Why Marketers Need a Unified MarTech Stack


As martech tools and technologies grow and provide opportunities to deliver better business outcomes, there is a higher risk of data getting siloed. So, how can companies integrate their marketing stack to align it with their GTM strategy? Kevin Tate, CMO, Clearbit, discusses the next-gen martech architecture’s layers and how to create a unified stack to achieve better business outcomes.

The next-gen martech stack is forming. As we enter what Scott Brinker calls the second age of martech, a combination of new technologies and changing budget priorities are ushering in a new era of integrated platform ecosystems. This sentiment is echoed in the MarTech Replacement Survey 2022Opens a new window , which showed that integration capabilities/open APIs were the #1 important factor in choosing a MarTech app. And it is no coincidence that 86% of the Top 100 SaaS companies now feature an integration marketplace, according to the Pandium State of Integrations and APIsOpens a new window study of 400 SaaS companies.

Today nearly 10,000 marketing technology solutions are running the gamut from advertising and promotion to data and workflow management. While the explosion of tools and applications creates opportunities for marketing innovation that lead to better customer experiences and business outcomes, it has also meant that data too often gets siloed within specific applications. 

And siloed data is a problem that gets worse as non-integrated stacks grow. Without consistent, reliable, and fresh data across marketing, sales, customer success, and operations, it is difficult for teams to speak the same language about what is happening along the customer journey and which actions to take to turn prospects into paying customers. With more apps and touchpoints than ever, how do you integrate your marketing stack so that it is more manageable and aligns with your go-to-market strategy?

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Three Layers of Next-gen Martech Architecture

Let us take a look at the three layers of the next-gen martech stack architecture:

1. A flexible data foundation

Providing your entire martech stack with consistent and reliable data is a must. For earlier-stage companies, this data foundation might be a single platform or solution. As companies grow, they might introduce a customer data platform (CDP), a data warehouse, or reverse ETL tools. The key is establishing a trusted and consistent source of go-to-market intelligence with the flexibility to evolve and integrate with other solutions as your stack grows.

Image Source: ClearbitOpens a new window

2. Segmentation or audience-building

This next layer makes your data actionable by helping you define segments and ideal customer profiles (ICPs) that can be used across tools & customer touchpoints. It is very difficult to activate your data effectively if you have to define and redefine your ideal customer profile and segments in each system or application. Centralizing your audience-building in this layer helps create consistency and portability in your customer segmentation across tools. It also helps your team focus demand dollars, outreach efforts and sales engagement on buyers that both fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and show buyer intent, which has become even more key as budgets tighten.

3. Applications/data activation

The top layer consists of marketing applications that enable customer touchpoints (e.g., email marketing tools, chat apps, ad targeting platforms, etc.). In other words, it is where data is activated. Once you have defined your ICP and identified customers showing buyer intent, you can operationalize that focus from top to bottom in your funnel and enable marketing teams to create a high-quality pipeline by engaging the right companies at the right time.

This means precisely focusing your advertising, outreach campaigns, or email campaigns on your best-fit, high-intent prospects. It also means using the definition to tailor, personalize, and remove obstacles in your website and customer touchpoints as much as possible. By leveraging your ICP definition and focusing on customers that show buyer intent, from acquisition through your website to operations and sales engagement, you can create a custom playbook made just for your ICP.

Supporting Go-to-market Teams With Consistent Intelligence and Focus

Once connected, all three layers work together to help create a common framework across sales, customer success, marketing, and operations. Because different teams work in different tools like Mode, Salesforce, HubSpot, etc., alignment suffers without a consistent lens through which to understand the customer journey and measure results. 

Take, for instance, the debate over marketing qualified leads (MQL) versus sales qualified leads (SQL). Typically, sales and marketing will have different ideas about what ‘qualified’ means (for them) and optimize for different outcomes. But when you work from a consistent and trusted source of data (the data foundation layer), introduce a shared concept of ICP (segmentation and audience building layer), and apply it consistently up and down your funnel (applications and data activation layer), you start to create shared focus and understanding.

Even as your ICP definition evolves as the business changes, all functions have agreed on the factors that define their ICP and have a framework to shift together. Everyone can then talk about an ICP MQL and know precisely what that means (e.g., a marketing lead that matches the agreed-upon criteria and gets passed to sales). And teams across the organization can be confident that when an ICP lead comes in, it will be prioritized by the sales team according to company fit and buyer intent. This creates a common language and a lens through which to look at each lead.

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Leveraging a Unified Stack To Treat ICPs Like VIPs

Next-gen martech stacks require both 

1) A flexible data foundation, and 

2) A way to activate it consistently. 

And having data activated across the whole funnel gives teams unprecedented visibility and control. If your systems share data and you have visibility across them, you can see the whole buyer’s journey for a segment, from their online experience and sales to onboarding and customer success. It shows you where the critical touchpoints are and how to be thoughtful about which prospects you engage with. 

With a strong data foundation, you can better understand what is happening in your funnel and across RevOps. Activating that data across the different marketing applications in your stack is the key to more efficient marketing. You can give your ICPs a red-carpet experience while focusing on opportunities most likely to convert to revenue for your business.

A Tailored Unified Stack for Success

For most businesses, connecting several different apps is better than using one platform for all three stack layers (e.g., Hubspot as the hub). A single system, while philosophically attractive, is unrealistic. A more realistic way to unify your stack is to make sure you can refine your data and accurately pass it from one system to another. Thankfully, it is getting even easier to unify your stack with the increasing number of available integrations between apps. 

What steps have you taken to create a unified martech stack? Let us know on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window .

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