Today’s marketers want best-of-breed products that work together as if they were a native solution. Marketers can no longer rely on hubs that provide shallow data integrations. Instead, they need solutions that easily control data and automations between products, while also doing a lot of the heavy lifting for them.
Historically though, single suites with eye-popping numbers of features have lured in SMBs unsure where to start. However, such suites’ once-lauded simplicity is now a liability for brands. What’s more, after purchasing an all-in-one marketing solution, most marketers find they only use a fraction of the tools available from their solutions. Even then, the tools they’re using aren't the most advanced as the market constantly welcomes new technologies.
I know that the quick expansion of martech solutions is both exciting and daunting. It’s exciting because more diverse solutions should help marketers be better at their jobs. But it’s daunting because mastering all kinds of technologies brings with it new hurdles and unknowns.
Marketers’ biggest roadblock? Integration challenges.
Coming off decades of using all-in-one solutions, many marketers have no or poor experiences integrating technologies. Admittedly, I’m of the opinion all-in-one solutions can make sense if the integration is more trouble than it's worth. But, for most marketers that’s a last resort, as best-of-breed SaaS solutions are making integration much easier.
To me, here’s what a seamless integration of technologies that act like a native solution should look like:
A good rule – integration requirements should never outweigh the benefits earned from the new solution. That’s not a technology working for you. Conversely, native integrations allow marketers to pair solutions that would otherwise be difficult to use together, sharing developmental and execution responsibilities across them.
The term marketing automation itself implies that marketing automation frees up time, so look for a solution that’s predictive and prescriptive. A solid marketing automation tool does more than use basic logic, it’s smart enough to layer on several logistical elements to free up time for the 80% percent of marketers who say, according to Adweek, they’re understaffed and overloaded with work. For example, an email marketing platform shouldn’t rely on simple “if this, then that” logic. Rather, it should be intelligent enough to jump between multiple workflows to not only save marketers clicks, but optimize results automatically.
With a best-of-breed stack, marketers can quickly assemble a perfect mix of marketing technologies, curated by them, for them. For example, a smaller business may desire marketing solutions that are easy-to-use to quickly reach a wider audience. Conversely, a larger company with more marketing spend may seek out a solution that can integrate with other e-commerce and sales systems. Even the needs of an individual company will adjust as it grows.
SMBs, in particular, adopt new programs faster when they start with a scalable solution rather than classical marketing automation platforms. They can launch new tools as needed and see compounded success as technologies integrate over time. As SMBs grow, they most often realize this is the level of personalization and specialization required to exceed their customers’ ever-changing desires across all touchpoints.
Beyond creating a framework in which new marketing technologies can seamlessly work together, best-of-breed stacks are a response to changes in how marketers want to market. As we’re seeing, the martech space is fit to grow and match these desires.
With the correct marketing automation strategy and platform, businesses can be ready, too. And thanks to advancements in marketing automation, being ready doesn’t have to come at the sacrifice of quality. Marketers no longer have to choose between hefty all-in-one solutions and cobbled-together best-of-breed stacks. Leading best-of-breed stacks now act like native solutions, paving the way for more marketing technologies that are both personalized and work together.