How to Build a Marketing Tech Stack for Your Small Business
The marketing tech industry has grown like crazy over the past few years. Marketers now spend an estimated $34 billion a year on marketing tech — everything from simple email marketing and social media tools to powerful marketing-automation platforms.
If you’re running marketing at a small business, what tech investments could make the biggest impact? We asked Justin Talerico, the founder of Beacon9, a consulting firm for tech companies. He’s worked in the marketing space for more than two decades, and he’s learned which marketing technology is worth the investment.
Identify Your Most Important Needs
When you’re looking for ways to grow your marketing powers, shopping for marketing tech can be incredibly overwhelming. There are more than 5,000 marketing-tech vendors out there. But instead of dreaming about the cool tech you could buy and the sophisticated marketing programs you could develop, Talerico suggests starting with the fundamentals.
“It's easy to get so caught up in what could be that the fundamentals get sacrificed,” he says. Methodically define what you really need instead of chasing shiny tools. “Editing — making sound strategic decisions about which capabilities to invest time, money and momentum in — is the key to success.”
Make Sure Your Tools Play Nicely Together
Talerico says his team built their marketing tech stack at Beacon9 with a close eye on how each tool integrated with others. They chose Squarespace to build their website because of its seamless integration with other core tools, like Apple Podcasts, Mailchimp and Google Apps.
Don’t just take a vendor’s word on their ability to integrate — do some investigating to make sure their tools will really work with your core technology. “Tools tend to overstate their integration chops, and the devil is typically in the details,” he says. “Be wary of flippant or generic ‘integrations,’ and make sure your combined stack is going to deliver a 100% leakless, 100% measurable martech chain before you start investing.”
Some marketers choose a plug-and-play suite of tools like HubSpot to avoid potential integration problems, he says. The only tradeoff there is that you might compromise a bit on capabilities or features in exchange for convenience and certainty.
Push Your Marketing to Work Harder for You
Most marketers are using content to spread their message, and Talerico has this advice: “I think it's fair to say that the vast majority of original content is underleveraged. Quality content has a lot of legs and I see more value in deepening and scaling than in endlessly producing blog post after blog post.”
He suggests looking at ways to extend the life of your content. “Even the best content is relatively useless without distribution. My advice would be to think long and hard about diversified distribution of your content — versioning for other media like podcasts and video, repurposing for third-party distribution and getting into alternative streams, like Apple News. Then think about scaling a piece beyond its core — into interactive tools, into a webinar, into a poll or into a research piece.”
You can get a look behind the curtain at the Beacon9 marketing tech stack here.