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Making Money With a Modern MarTech: Getting the Fundamentals Right

Digital Agency
Chicago, USA
Vokal's Reid Lappin on how to do a proper MarTech assessment and more

Marketing technology is an art and a science. It’s also a bit of a mystery. OK, a big mystery.

If you’re new to marketing, or an outsider, you might think only a few marketing tools would suffice to create a marketing engine.

But the more you know, the more you don’t know. That’s MarTech in a nutshell.

And here’s proof.

Look at this MarTech landscape diagram. I mean, just look at it! 


And those are just the top 5,000!

I’d also like to give props to the designer of this document. It’s beautiful. Beautiful and scary at the same time. It looks like a Fortnite map on steroids. Each section has its own benefits and risks.

So the question is: How do you make sense of all of this? What is worth investing time and resources on? What should be avoided at all costs? And how do I know what’s right for my organisation?

How to Do a Proper MarTech Assessment

The tools are the end game, not the starting point

“I talked to my friend at X company, and they use tool Y heavily, and it works for them. Let’s use that tool!”

This is how every marketing tool gets inside a company. 

An SVP, who admittedly doesn’t know much about marketing, recommends a tool. Or maybe an employee or contractor recommends a tool they’ve used in the past. And then the predictable happens: You have a lot of marketing tools but nothing to show for it.

No results. No data. Just a PowerPoint presentation with seemingly no progress.

Where did it all go wrong?

This is where the problem starts. Starting with a tool is a recipe to get you more tools. But you need results, not more tools.

The Three Core Components of a MarTech Stack

Feed the machine: MarTech needs data and orchestration at the center

For many of our clients, we recommended a centralised Customer Data Platform (CDP) that standardises data and automatically correlates all attributes and events to user IDs. The CDP is an orchestration point.

Also, a CDP allows you to use previous data sets to infuse data during trial periods as if data had been flowing prior to enabling, which makes testing new tools a breeze.

It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but ask any growth marketer, and they’ll tell you just how easy it makes their lives.

A CDP will greatly increase the usefulness of marketing tools in general. Adding a CRM/Marketing Automation platform, like Braze, to a CDP, like Segment, can significantly increase engagement.

By using a testing solution, like Optimizely, you can construct extensive testing strategies targeting specific audiences across platforms. And using Amplitude can communicate data across the entire firm in highly actionable ways.

Automate anything that can be automated

Some organisations skip the CDP and go straight to marketing automation. We believe that’s short-sighted.

I get it. Marketing automation sounds great, but it’s only as good as the data that’s fed into it.

Once you get a CDP enrolled, you can turn on a personalization and automation partner like Braze to build out user journeys alongside email/push/SMS communications leveraging user-specific data sent from the CDP.

Test everything; assume nothing

How many meetings have you been in where there’s an endless discussion about how something works or what the copy on the website should be? How many hours have been wasted?

This is why we assume nothing and test everything. Who knows who’s right? There is only one way to find out.

By implementing A/B testing as part of our marketing automation stack, we took the guesswork out of the picture.

Enable A/B testing and behavioral analytics tools to understand end-users’ on-platform behaviour, affect retention rates with continuous tests, and ultimately change the internal culture to focus on iteration and data discovery.

When in Doubt, Start With a MarTech Assessment

There are too many tools on the market to just pick one and get to work. Each tool has its purpose, and collectively, the tools need to align to a central strategy.

At Vokal, we start with a MarTech assessment for many of our clients, which uncovers many efficiency opportunities and some hidden gems as well.

Start with an assessment; you won’t regret it.