The Marketing Technology Stack: What, why and do you already have one?

By: Ryan Ruud

Today’s business landscape requires every advantage possible. Heritage industries like automotive, financial services, and retail, the stalwarts of economic engines, are getting disrupted by scrappy young startups that are fast, adapt to early customer feedback and embrace lean startup methodology.  The biggest advantage startups gain however, comes in the adoption of a sales and marketing technology stack.


marketing narrow


As we start a new year, no matter where your organization is on the lifecycle curve, make 2017 the year of thoughtful adoption of a marketing technology stack. In a future post I’ll dive into the design of a marketing technology stack, but for today, I’ll answer who, what and why questions.

What is a marketing technology stack?

Docurated defines marketing technology as the tools and platforms used by sales and marketing to effectively complete their duties. I like to take that definition a step further and add details around scalability.

It’s not enough that marketing technology helps sales and marketing do their jobs, marketing technology needs to help drive scale and efficiency in the marketing and sales capacity of an organization. This is why organizations benefit from having a marketing technology stack.
Bonus: if you’re wondering what a marketing technology stack looks like, I document the stack I use and update it as tools change. 



Why do I need a marketing technology stack

Now that we know what a marketing technology stack is, you might be thinking, “we’re doing just fine. We don’t need a marketing technology stack.

As I noted above, with the addition of “scalability” to the definition of what a marketing technology stack is, every business needs one. I don’t know a single organization that can’t benefit from getting efficiency out of their organization, especially their sales and marketing functions.

Marketing technology shouldn’t be confused with marketing automation. Marketing automation is a component of marketing technology.

Same with CRM.

Marketing technology, as a theory, is the planning of multiple tools and platforms that work together to create scale and efficiency across sales and marketing. Making the achievement of bottom-line business goals more readily attainable.

So if a marketing technology stack is not just a collection of tools, and has a theoretical, strategic, and planning component, does your organization already have one?

Do I already have a marketing technology stack?

I work with a lot of clients who are looking to leverage tools and technology to scale their sales and marketing capacity.

More often then not, by the time I engage with them, they already have an attempt at building a marketing technology stack, whether they realize it or not.

This is the result of finding points solutions to problems thrown over the fence at the most savvy person in sales and marketing.

What ends up happening, is the organization ends up with a collection of random tools and technology to solve individual sales and marketing problems.

“I needed to create a landing page for this one campaign so I signed up for this random tool. “

“ we needed email workflows so we signed up for this other tool.”

Before too long, you have data inputs and outputs going all over the place, with no rhyme or reason and end up with a big mess, and ultimately more work for your sales and marketing team.

Bye bye efficiency and scalability.

So you may have a marketing technology stack in some shape, but what you are likely missing, is a marketing technology stack framework. A marketing technology stack framework is a plan of how these tools and technologies align to business goals and will work together. Whether the marketing technology landscape grows by leaps and bounds doesn’t matter, the framework, mostly will still the same. It serves as a roadmap for future tool adoption and integration. In a future post we’ll discuss how your organization can craft a framework so start building a marketing technology stack and scale sales and marketing.