I have been a start-up marketer and I have been an enterprise marketer. In most every situation, I have seen tech stacks that were overcomplicated because they were built on the fly. A tech stack should be a tool that enables you to do what you do in a more efficient fashion. However, sometimes it feels as if marketers complicate their stack to justify their existence. They can be locked into their roles for a long time because they know nobody else will be able to unravel what they established.
One of the best experiences I had was in a start-up where I came onboard, and the chief product officer had already established the basics of the tech stack. He came from the martech space (I had already worked with him in two other companies) and he understood the role that technology plays in go-to market.
One could argue he knew more about the tech stack than I did, which was a great partnership. He had vetted his options and thought like a marketer when he set up the marketing platform.
Also, his selections plugged in rather seamlessly to the business engine, so the two were intertwined and they just worked. When I came in and took over our marketing efforts, we could pass insights back and forth. I had a full view (and access) to the business stack alongside the marketing stack and I could get a full view of the customer’s journey.
With this CPO, there was no territorial approach that competed with the unified goal of just getting stuff done (#GSD for those who know). If you wanted to see how customers engaged with the page, you could. Want a single view of customers in a simple database that connected with CRM and communications? That was easy. It just worked.
It worked because marketing, product and sales were closely aligned, working out of the same technology and toward a common goal. It worked because the person responsible for the stack took the time to ask, “What will the other groups need?” and designed a stack that met those needs.
Once the stack was live, any decisions about additions or changes were done as a group, with representation from all three teams. Too often changes to a tech stack are made because a new executive had a preexisting relationship with some tool, and they preferred that. They like the UI, and they want what is familiar to them, but what is familiar may not be the best for your situation.
Another time challenges come up is when you make corporate acquisitions and bring in a new team which has their own stack and they look to keep it. That decision is never an easy one, but integration is a must. You cannot operate as a unified business leveraging multiple tech stacks.
Your personal decisions around the tech platforms or stack to use should be secondary to crafting a stack that enables a strong, positive experience for your customers. Your customers come first, and your personal preferences should come second.
As an industry, it would serve us well to keep that in mind. Your customers’ needs should be stationed above your own. If you do that well, then just maybe you will make things easier for everybody.