-have capabilities will help narrow options to find the optimal mix of technologies tailored to your needs. This needs assessment and requirement planning stage acts as the foundation. It provides direction and parameters to streamline your research and tool selection process.

By beginning with the end in mind and articulating the challenges you need to solve, you can identify the right martech solutions that offer compatibility with defined approaches. Anchoring your tech stack on clearly defined needs equips you to build capabilities purposefully based on what will best power marketing success.

Step 2: Research the options

Once needs are defined, the next step is researching options to identify the best martech tools for your marketing requirements. With thousands of platforms and applications available, it is essential to take the time to find solutions purpose-built for your goals. Evaluating different vendors and products can be approached methodically using market research reports, colleague recommendations, analyst reviews, and trial subscriptions.

Key aspects to research include integration capabilities, ease of use, customer support, and cost. You want platforms that play well with each other and with existing infrastructure. Intuitive interfaces reduce training time and maximize user adoption. Responsive customer service provides support when issues arise. And reasonable pricing enables scaling cost-effectively. By thoroughly researching with specific criteria in mind, you can narrow the list to martech tools optimally aligned to your defined needs and strategies.

Useful resources for this process include reports from advisory firms like Gartner and Forrester, peer recommendations in marketing groups, product review sites, vendor webpages, and free trial signups.

Step 3: Try before you buy, always

Test-driving martech solutions using free trials or demos before purchase is invaluable. Evaluating tools hands-on provides firsthand experience with capabilities and fit. Rather than relying on vendor claims, you can directly validate core functionality by putting platforms through their paces. Most martech vendors offer generous trial terms – often 14-30 days – to get comfortable with real-world use cases.

Setting up trials with your shortlist of researched tools and simulating typical workflows is prudent. Execute campaigns, import data, configure settings – whatever your team would do daily. Testing integration with current systems shows connectivity in action versus just claims. Collaborator feedback reveals usability and adoption considerations. Comparing user experience across trials in an objective scorecard can inform buying decisions. Keep an open mind during evaluations – a platform may exceed or fall short of expectations. Taking notes on pros, cons, and must-have capabilities gives clear criteria for selection.

Try before you buy allows deeply experience how martech solutions function in your unique environment. Test-driving high-potential tools equips you to invest in the ideal technologies tailored to your needs confidently.

Step 4: Keep it simple but strategic

When building your martech strategy, resist the urge to overload it with too many tools immediately. Starting lean with just essential capabilities allows thoroughly leveraging each solution. Carefully evaluating the impact of initial tools provides clarity on which additional functionalities would be most valuable.

Once core platforms are productive, purposefully build on the foundation by gap analysis. Which pain points remain unaddressed? Auditing workflows periodically reveal new needs as strategies evolve. With a priority list for high-value add capabilities, judiciously select technologies to fill gaps incrementally. Regularly assess tool effectiveness and retirement readiness. Anchoring your stack on tightly integrated essentials, then selectively adding specialized solutions as warranted, ensures maximum utilization and return on investment.

Step 5: Be prepared to change direction

Given the dynamic martech landscape, being prepared to adapt your stack is essential. As new solutions emerge and needs evolve, consistently evaluate tools against current requirements. If certain platforms become less relevant or effective over time, consider swapping in better-suited replacements.

Experimenting with new capabilities that offer potential value is prudent. Allocate resources to proof-of-concept testing for tools that could enhance workflows or address pain points. The key is maintaining an agile, opportunity-driven mindset regarding martech advancements. Leverage tools like obligation-free trials to validate the usefulness of innovations. With concrete upside demonstrated, judiciously onboard new solutions while sunsetting legacy ones past their prime.

Keeping your stack aligned with changing needs ensures it continues fueling success. With technology rapidly advancing, being ready to make savvy martech investments will keep your capabilities cutting-edge.

The Benefits of a Martech Strategy

Increased EfficiencyConsolidates tools into one place to eliminate switching between applications and save time.
Easier ManagementEnables managing and monitoring marketing operations from a single platform. Simplifies tracking results and measuring performance.
Improved CollaborationProvides a shared platform for better collaboration between marketing team members.
Greater ScalabilityMakes it easy to add new tools as the business grows to support expanded operations.
Enhanced CreativityCentralized data aids in identifying trends and insights to create high-impact campaigns that drive acquisition.

Increased Efficiency

Consolidating martech tools into an integrated stack delivers major efficiency gains for marketers. When solutions are fragmented across disconnected platforms, teams waste significant time toggling between them. This constant context switching severely hampers productivity and makes executing strategies difficult.

A unified martech stack enables seamless movement between tools without disruptive platform hopping. Marketers can manage multi-channel campaigns through one interface, with critical information readily accessible rather than spread across siloed systems. Specifically, streamlining workflows, centralizing data, and smoothing integrations give productivity a major boost. Aligned technology allows brands to accomplish more with scarce resources.

An integrated stack also multiplies efficiency across the marketing team. Unified systems prevent productivity-sapping toggling between platforms and facilitate collaboration. With efficiency compounding organization-wide, brands can unlock far greater collective potential.

In summary, a tightly aligned martech stack provides clear efficiency benefits by consolidating processes and information into a centralized ecosystem. This significantly increases productivity for both individuals and the overall marketing organization. With fragmented tools transitioning to unified systems, marketers gain the bandwidth to better direct their time and skills toward innovation versus repetitive tasks.

Easier Management

An integrated martech stack transforms marketing operations management from a fragmented headache to a streamlined strategy powerhouse. When solutions and data sprawl across disconnected systems, marketers suffer major headaches. Unable to gain a unified view of performance, optimizing campaigns becomes a losing battle.

Consolidation changes everything by centralizing oversight onto a single platform. Now, marketers enjoy comprehensive visibility across the marketing technology ecosystem. Critical customer data and performance metrics are readily accessible without disruptive platform toggling. Holistic analysis of campaign results and ROI becomes possible, empowering faster identification and improvement of underperforming programs.

With workflows and interfaces aligned under one roof, governing marketing technology grows easier. Admin tasks like permissions, uptime, and change control are simplified. Onboarding new marketers speeds up as everyone operates on the same integrated stack. Unified systems mean less workload spent managing platforms and more time focused on strategy.

An integrated stack transforms fragmented martech into a governable optimization engine. Centralized control empowers marketers to maximize performance, streamline administration, and drive better results.

Improved Collaboration

Disconnected martech tools hamper effective team collaboration, as sharing data, insights, and assets becomes difficult across fragmented applications. This impedes seamless collaboration on campaigns and initiatives.

An integrated stack breaks down these barriers by enabling unified access to tools and information. Transparency increases across the marketing organization as team members gain full visibility instead of operating in data silos.

With shared access to customer data, campaign results, and insights, coordination improves dramatically. Marketers can build on colleagues’ work rather than duplicate efforts and easily discover and reuse assets. Streamlined data integration with sales enhances lead hand-offs while finance gains visibility into marketing ROI.

Collaborative features like task management and annotations directly within the unified suite further enhance teamwork. Rather than tracking down colleagues and information across disparate systems, marketers spend more time driving impact together.

Shared access and visibility enabled by an integrated stack transform marketing from fragmented efforts to seamless team collaboration. Unified systems empower smooth coordination, efficient work-sharing, and, ultimately, greater collective impact.

Greater Scalability

The fragmented martech landscape hamstrings scaling, as piecing together point solutions with each new need is tremendously inefficient, creating technical debt over time. In contrast, an integrated stack built on a common platform delivers seamless scalability.

New capabilities and capacity can be added quickly through the centralized interface rather than tacked on. Tools tap into shared libraries and data models, ensuring workflows remain intact. With this unified architecture, expanding the stack becomes rapid, low-risk, and more seamless.

The composable nature of modern suites allows marketers to mix and match modular tools to meet emerging needs. Custom configurations simplify scaling into new markets or supporting new product lines without fragmentation.

This agility allows brands to right-size investments across growth phases. A lean stack reduces early overhead, while new analytics and automation tools can be switched on as the business expands. Rather than hindering growth, a scalable stack ensures technology enables it.

In short, an integrated martech ecosystem empowers frictionless scaling to match organizational growth. Instead of cumbersome point solutions, a unified landscape flexes to support new capabilities, capacities, and strategies on demand.

Enhanced Creativity

Fragmented marketing data and insights stifle creativity, as siloed customer information across disjointed tools makes connecting dots and spotting trends difficult. This limits the development of breakthrough campaigns tailored to buyer needs.

However, a unified stack centralizing data into a single source of truth fundamentally enhances creativity. Consolidated first-party data provides a 360-degree customer view, revealing previously hidden insights through holistic analysis. Seeing the complete journey enables more relevant, personalized experiences. Marketers can identify moments when specific offers will resonate most with individuals.

These unified insights inform the development of creatives, content, and campaigns that deeply resonate with customers. And with integrated data, marketers can experiment boldly without fear of downstream impacts across siloed systems.

I know … it sounds like a lot to your customers to think about just for an investment into a marketing tool. But you really can’t put a price tag on efficiency and effectiveness. Besides, sales and marketing teams use technology to operationalize their B2B social media marketing strategy.

Final Thoughts

In today’s rapidly evolving martech landscape, strategic alignment and integration represent the cornerstones of a powerful martech stack. The ideal configuration is cohesive yet flexible – integrating solutions that bolster productivity, deliver customer insights, and enable remarkable experiences. Integrating brings more value than chasing the latest fads by aligning technology with core business goals around conversion, engagement, and analytics.

The benefits of a tightly integrated martech stack are multifaceted. Increased efficiency, simplified management, improved collaboration, enhanced scalability, and boosted creativity collectively amplify the impact of digital marketing programs. As the landscape advances, marketers must take a thoughtful approach to assemble an optimal set of interconnected technologies. This empowers both productivity and insights to craft remarkable customer experiences.

With these foundational elements, forward-thinking marketers can separate themselves from the competition. While new tools will come and go, a cohesive stack aligned to strategic needs positions teams to execute effective campaigns today and rapidly adapt tomorrow. With technology and business objectives in sync, marketers demonstrate visionary leadership amid constant disruption.

hot take

So, you’re telling me that in a world with over 9,500 martech solutions available, only 2% of marketers use their martech stacks to their full potential? That’s like buying a Ferrari and only driving it in first gear. And don’t even get me started because 70% of marketers plan to increase their martech budgets next year. It’s like they’re just throwing money at the problem without actually understanding how to use the tools they already have. Here’s a thought: instead of chasing after the latest and greatest martech solutions, maybe we should focus on strategically aligning and integrating the tools we already have. Because, at the end of the day, a martech stack is only as good as the strategy behind it.


What does Martech mean?

Martech is a term that combines “marketing” and “technology,” referring to the software and tools marketers use to plan, execute, and measure their marketing campaigns.

What is an example of Martech?

Examples of Martech include email marketing platforms like Mailchimp, content management systems like WordPress, and customer relationship management tools like Salesforce.

What are the concepts of Martech?

The concepts of Martech revolve around using technology to streamline marketing processes, gather and analyze data, and enhance customer engagement and conversion rates.

What are Martech tools in Marketing?

Martech tools in Marketing are software applications and technologies that assist marketers in managing workflows, analyzing data, and executing digital marketing strategies.

What are the benefits of having a Martech stack?

The benefits of having a Martech stack include increased efficiency, easier management, improved collaboration, greater scalability, and enhanced creativity in marketing campaigns

Michael Brito

Michael Brito is a Digital OG. He’s been building brands online since Al Gore invented the Internet. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.