As advertising has steadily become a more tech-centric industry, the world of marketing technology, or “martech,” has grown with it. By 2019, there were over 7,000 unique tools, all promising to elevate lead generation, relationship management, and ultimately, sales, to new heights. If you’re trying to build the best possible marketing tech stack for your company, how can you choose among them? Consider the following five core elements that have a place in every modern marketing system.
Integrated Artificial Intelligence Systems
Years ago, artificial intelligence was an esoteric topic, of interest to academic computer researchers and cutting-edge programmers, but few others. No more; AI has become an accessible tool for any business with robust technology infrastructure, and many organizations rely on it for forecasting, modeling, and decision-making. Further, as more companies discover valuable uses for AI in their current business plans, data scientists have begun to facilitate the integration of machine learning architecture components, such as data management and external system connectivity, into existing networks and systems supported by contemporary IT teams.
Though it might seem like AI is still years away from common usage in consumer businesses, that’s only because so many leading tech companies, like Facebook and Apple, have already managed to fold it effortlessly into their marketing and analytics platforms. Newer AI tools are accessible to more users, and even small businesses that don’t seem like archetypal candidates for AI systems have discovered the revelatory effects of strong AI systems capable of recognizing data patterns that humans might struggle to see.
Smarter Landing Page Tools
The landing page has been a cornerstone of online marketing for years because the formula works: Viewers click ads, and the ad takes them to a page designed to convert. But if your marketing team isn’t taking advantage of the opportunity to observe visitors’ behavior as they pursue your landing page, you’ll never be able to fully optimize the click throughs you earn. Advanced landing page builders like Unbounce and Instapage let you see heat map visualizations of where visitors are spending their time within the page, so you can learn the content that customers find most attractive. You can also run A/B or multivariate testing on your landing pages to invest more of your ad budget into directing viewers to pages that sell.
Better Analytics for Understanding Trends
Everyone responsible for marketing at your company should be not only able to call up the dashboards they need to access granular data easily, but also possess a solid intuitive understanding of how company metrics are trending at any given moment. For that to work, your company needs analytics tools that deliver clear, up-to-the-moment data that anyone on the team can understand. In this segment, Google Analytics is such a clear leader that estimates of its user base range from 30 to 50 million accounts at any given time.
Still, even seasoned marketers sometimes find Google’s interface and complexity frustrating, so if it’s not a popular tool at your office, consider migrating to a different web analytics tool, like GoSquared, FoxMetrics, or Mixpanel. Created to meet various needs that Google hasn’t prioritized, many of these platforms have additional capabilities beyond monitoring and analyzing traffic; with these more specialized tools, you can observe content performance, fight fraudulent clicks on paid ads, and—if you offer software services—learn how customers use your product.
Enrich Data and De-Anonymize Browsing
If your marketing tech stack is bristling with traffic analytics tools, but your conversions still aren’t where they should be, your company would likely benefit from learning more about each visitor. Since most browsing is anonymous, companies don’t know much about the demographics and origins of their traffic other than the broad strokes painted by analytics tools. Data enrichment tools like Clearbit Reveal use visitors’ IP addresses to learn detailed information about each user, down to the industry and company with which the IP address is affiliated.
In tandem with AI solutions like chatbots, highly personalized data like this is the key to embracing the future of individual marketing. Discerning your best-qualified leads and addressing their needs quickly and effectively will lower your acquisition costs and build a broader customer base. De-anonymization tools can also integrate with back-end data management processes to enrich customer databases, creating better client profiles that can be used to inform future strategic decisions.
Stay Organized Behind the Scenes
With the profusion of data, technology, and people that are involved in marketing efforts, it can be extremely challenging to keep information flowing through your organization, integrate the results of everyone’s collaborative efforts, and keep an eye on the broader visions that are driving the company’s direction. Fortunately, the last addition to your stack—productivity management solutions—offers all the user-friendly integration your team needs to stay on track with even the most complex projects. Especially as remote work has become less a stopgap measure and more a new way of doing business, most marketers and managers are familiar with the value of tools for communicating and organizing like Slack, Zoom, and Trello, each of which can easily interface with the others. Business-to-business firms heavily invested in the Microsoft ecosystem have found success with Teams.
Even though communication is critical in a world that’s still largely remote, productivity often happens when employees log out of their email inboxes and messaging apps to focus deeply on demanding tasks. It seems as if there are as many individual productivity tools as there are users, and while you can manage a whole team’s tasks with Trello and similar tools, encouraging employees to develop their own workflows can help them make the most of their unique strengths. Plus, it’s easy to tie together any workflow, no matter how idiosyncratic, with codeless automation services like If This, Then That (commonly IFTTT) or Zapier.
Tech-savvy marketers have more tools than ever to optimize data collection, lead generation, forecasting, and workflow, so as you decide on the options that are essential for your company, consider the major issues that each solution addresses. The five segments above can guide your thinking to help you determine where your budget will go the furthest.