Build a Winning Marketing Tech Stack for Your Business in 2020

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Unsure how to shop for marketing software? Here’s a quick breakdown of the major building blocks of a successful marketing tech stack.

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A successful marketing strategy needs more than eye-catching business cards and a “We’re Open!” sign in the front window.

In this digital marketing era, an effective marketing strategy is directly tied to your business’ marketing technology (martech) stack.

What is a martech stack?

A martech stack is a collection of tools and software marketers use to plan, launch, track, and fine-tune their marketing strategies.

A strategic marketing tech stack provides a solid foundation from which to organize and keep track of all your marketing campaigns. When gathered into a martech stack, such technologies work in tandem to allow marketing professionals to bridge department silos and provide a consistent customer experience.

So, how does a small or midsize business begin building a martech stack? How does a new business owner know which technologies to prioritize, and which are better-suited for enterprise-level marketing firms?

Your team should consider three broad categories of software when building your marketing tech stack:

3 software categories that make up a strong marketing tech stack

1. Engagement

According to Gartner, tools and software that fall into the engagement category are technologies that power the touchpoints that reach your customers/prospects. They’re often channel-specific engines delivering communication and recording outcomes (full article available to Gartner clients).

Let’s take a look at two popular types of engagement software that will empower you to build effective, targeted marketing campaigns: email marketing software and social media marketing software.

What is email marketing software?

Email marketing software automates email communication between a business and its prospects and customers. These systems manage mailing lists, monitor marketing campaign effectiveness, and increase email marketing efficiency.

Email marketing tools help marketing teams with tasks like:

  • Managing email templates
  • Creating customer-focused newsletters
  • Sending survey emails
  • Running promotional campaigns
Your business should consider adding email marketing software to its marketing tech stack if your team is looking for a way to effectively target communication to potential and existing customers, and track the success of those interactions in one centralized hub.

What is social media marketing software?

Social media marketing software allows your marketing team to build both brand recognition and customer loyalty, centralizing all social media activities and outreach in one, easy-to-see tool.

Social media tools help marketing teams with tasks like:

  • Post scheduling and tracking
  • Customer targeting
  • Conversion tracking
  • Multi-account management
Your small business should think about adding social media marketing software to its marketing tech stack if you want to build a social media presence to foster relationships with existing clients.

2. Operations

According to Gartner, software and tools in the operations category provide a unified repository for your marketing content and help keep your campaigns on track. Operations tools can be a place to house all your assets, or can look more like leveraging advancements in marketing tech to streamline and automate your marketing strategy (full article available to Gartner clients).

Let’s take a look at two of the most common operations software for your marketing tech stack: marketing automation software and content management software.

What is marketing automation software?

Marketing automation software helps businesses automate marketing processes and allows for end-to-end management of marketing campaigns, including campaign design, tracking, content publishing, customer segmentation, and marketing analytics.

Marketing automation tools can help your marketing team with tasks like:

  • Designing and launching drip campaigns
  • Lead scoring
  • Ongoing A/B testing and analytics
Your small business should consider investing in marketing automation software if you’re looking to streamline marketing operations and utilize new marketing technologies to get the most out of each customer interaction.

What is content management software?

Content management software helps businesses manage digital content and assets on their website(s). This software helps establish a categorized repository of content and enables the creation, modification, storage, and deletion of all forms of digital assets, including documents, images, videos, etc.

Content management tools can help your company with tasks like:

  • Customizing content templates
  • Tracking and indexing assets
  • SEO management of assets
Your company should consider content management software if you have (or plan to invest in) a large repository of content and marketing assets.

3. Insights

According to Gartner, insights software captures valuable data and delivers insights to marketers that can inform which strategies and tactics are used to meet business goals (full article available to Gartner clients).

In your marketing tech stack, insights tools like survey software and customer experience software provide invaluable information on how customers are interacting with your marketing strategy and assets, giving you the opportunity to fine-tune your marketing moves based on real customer feedback.

What is survey software?

Survey software lets users design, conduct, schedule, and publish electronic surveys, polls, and questionnaires for purposes such as conducting market research, measuring customer satisfaction, and collecting employee feedback. Most survey software options offer users a variety of user feedback formats such as radio buttons, checkboxes, drop-down menus, and free-form text fields.

Survey software can help your marketing team with tasks like:

  • Sentiment analysis
  • Customer feedback collection
  • Event follow-up
Your marketing team should consider investing in survey software if your company would benefit from seeking customer feedback to inform your future marketing decisions.

What is customer experience software?

Customer experience software allows your team to manage interactions with both existing and potential customers, tracking things like sentiment and interactions. Marketers can monitor, respond to, and improve every key moment along the customer journey while incorporating real-time customer feedback into their decision-making processes.

Customer experience software can help your marketing team with tasks like:

  • Multichannel data collection
  • Data collection to build better targeting strategies
  • Predictive analytics
Your business should consider customer experience software if your marketing team would find value in monitoring how your customers engage with your brand and could use that data to inform and adjust your marketing practices.

How do I start selecting software?

With all these different categories within your marketing tech stack and software options to choose from, a business that’s just getting its feet underneath it might now know where to start.

Interested in trying out some software without investing some of your precious marketing dollars? There are a ton of excellent free software options out there that let you get a taste for specific products or a category in general.

These products facilitate a personal understanding of what technologies work best for your business and can help you make an informed decision when you’re ready to invest in a software solution.

Check out Capterra’s trove of free and open source software articles to get started:

Looking for Email Marketing software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Email Marketing software solutions.

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About the Author


Samantha Bonanno

Sam covers Buyer Marketing at Capterra, offering insights and thought leadership on marketing trends and best practices for small and midsize businesses. An Upstate New York native, Sam spends her free time backpacking with her dogs and holding snobby opinions on craft beer and single origin coffee.


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