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The Four Foundations of a Best-in-Class Marketing Stack

The Four Foundations of a Best-in-Class Marketing Stack

Marketers have lots of technologies available to them, but which technologies should they be investing in? We asked 4,100 brands and found the four secrets they all share when it comes to marketing technology.

Marketing technology has exploded. As of 2019, the Chief Marketing Technologist blog has found there to be over 7,000 marketing technologies, that is 45X more tools than we had in 2011! This leaves many marketers wondering, “What does a best-in-class marketing stack look like, and what should we be investing in tomorrow?” 

To give you some solid answers, we’ve looked at 4,100 brands from across the globe and found keys traits among performing marketing organizations. We’ll lay out the four secrets they all share when it comes to marketing technology. 

1. High performers use twice as many tools

High-performing marketing organizations use an average of 14 tools to create a cohesive customer experience, while low performers only use an average of seven. High performers are not only using more tools, but more variation in tools. The chart below illustrates what types of tools high performers are using, and the expected growth of those tools in the coming years. This chart is also a great way to benchmark your current status. 

2. Solving for unique identities is key

High performers are 1.7x more likely to consider the ability to solve for unique identities as a critical marketing technology requirement than low performers. This suggests that one of the keys to a best-in-class marketing stack isn’t just the number of tools, but rather how well they connect to keep a consistent view of each person at all times.

In this sense, connecting means keeping up with an individual across their entire customer journey. Notice the detailed image of Cisco’s marketing stack above, which is from their 2018 Stackie Award submission. At the center is the customer, and all tools across the customer journey point to a central record. Tools can pull from that record, allowing any experience to become personal — in real time.

Because of this focus on connectivity, high performing marketing organizations are 7.3x more likely to be completely satisfied with their ability to use data to create more relevant experiences. Those experiences are powerful, as we found 82% of marketing leaders credit personalization with a major or moderate boost in customer advocacy. Additionally, 92% of marketing leaders say personalization accelerates and boosts brand building.

3. It’s not a marketing stack — it’s a customer journey stack

Marketing teams’ ability to personalize the customer journey has become a marker of success. High-performing marketers are 9.7x more likely than low performers to be completely satisfied with their ability to personalize omni-channel experiences.

To a customer, there is one company — not separate departments. As customer experience leaders, marketers must look beyond their own walls for new opportunities to drive superior engagement across the entire customer journey. Thus, the notion of a ‘marketing stack’ is really a misnomer. High performers integrate their marketing technology across the entire customer journey, from advertising to customer support.

93% of high performers have integrated marketing and advertising technology stacks, compared to only 69% of low performers. Over 50% of all high-performing marketing organizations using ecommerce integrate their commerce platforms and marketing tools. High-performing organizations with sales teams are 1.5x more likely to integrate marketing and sales technology via programs such as account-based marketing. 53% of all marketing teams share common goals and metrics with service teams.

Marketing is part of every step of the customer journey. The better your technologies are integrated across the customer lifecycle, the better-suited your brand will be to create personalized, omni-channel experiences. It’s no longer just a marketing stack. It’s a customer journey stack.

4. Get yourself some systems administrators

Marketers are not IT people. They use technology to do their jobs better, but that does not mean they should be the managers of the software. As brands add more technology, they need to begin to employ a new layer of staff — systems administrators (also known as a marketing operations team).

Best-in-class marketing stacks are full of innovative technologies, and are evolving every day. They’re easily the largest IT systems within today’s businesses, and will remain so far into the future. As such, they must be treated with proper management and oversight.

For a dive deep into future predictions of marketing and what the next five years hold, watch our webinar "The Future of Marketing: 2019 Edition.” In this webinar, we’ll cover a wide range of topics, from the foundational changes in the role and scope of marketing to how your data use will change over the next five years.

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