Integrate Functions and Technology: The MarTech Stack

When 96% of any group votes in favor of something, that’s a landslide. So, for those of us in the Marketing Technology business, the results of a recent Marketo study are worth our attention. According to the 2017 Marketing Benchmark Report – North America report published by Marketo a full 96% of the 1,300 plus respondents said that integration of new applications with existing MarTech stack platforms was vital. The finding is even more significant because over 2/3s of those same marketing organizations plan to add tools to their MarTech stack in the near future.

Almost all (96%) firms say it’s critical that any new marketing technology be able to integrate with the tools/platforms they currently use.

– Marketo 2017 Marketing Benchmark Report

It’s probably obvious that integration across the MarTech stack maximizes the value of each application, kind of like 1+1=3. It would seem equally obvious that organizations are making application integration a top priority too. Yet in our experience there is a discrepancy between what marketing organizations say is important and what they are doing. In fact, the majority of our clients have many silos of technology supporting related functions. So, what’s the disconnect?

Elements of the Stack

Fully 40% of respondents say their company uses 6-10 martech tools/platforms.

– Marketo 2017 Marketing Benchmark Report

Just how many applications may be part of a stack? See the logo “farm” in this post from Verndale. Let’s look at the typical MarTech stack. The “stack” in marketing is closer to a hive, with specialized tools or applications for very distinct needs with varying degrees of overlapping information and use by internal teams. Complementing the CRM solution, there is a marketing automation product (Marketo, Pardot, Hubspot), customer success systems (Gainsight, Totango) which may also capture Net Promoter scores, plus content marketing (Kapost, HighSpot, TechValidate) and, of course, the customer communities (Jive, Socious). Often a product is brought into the hive or stack to address a critical problem without consideration of how that function is interconnected with others. The immediate need for a solution trumps the big picture. After all, why does it matter if the content management app works with the customer community?

A Case for Working Together

It is no secret that stand-alone, siloed systems are the bane of both IT and line-of-business users. The whole point of MarTech tools is that they automate processes to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing programs, right? So, it makes sense that anything that impedes the efficiency makes a tool or platform less useful – or even an impediment. Companies that continue to leave MarTech integration to chance are missing out on an important opportunity leverage both the technology investment and value of consolidated information and coordinated activities.

How to Get There

If your MarTech tools aren’t a harmonious symphony of integrated applications, and you agree there are benefits to making that happen, maybe it’s time to be the catalyst. Form a cross-functional team to discuss intersection points for data and activities, and find commonalities where tools ought to be talking to each other. Get your vendors involved and make sure any additions to the stack can integrate seamlessly.

If Salesforce is at the center of your MarTech universe, you’re in luck. Salesforce is a platform designed to make integration a reality. Most of the stack components on the market have recognized Salesforce as the CRM leader and have out-of-the-box integrations. By fully leveraging the connectivity potential of Salesforce you create added value to each component and to the investment in CRM in general. Your Salesforce enablement team is your go-to resource for help selecting and ensuring inter-connectivity between various stack components. Partner with them and watch your company’s investments in the MarTech stack multiply, and your marketing effectiveness soar.

If you’d like to learn more about our contribution to the MarTech stack, built around Salesforce, explore ReferenceEdge for customer advocate management.

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