Blog Technology

The martech checklist: See how you stack up.

You can’t be a modern marketer without investing in marketing technology, or martech. Martech is the term for the front- and back-end applications and systems that marketers use to plan, execute, and measure marketing campaigns. There is a lot to consider, and there’s a lot of money to invest. We’ve found it helpful to think of martech as part of a core IT–fast IT framework.

Frequently, our technology engagements with brands start somewhere between an organization’s systems of record (or core IT*) and systems of engagement (or fast IT*). Systems of record include enterprise resource planning (ERP), product information management (PIM), and the data associated with connecting supply and logistics to put products in a customer’s hands. Systems of engagement, like a website, marketing automation, and so on, are how customers interact with the brand and, hopefully, the systems of record somewhere down the line. From these two systems, your marketing technology stack, or martech stack, is born.

Wow, that was easy—or was it?

Probably not. For most large businesses, decisions about the systems of record and systems of engagement are made in two different rooms by two different groups of people. Imagine, if you will, that you were digging a tunnel with two groups of people starting at opposite ends and a plan to meet in the middle, but somehow, when both groups get to their midpoint, they are not lined up with the other group. Disastrous! I know, right?!

For smaller businesses, the decisions might be made by a committee of the same people but at different times in the business’s lifecycle, and as things gradually evolve (and they always evolve), suddenly everything comes undone. The undoing, which is often subtle, starts to break down your martech stack in small ways. Repetitive tasks to maintain the status quo, seemingly small customer complaints, slow performance, increased troubleshooting—they all add up.

 

Stacking Up!

There is a light at the end of this tunnel, and it doesn’t have to be an oncoming train. There are simple but effective planning exercises that can help you understand where you are and where you want to go, and you should always be mindful of these two big things: delighting customers and growing your business. The process goes a little something like this:

1. Invite the right stakeholders from across the business, and remember the tunnel that didn’t meet up.

This will help prevent you from re-creating that scenario. You will want this to be a safe and honest space.

2. Decide what you want and determine the requirements. (They might overlap, and that’s OK.)

  • One set to delight your customers
  • One set to grow and serve the business

3. Map out your current stack.

Create a map of how your stack (martech stack, digital ecosystem, whatever you would like to call it) is set up currently. Don’t forget to connect the systems with lines that show the data relationships.

4. Identify the gaps.

Where are the requirements not being met? How are the systems holding you back?

5. Draw the ideal or future state stack.

What would it look like if you were nailing every requirement?

6. Review your options.

What technologies will help you put your new stack together in a way that will be feasible to scale and maintain while delighting your customers and growing your business?

7. Roadmap your priorities.

When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority, so establish what will have the biggest impact with the least complexity. Do those things first. Then continue to evolve based on the requirements.

8. Iterate.

Get the band back together as often as you can to continue evolving the plan. Your business will change, the market will change, and your customers will change.

At GLG, we provide technology solutions and advisement covering system integration, web development services, e-commerce solutions, mobile application development services, managed hosting, and more. We’d be happy to share our martech expertise to make your marketing initiatives and investments more effective.

 

*Andy Singleton, “Unblock! A Guide to the New Continuous Agile,” http://www.continuousagile.com/unblock/ea_fast_it.html.