Data-driven marketing requires technology. Without the right marketing technology stack, you’ll face an uphill battle trying to collect the data you need and turn it into the insights that will help you improve.
But with a marketing technology landscape that’s positively overrun with different options, how are you supposed to figure out which tech solutions you actually need in order to conduct data-driven marketing effectively?
The Building Blocks for Data-Driven Marketing
While there are a number of categories in marketing technology that your organization may well benefit from, let’s start with the building blocks.
You’re probably not surprised to see this at the top of the list. Your customer relationship management platform is where you store much of the most important data you have: information on customers and prospects. CRM data is all about helping you understand your leads and customers better, from basic details like contact information to more sophisticated information like what step they’re at in the buyer’s journey or what feedback they provided after a trial.
For many marketing organizations, the CRM is the centerpiece of their marketing technology stack. It’s used across departments so it represents a centralized database that everyone can access and update with new information when appropriate. The CRM should ensure that if one person in your company learns something relevant about a lead or customer, then everyone will have access to that information.
That’s useful both when it comes to the moment of contact—a salesperson can approach a call with as much information as possible, for instance—but also on the more macro level of starting to see trends in the data you have. If you put information into your CRM about each contact’s title, the size of their company, the industry they’re in, and so on, you can use those categories to report on what’s working, what’s not, and which factors make the biggest difference in whether or not you’re successful.
Marketing Automation Software
While CRM is owned by sales or IT, it is often the MAP tool that is the genesis of all things marketing. Marketing automation software allows you to scale your marketing activities by making more of them automatic based on pre-defined triggers and workflows. But harnessing this power effectively involves collecting a lot of data along the way.
Good marketing automation software is therefore designed to make it easy for you to collect data on the leads that are still at the top of the funnel. Even before you have the information needed to enter them into the CRM—from way back when they’re still an anonymized visitor to your website—your marketing automation software can start keeping track of information on how they interact with your brand.
That data is important to ensure you use the software to serve up the right message in the right format at the right time, based on what you already know about the lead. And each new marketing activity and interaction they have with your brand produces new data that tells you even more about them.
In this way, marketing automation software enables you to already have a significant amount of data on who your leads are and what they respond to by the time they reach the point of being entered into CRM. As such, the two types of software are each important on their own for the specific role they play in data-driven marketing, and should also be designed to work seamlessly together so they complement each other.
Marketing Performance Management Software
Marketing performance management software is a newer addition to the martech stack than CRM and MAP, but an important development as it provides features that help you further leverage your technology investments.
A marketing performance management platform will integrate with each of your marketing technology products—not just your CRM and marketing automation software, but also the software you use for things like project management, budget tracking, social listening, and SEO—and bring all the data you have into one comprehensive marketing dashboard that makes it possible to see how everything relates.
It provides one centralized place to do your marketing planning and track your budget and results so that you can begin drawing a clear line between specific marketing campaigns and activities and the revenue they generate. Connecting the data you have back to your actions and the goals they’re meant to achieve makes it possible to finally see what’s really working in real-time, so you can update your marketing plan and predict results.
What else should be in your martech stack?
Those three types of martech should be on every marketing department’s list, but they’re a small portion of the full list of available marketing technology options. While not every marketing organization needs every type of marketing technology, here’s a list of some of the other common types of technology that can further empower businesses looking to pursue more data-driven marketing:
- Project Management Software – Project management software products like Workfront and Basecamp help enable more collaboration between teams and keep everyone working on a project on the same page in terms of status, responsibilities, and communication. In terms of data, these products can help you better gauge how long different tasks take, the time involved in bringing different types of projects to completion, and the issues and questions that commonly arise in the course of a project.
- Social Listening Software – Social media is an important component of any marketing plan today, but the analytics available from the main social media channels themselves are lacking. Social listening tools help you capture all the information being shared about your brand across all social media channels so you can track what parts of your social media and larger marketing campaigns are working.
- Digital Asset Management – Digital asset management products like Widen and Canto make it easier to keep your many digital marketing materials organized and track how well they perform. DAM keeps your various marketing teams connected so they can ensure that the digital assets they’re creating are well aligned to work together.
- SEO Tools – SEO products like those provided by Moz and SEMRush provide powerful data and insights on things like keyword research, link authority, and competitor SEO performance. All of that data can be put toward better measuring the success of your SEO efforts, understanding your audience, and improving your marketing planning.
- Content Marketing Platform – Content marketing now makes up one of the biggest sectors of the marketing landscape. Content marketing platforms like Kapost and Curata help marketers keep their content organized based on categories like persona, channel and stages in the buyer’s journey; help simplify the content distribution process; and allow for the collection of large amounts of data on content performance.
- Video Analytics – Video is another category quickly growing in importance in modern marketing strategies. Video analytics platforms like Vidyard and Wistia collect sophisticated data on individual viewer behavior and connect it back to the data you have in your other martech products.
- Customer Marketing Tools – Often your most lead sources are your current customers. Customer advocacy tools like Influitive can help you collect and organize data on your customers to help them become advocates for your brand.
Each of these products can do a lot for you, but when they work together seamlessly, they can achieve so much more. Marketing performance management software sits on top of your martech stack and makes the integration (and orchestration) of the data contained in those products possible.