May 31, 2022
By Chantel Hall, Marketing Content Specialist
The pandemic accelerated the need for digital transformations within companies. With that shift comes a wealth of digital marketing tools available to marketers. Eighty-eight percent of B2B organizations use analytics tools, 81% use social media tools, and 78% use email marketing tools to assist with content marketing, and as new marketing strategies become commonplace, new tools are added to marketing tech stacks. Over 2,000 new marketing technology solutions have entered the marketplace since the beginning of the pandemic.1
88% of B2B organizations use analytics tools, 81% use social media tools, and 78% use email marketing tools to assist with content marketing.
-Content Marketing Institute
It can be challenging to determine which tools are worth it and which ones won't add value to your bottom line, especially as marketing teams adopt new digital marketing strategies and find holes in their processes. Companies also make the mistake of creating a complicated technology stack, where data integrations are impossible or not functional, creating problems in the marketing and sales process.
Whether you're working with a limited budget or simply want to keep your team from being overloaded with tools, you can make a lean tech stack work for you with a dedication to serving your buyers and an understanding of your team's needs.
While your buyer's journey is (hopefully) at the heart of everything you do, some marketers don't consider it when building their tech stack. Mapping your tech stack to your buyer's journey will help you determine the actual value of any given tool and keep your tech stack lean.
Everything your team does should be in pursuit of creating a better experience for your buyers, and any tools you consider adding to your tech stack should help them accomplish that. Before building a useful tech stack, understand where your buyers are doing research, how they want to communicate, and how to effectively move them through the funnel. Then, you can understand how any current or potential marketing tool will affect the outcomes of your marketing activities.
Asking the same questions about potential new tools will also help you avoid overloading your tech stack. Instead of just looking at specific features or potential use cases, determine how the tool would fit into your buyer's journey and help you create a better experience for them
Finally, don't use tech as a band-aid; if there are process or personnel issues, address them directly and ensure you’re not just buying a tech solution that will cover up — but not solve — the issue.
Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for marketers to not fully utilize the tools they already have. Depending on when and how marketing tools are implemented, they may have new features you're not utilizing, functionalities that past team members didn't fully understand, or use cases that haven't been considered.
When you've identified a marketing need, check whether you have a tool that might already accomplish what you're looking for or if a process change might address your need before purchasing a new product.
If you find that your team isn't fully utilizing the tools currently in your tech stack, open up a discussion with them about why that is. Are they not solving real-life problems? Does your team feel they haven't been trained well enough or that the tool isn't working as intended? These are all issues you can address, but you need to understand them before you can begin fixing them with additional training or new products.
While evaluating your current tools, be open to the possibility that you may not need to keep every one of them. When talking with your team about why they aren't utilizing a tool available to them, you might find that it's simply ineffective or so burdensome to use that it negates any benefits. In that case, removing the tool from your tech stack might be the best option.
Purchasing new tech as a bandaid for a larger issue is not unheard of in the corporate world, so be on the lookout for tools that could be easily replaced with a simple process or communication fix. You might also find you have multiple tools that accomplish the same thing when working on fully utilizing the tools you already have; consider whether you have to keep both of them or if you can tighten up your tech stack and make do with one of them.
It might not always be simple to get rid of a tool, but if you're committed to keeping a lean marketing tech stack, evaluating whether your team can create engaging, enjoyable experiences for clients with fewer tools is an important measure.
Successful digital marketing requires continual iteration and improvement, and you should treat your lean marketing tech stack much the same. Once you've implemented a tool, make consistent efforts to ensure your team is fully using it as intended and look for ways to help your team be more successful.
Ask the people using the tool regularly how it's performing and whether they encounter consistent problems or frustrations. Remember, marketing technology should empower your marketing team to create a better experience for your buyers. If a particular tool isn't accomplishing that, you need to address it. Talk to the customer service teams the tool’s company provides - perhaps they have a way forward that can enhance functionality.
Develop a dedicated plan for training new employees on all of the tools they'll be using to ensure they understand the purpose of each tool and are using it effectively. It's easy for best practices to be ignored or forgotten when new team members learn as they go or get training from their colleagues who have their own habits and preferences. Give new team members thorough training upfront and make regular training for your entire team a priority.
A lean marketing tech stack can empower your team to create differentiating experiences for your customers while remaining agile. As long as you thoroughly understand your tools and prioritize continued training, a lean tech stack doesn't have to limit your team or your marketing strategy.
1Chiefmartech, The State of Martech 2022, 2022
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