Build or Buy? Key Considerations To Choosing Your Martech Mix


Building your own custom Martech suite can unlock a higher level of results than off-the-shelf solutions, but it may require substantial resourcing. Here are some key considerations when deciding between buying a Martech suite and building one, explains Jeff Beck, CEO and president, Leaf Home Solutions.

Marketing leaders are faced with a multitude of challenges these days. With so many channels available and so much data to parse through, deciding where to invest your resources is a bit like a chess game.

Just like we all recently learned in The Queen’s Gambit, knowing where you’re headed is the key to making the next move.

When it comes to your Martech suite, your goals will determine which path you should take — whether that’s your own custom mix built to scale or an off-the-shelf solution serving a temporary gap.

 When Should You Build Your Own Custom Martech Suite?

 While it can appear daunting, investing in a custom Martech suite has many advantages. Here are four key drivers that point to a custom stack as the right option:

1. Control of your customer data is critical to the success of your marketing

 Building your own Martech stack means you own your customer data. You can tailor your solution to better protect privacy and integrate it with other critical areas of your business that off-the-shelf solutions don’t account for.

For Leaf Home SolutionsOpens a new window , that meant building an end-to-end custom ERP and CRM solution that connects inventory management, marketing, sales, and customer service.

Thanks to this newly enabled level of refinement in our targeting and segmenting, we’ve gotten to a point where half our leads turn into an appointment, and half our sales appointments turn into a customer.

It doesn’t need to happen overnight, but having a clear roadmap of where your company is heading can help you make the right moves along the way.

2. Scaling and growth are your primary considerations

 If you’re focused on the problems you’ll face when your marketing is in full swing — bringing in new leads and converting them to customers at a rapid pace — a custom solution can help position you for the smoothest path forward.

While off-the-shelf solutions carry the advantage of being pre-built, you’re at the mercy of their internal tech teams when it comes to changes and updates. Integrations and customizations can change overnight, forcing you to stick with an old, outdated version of their software or risk whatever customizations you’ve put in place not being compatible with the latest version.

Developing and owning your code in-house means that your technology can adapt and grow at the same pace as your organization.

Plus, you can build it to connect with other business units like sales and customer service, enabling you to track a customer’s journey within your business’s unique parameters, from the first touch to purchase all the way to upselling and cross-selling.

3. You have a culture that embraces new technology

 When you develop your own Martech mix, you need to adapt and roll out changes quickly. Shifting the team’s mindset from a solution that’s already market-tested to one that’s custom and tailored to their workflows sounds great in theory, but it involves a lot of iteration.

New features may not be as refined as your team would like, and establishing a healthy feedback system is critical to building a functioning ecosystem. If your culture is one that is hesitant to change, creating your own system is a big ask.

However, if your culture embraces technology and your team sees the advantages of owning and operating your own fluent Martech system, you can serve their needs with more agility in the long run.

4. You need the ability to adapt quickly to unique situations

In the long term, the ability to quickly adapt your technology to fit your own unique business needs can offset the expensive costs of a cobbled-together, off-the-shelf mix that puts you in the passenger seat, waiting for updates that may never come.

While you may need to invest more resources on the front end — things like staffing a development team and building a platform from scratch — you’ll skip the expensive costs of incompatible software upgrades, platform limitations, and the rigidity of working in a system you don’t own.

When Should You Buy an Off-the-Shelf Solution?

Of course, there are some short-term needs that may point to a pre-built solution as the best decision for your organization. Sometimes, there is a legitimate business case for growing conservatively, bringing on one customer at a time, and hiring a team to match. If your current focus is on the next customer and the next hire, investing in a custom solution may not be the right move. Just be careful not to get locked into an off-the-shelf solution for too long, and be aware of the ways the system isn’t serving you. Those costs and limitations add up over time, and being stuck in a system you don’t own can quickly create a barrier to growth.

An off-the-shelf solution can help you address a common problem without the added time and resource investment. If you’re facing entry-level marketing problems like not having a CRM or a marketing automation platform, off-the-shelf suites can help you get up-to-speed quicker than a custom solution.

Planning Ahead Is the Key to Growth

It can be tricky to put your immediate needs on hold for outcomes you won’t see in the short term. A custom build requires lots of buy-ins, a flexible culture open to change, and a leadership team that believes in the power of using your own technology.

If you’re looking to grow and scale an effective marketing department, equipping your team with the right tailored tools can make all the difference. Don’t get into a stalemate with a mix of off-the-shelf providers. Invest in building your organization’s Martech over time, and you’ll experience the freedom of being in the driver’s seat.