Building a martech stack is kind of like building a house: You’re never really done. Over time, you make updates, additions, replacements, and other changes.
In marketing, at least, this is a good thing. The industry is regularly changing, and the available software and tools are always improving. Your marketing strategy evolves with time, too.
It’s good to periodically review and re-evaluate what you’re using and why – and then plan updates as needed. This helps to ensure your martech stack is still enabling you to achieve your goals and deliver excellent customer experiences – and that you’re not missing out on new capabilities or other important changes in the landscape.
If you’re doing a mid-year review of your martech stack, keep these three timely issues top of mind.
1. Cookies are going away – and soon.
This trend has been underway for a while, but as we enter the second half of 2022, a long-running prediction will soon become a reality: Third-party cookies are going away. In particular, Google has made it official that it will end the use of third-party cookies in Chrome by the end of 2023.
If you’re still using tools that rely on third-party cookies, the time to adapt is now.
Specifically, you need to be updating your martech stack to focus on first-party and zero-party data.
Zero-party data, a term first coined in 2020 by Forrester, is data that a customer has freely and intentionally given you. This is digital gold for marketers, because customers are actively inviting you to tailor messages and experiences for them based on information they willingly share.
This can be augmented by first-party data – behavioral data about a consumer that you acquire from their interactions with you, such as their browsing or purchase history.
If you’re using third-party data tools, at minimum you should be asking the provider about their plan for 2023 – and then evaluating your needs based on their response, because we’re as close as ever to the death of the third-party cookie.
This is a good thing. Zero-party and first-party data is going to be incredibly valuable – you need tools to help you get, store, manage, and analyze that data. If you’re not collecting much zero-party data today, be thinking about a strategy for doing so – it’s going to be crucial.
2. Low-code and no-code is growing leaps and bounds.
Low-code and no-code is another trend years in the making that is now finally taking off – adoption of these tools is growing significantly in the marketing universe.
Low-code and no-code tools give marketers – who usually have little or no software development experience – the ability to build out websites, apps, chatbots, and other digital assets on their own. You don’t need much if any experience with code or other technical skills to use them
This can save a lot of time and money. Any marketing pro who has had to wait in line for the development team to get to their project knows the frustration. It’s not the developers’ fault; it’s just that your request is one of many that are competing for limited resources. Similarly, many marketers know the feeling of having a great idea that would cost a ton of money to implement with an external tech team.
Low-code/no-code tools give marketers the ability to huddle internally and build and launch things themselves. This is a huge win, especially for small marketing teams or even larger teams working with tight budget constraints. It’s a great potential addition to the martech stack.
It should be noted that these tools don’t replace the value of building technology tools from scratch. Larger enterprises that have the resources to do so will likely be better served in terms of things like customization, personalization, and so forth. But this is a great additional option for smaller, resource-constrained teams to be able to innovate.
3. Customer experience meets “micro-moments”
We’ve been on a long-term journey to highly personalized marketing at the individual level whenever possible (This is another reason why zero-party and first-party data is so valuable).
That journey continues, and we’re now seeing the growth of software and data enabling “micro-moments.” This is personalization at the level of the individual (person) and specific moment (in time) – this is “Strike while the iron is hot” marketing.
A basic hypothetical example: When your flight lands, Expedia (or any other travel provider) sends you a push notification sharing a cool restaurant or event in the arrival city. They know you’re there, they know it’s not your home/departure city, and they can tailor a message for that arrival moment when you might be most receptive to it.
This works in fully digital realms, too. Companies and tools like Exit Bee and others are investing in being precise with machine learning about when a web or app user is about to disengage with a brand or piece of content – and be able to respond accordingly with something new or different to re-engage in the moment.
It’s yet another layer of personalized engagement and experience. It’s also a great example of how the industry continuously evolves – and why you should regularly review your martech stack accordingly.