In an environment defined by change, marketers have accepted that monitoring and strategic pivots in line with data-driven insights are critical to staying ahead of the curve.
Understanding these requirements and utilizing marketing technology correctly, to keep on top of continuous demand across industries, can prove extremely challenging for many marketers.
Conceptualizing The Modern Marketing Stack
Marketers often describe the marketing stack, or martech stack, as a collection of software that marketing teams use to support their trade. Yet each stack's nuances are critical, and their potential reaches far beyond the borders of marketing.
Thinking about stack architecture first and foremost is about asking the right questions. It is equally crucial to apply the right lens to answer those questions.
Marketing stacks don't just support marketing teams and their efforts -- they support the full spectrum of client experience strategy.
SEO is also both a horizontal and vertical function, providing foundational business intelligence and behavioral insights (what the customer wants to know and when) in real-time. With informational needs spanning across most departments and technologies, applying an SEO lens across the organization is an effect development (or re-development) approach.
Many marketers often struggle with documenting and understanding the marketing stack's architecture. Too often, point solutions have been added to meet specific needs and patched in, cobbled together, or worked around.
Organizations are now evolving and organizing their marketing stacks with insights and performance measurement becoming central to success.
Positioning customer experience at the center, the central stack informs the customer journey's outer circles (represented here as I'm aware, I shop & I buy, I install & I use, and I renew). Complementary tools can be changed over time through this type of view while maintaining a consistent foundation of data-driven insights.
Aligning Your Marketing Stack To The Customer's Journey
Mapping the customer journey and the digital touchpoints throughout each stage provides insights on the channels that can provide rich customer data — and where strategists best leverage that data.
The thought process here is critical. Placing the customer at the center of our view enables us to map technologies aligned to channels, touchpoints, and core business objectives, supporting CMOs in articulating how their work and how the data and insights facilitated by their marketing stacks contribute to meeting these goals.
To push the potential of data-driven insights beyond the boardroom (or home office), visualize your marketing stack with content and SEO at the core. This approach helps to communicate more clearly to the C-suite the value SEO insights offer as your closest approximation to the customer's real-time voice.
Deepening your organization's understanding of consumer search behavior supports organic search and everything from content marketing and paid-media management to product development and customer support.
Every piece of content, every function designed to help the user experience, everything placed on a company's website – or operating in the background to make it function – should be evaluated through an SEO lens, to ensure that decisions made around coding, design, and content support the customer's journey and the company's success.
Change Is Constant
Marketing stack assessment should be built into annual plans, with review of data and insights. The integration between technologies in the stack is also critical.
A well-designed marketing stack ensures integration and activation of data across platforms, teams, projects, and departments. Without this holistic approach, your marketing stack can become an assortment of disconnected tools, leading to a potentially disappointing client experience. The ideal platforms support multiple functions and integrations – providing a base upon where other supporting technologies can be added.
Search engine optimization (SEO) should be a foundation of your stack. SEO insights represent the best real-time representation of your customer's voice, and will help stakeholders in an organization activate their data while automating some of the most time-consuming and repetitive SEO tasks.
CMOs who communicate the benefits and value of their marketing stacks and SEO insights will be well-positioned not only to survive the current challenges, but to thrive and to help lead the industry.