Understanding Your MarTech Stack

According to Chiedmartech.com’s MarTech 5000, there are over eight thousand technologies in the marketing space today. With so many options out there where do we even start to build a successful Marketing Technology (MarTech) Strategy? Once we do figure out what the perfect MarTech Stack for our organization looks like, how do we use it? My mantra with our clients is, “technology is only the tool in which you use to engage your consumers; without a solid strategy it might as well be a hammer sitting on the table in front of you.”

We have found that 54% of companies don’t use their MarTech Stack to its full potential.

What’s worse is when budgets are being reassessed, the MarTech Stack gets cut deeply. The Omnichannel Marketing Automation system that costs $120K a year is quickly replaced with 3 different tools that now costs $90K a year however, the new solution has decreased efficiency and integrates poorly together.

Why? Because many organizations don’t put together a strategy that takes a more omnichannel / preferred channel approach. We try to bucket everyone into a singular category with the same marketing approach, disregarding customers’ engagement preferences.

When done correctly, that one tool at its full potential could help your company have a more impactful engagement with your consumers rather than miss the mark because you designed an intertwined marketing stack based on budget versus strategy.

Understanding Marketing Strategies, Tactics, and Techniques

A marketing strategy, in its simplest form, can be broken down into three questions.

  • What is my objective?
    • Are you trying to get someone to sign up for something?
    • Are you trying to get someone to buy something?
    • Are you trying to educate someone?
  • What tactics, or approach, are we using?
    • Account-Based Marketing
    • Sales Enablement
    • Field Marketing
  • What techniques am I using?
    • Email
    • Social Media
    • SMS

When asking these key questions, more questions tend to arise. For example:

  • What are my KPIs and how do I measure them?
  • Who is my target audience?
  • What does the customer experience look like?

Having a foundation and an understanding of how your organization wants to go-to-market is critical before buying different marketing technologies to plug into your MarTech Stack. 

Dissecting a Martech Stack

Once you have a strong foundation and understand how you want to engage your consumers, you can start thinking about what tools you need and how they work.

I remember the first time my dad asked me to go get him a 3/4 socket wrench out of the drawer while he was working on his 1972 GMC truck. I had no idea what that was. When he finally helped me find it, he then asked me to take a bolt out with it. I might as well have been holding a stick because I had never used a wrench before.

Similar feelings of uncertainty can arise when we start looking for the best technologies to help engage our customers. We may not know what we are looking for or what “right” looks like. Even after purchasing a tool, we may not know how to use it in the most effective way to convert more leads, boost customer engagement, or drive revenue.

You’ll find many tools can get the job done, but finding the right combination of tools to create effective, efficient, and engaging campaigns is a totally separate discussion.

You’ll want to know the basic categories each tool falls within. The technologies can be placed in six categories and some may overlap.

Advertising & Promotions

These technologies assist in ads and promotions and can be anywhere from print, PR, video advertising, and search and social advertising.

Content & Experience

How do you engage customers and market to them in a meaningful way? By using technologies that help with email, SMS, SEO, Content Marketing and so much more.

Social & Relationship

It’s one thing to blast out content; it’s another thing to understand your customers in a personable way by using tools that include Conversation Marketing and Chat, Social Monitoring, and Customer Success.

Commerce & Sales

Got a product or service? How are you going to market them? eCommerce Platforms and Carts, Sales Automations and Enablement, Retail, Proximity and IoT are only but a few that land in this category to provide a more seamless buyer’s experience.


Who are you marketing to? If you don’t know, you simply can’t. Data is the foundation of a marketing strategy.  Tools like CDPs, DMPs, and Mobile and Web analytics can help create a more omnichannel marketing program and help you meet your customers at their preferred channel.


Marketing theory and execution become a blur if you don’t have a way to manage and track your marketing program. Having tools to help with project management, budgeting and finances can go a long way when you want to make sure everyone in your organization knows how well your marketing program is performing.

Don’t Let it Become a Mess

There is not a single marketing technology that can do it all; but there are many marketing technologies that can do many things. If you’re just starting out or have had your MarTech stack built for years, it can get away from you very quickly. We’ve helped many companies build strategies, MarTech stacks, and campaigns to reach the top of their industries through our Digital Transformation Analysis.

Our Digital Transformation Analysis service begins and ends with your customers in mind. With our flexible evaluation process, we create a proprietary roadmap that optimizes your current marketing efforts and innovates your organization’s future state. To understand where your organization is, take our free Capability Maturity Model quiz and see how we can help your company grow to new heights.

Article written by: James Luck, Managing Director of Theorem, div. Apex IT, [email protected]

James Luck

James Luck is the Managing Director of Apex IT's marketing division, Apex Theorem. As a thought leader among those in the digital marketing industry, James provides advice and strategy around Digital Transformation and Marketing Technologies. James is certified in many ESPs and helps organizations enhance their marketing programs to be more engaging with their target audience using omni-channel tactics. Apex Theorem’s award-winning Marketing Acceleration Advisors create systematic, proprietary solutions that convert more leads, boost customer engagement and drive revenue by defining, implementing, and optimizing organizations’ digital transformation program. Utilizing his team's expertise in email marketing, web design, SEO, social media management, and more, James can provide comprehensive solutions that help companies succeed online.