How to Choose a Marketing Technology Stack, Part 1 of 7: Introduction

How to choose a martech stack

We were asked recently,

…Would love your thoughts on the base marketing tech stack for a consumer company. Assuming Marketing Automation, Email, CMS…what else?

At first glance, this seems like a fairly cut-and-dried question. What marketing technologies should consumer companies be using? Of course, while the question is direct and succinct, we know from Scott Brinker’s MarTech map of the universe that any answer which involves choices of technology is likely to be bewilderingly complex:

As seen above, in 2016, we saw thousands of marketing technology companies. Choosing a handful from this massive swamp is no easy feat, especially when all the vendor demos promise pretty much the same thing: choose them and you’ll be rich. Choose the competitor and you’ll be fired.

But that’s not the only problem with the question above. There’s a much greater, hidden danger lurking within it: we’re putting the cart far before the horse.

Step back and look at the bigger picture. Marketers tend to leap straight to asking about tools and technology without giving due consideration to basic strategy or using data to inform their decisions. Why are we talking about marketing technology? What business problem do we intend to solve with technology – and is the problem a technology problem, a process problem, a strategy problem, or something else entirely?

We’ve seen this problem recur with every marketing trend over the decades:

  • Focusing on ESPs rather than email strategy
  • Focusing on SEO tools rather than content
  • Focusing on social media tools rather than strategy

Jumping ahead to tools is like asking which cookware we should be using, when we haven’t even decided on who’s doing the cooking or what meal we’re serving.

Consider this diagram of marketing technology deployment I showed in speeches last year:

Technology – how – comes fourth. We make choices about how once we’ve figured out why, what, and who is involved. In this series, we’ll unpack the marketing technology deployment strategy above. We’ll learn how to properly plan a marketing technology stack rollout, develop a sensible governance model, examine what could go wrong, and succeed on the first try rather than patch and duct tape a disaster repeatedly.

Stay tuned!

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

Work at SHIFT

Posted on March 6, 2017 in Marketing, Marketing Technology, Strategy, Tools

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, Leading Innovation, teaches organizations how to implement and scale innovative practices to direct change. Christopher is a highly-sought keynote speaker thanks to his energetic, informative talks. In 2015, he delivered insightful, innovative talks on all aspects of marketing and analytics at over 30 events to critical acclaim. He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero.
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