Today’s martech stacks are both multi-tool and multi-channel. Marketers across every industry have a diverse set of technologies and strategies at their disposal.
That’s a good thing, of course. It can also be a little overwhelming for some marketing pros – do I have the right tools in my mix?
The “right” tools will vary based on multiple factors, from business size to use cases to the kinds of data you have at your disposal. But there are five types of martech tools marketers can’t compete without today. Let’s look at these must-have components of the modern martech stack.
1. Email Service Provider (ESP)
It might not sound “bleeding edge” or cool, but the ESP is a mainstay in any martech stack. You can’t do business without an ESP. Emails have to get out the door, SMS/push has to get out the door – and you can’t just go into your personal Gmail account and message your customers in the Bcc: line unless you have an audience you can count on your hands.
Even the smallest of businesses needs some type of ESP to ensure its messages reach customers and prospects. This is at the top for a reason.
What kind of ESP – its capabilities, integrations, support – is another matter and can vary significantly by the business size, industry, data stores and other factors. A small retail florist and a Fortune 100 company have very, very different needs – but they both share the fundamental need for an ESP.
No matter where your business lands on the spectrum from “tiny” to “one of the largest senders of marketing emails in the world,” there is an ESP that will meet your needs. It’s worth the time and effort to figure out what those needs are and identify the ESP that’s the best fit.
2. Data Warehouse
As companies grow and begin to think not just in terms of siloed marketing tools but a truly integrated martech stack, a data warehouse (like Google BigQuery or Snowflake) becomes key. It gives marketers so much more consolidation of and control over data so that they can use it for more sophisticated campaigns.
Data becomes easier to access, use, visualize and understand. This also sets the foundation for far greater personalization than is possible with data stuck in disparate, difficult-to-access silos. The faster you scale and the bigger you get, the more important your data warehouse becomes – it’s the single source of truth for everything you’re doing in marketing.
3. Identity Resolution
Again, modern marketing is multi-channel – you must have a multi-channel, 360-degree view of your customer. Otherwise, you’re ostensibly treating them as different people when they engage with you in different ways, which degrades the customer experience.
On the other hand, when large brands use data well to create compelling, consistent, and personalized experiences, that raises the bar for everyone else. Customers take note – this company or brand seems to get it – and expect it from everyone they shop with. This becomes a competitive advantage for those that do it well – and a huge disadvantage for those who struggle to unify their customer profiles across every touchpoint, whether online, in app or in store.
4. Artificial Intelligence
We increasingly see the need for some form of AI or machine learning (as a specific AI discipline) to optimize your marketing campaigns. AI-based tools can take the guesswork out of subject lines, for example, or copy within a message, allowing for A/B tests in order to help you hone in on language that’s likely to deliver results rather than just going by feel or conducting ongoing manual operations to figure it out.
Tools like Phrasee and other options allow brands to produce and test critical content at scale. What words are working for you (and what terms are not)? What’s getting people to open your emails, and what’s getting them to click? Copywriting on the front end is inherently subjective, and an AI-based tool can bring diligent high-volume testing and optimizing to your brand vocabulary.
Ai can reduce a lot of the trial and error and inefficiencies that plague many email and other messaging campaigns. As a result, AI-based tools are becoming must-haves in the modern marketing toolkit.
5. Audience Segmentation
Successful consumer marketers understand that they need to make their messages and experiences personal. A one-size-fits-all approach is inherently limited in this regard.
Audience segmentation tools enable brands to create customer journeys and dynamic audiences based upon the data you’ve collected. So much of personalized messaging comes back to doing this well. You can segment audiences based upon whatever data you think helps you, ensuring people receive messages that are relevant to them at their point of the journey.
With cross-channel or omni-channel segmentation, you can even build out campaigns where various channels – email, mobile push, SMS, social – exist within the same journey, sending messages to the customer either based upon their preferences or what makes the most sense for that message at that time.
Audience segmentation is one of the keys to ensuring the right messages reach the right people at the right time, in a way that feels like the brand knows them personally.
To be competitive in today’s world, it’s never been more important for marketing teams to keep their martech stack up to pace with their industry leaders.
With these five tools in hand, the modern marketer is ready to confidently deliver messaging campaigns that resonate across a broad spectrum of customers and bring the conversions they’re ultimately after.