If you are wondering what a marketing stack for businesses looks like in 2019, then we’ve put together a great Martech stack, using some of our favourite marketing software. Each marketing tool comes with a free trial or even better a free plan, so you can take them for a test drive.
What is the marketing stack?
A marketing stack is a collection of tools and technologies that help you deliver your marketing mix and support your sales and marketing funnel. The purpose of a marketing stack is to make the process of executing marketing easier and improve results. Ultimately, a marketing stack should increase marketing productivity and ROI. Large businesses are investing heavily in their marketing stack. In fact, in many large organisations, marketing now spends more on technology than IT. Despite the growth of the Martech landscape and software investments by large business, small businesses are being left behind. Many small businesses are struggling with selecting the right tools, and once the investment is made, they’re not taking full advantage to deliver ROI.
What struggles do small businesses face with marketing technology stack?
Investing in a marketing stack that works for your business is a challenge and needs careful thought. Large businesses can invest in the best tools and the training to make the most of their investment. Smaller businesses struggle with the initial tool selection and rarely use the tools they have bought to their full advantage. The problem is that small businesses are investing in expensive tools with a feature set that will never be fully utilised, and as a result, adding complexity they don’t need.
Our approach to building a marketing technology stack for small business in 2019 is unique. Rather than asking you to invest in complex solutions like Salesforce or Eloqua, we’ve picked simple marketing tools that any business owner or marketer can implement. This means you’ll achieve ROI quicker.
What should you look for in a marketing stack?
2019 will be the year of marketing technology. Digital marketing has become so vast and complex that even the smallest business needs the right digital marketing tools to survive. Your digital marketing toolkit gives you scale. With the right marketing stack, even a one-person operation can compete with the largest enterprise. We base our curated recommendations on five criteria:
- The marketing tool must be easy to use because we know many small businesses don’t have digital experts on their team.
- It must improve marketing productivity and results.
- It must be effective because we know small businesses have limited budgets and need ROI fast.
- The tools you select must work well together, you don’t need lots of tools that do the same job.
- Every tool comes with a free trial so you can take the software for a test drive before you invest.
Based on these criteria we’ve put together a marketing stack for 2019 that we think you’ll love to use within your organisation.
Example marketing stack for small businesses and startups in 2019
Here is the marketing stack we believe small businesses need to invest in for 2019. It gives you the end to end solutions you need to dream, design and deliver your digital marketing strategy.
- Start by visually planning your marketing funnel and customer journey.
- Use artificial intelligence to design a stunning website for your business.
- Develop your SEO strategy so that your business can be found.
- Use social media marketing to connect with potential customers.
- Promote high conversion landing pages to generate leads.
- Nurture leads and use lead scoring to highlight the best prospects.
- Market to your prospects and customers using email marketing.
- Run webinars to convince your audience.
- Use best the in-class checkout solution to take payments.
- Finally, bring it all together and see the traffic at every step with analytics.
We’ve created the digital marketing toolkit that will make all this and more a reality for your business. All tools are online, so nothing to install, and they all come with a no-risk free trial.
This tool will help you visually map your customer journey
Every successful digital marketing campaign starts with a plan. Most plans are stale spreadsheets and documents. What if you could visually map out every step in the digital customer journey? What's the best visual mapping and planning solution?
How can your business have a stunning and unique website without a designer?
Every business needs a website. It ensures your next customer can learn what they need about your business and your solutions. Use your website as the foundation of everything you do online. Designing a bespoke website once involved designers and developers, now you can use artificial intelligence to design your website for you at the push of a button. Discover the AI powered push button website designer.
The easy way to create high conversion landing pages to optimise your marketing ROI
A website isn’t enough if you are running any kind of digital marketing activity such as email marketing or paid search. You need landing pages designed to convert visitors into buyers. – What’s the best landing page builder of 2019 for small businesses?
Attract organic traffic – help your prospects find you!
When building your website or landing pages you need to attract traffic. Using a great SEO tool, you’ll know how to attract the right audience, for free, from search engines. You'll see what your prospects are looking for and optimise your content strategy and content marketing. – What’s the best SEO tool of 2019 small business? (HINT: With this tool, you can audit your competitors with one click).
Social media plays a big role in influencing buyers and building relationships. With the right social media marketing tool, you’ll be cutting the time it takes to run your social media marketing and generate better results – What’s the best social media marketing tool of 2019 for small business? (HINT: This helps you find the right content to share and then helps you share it with your audience)
First-time visitors aren’t ready to buy, use this marketing tool to nurture them through a marketing funnel
You have visitors on your website, but those visitors are rarely ready to buy. It will take multiple visits before a buyer is ready to commit. So you need to market to them over time, nurturing your lead until they’re ready to buy. This tool supports your customers through the buying journey with a series of landing pages, upsells, downsells, triggers and more. It even includes lead scoring and a CRM. - Discover the tool that helps you build marketing and sales funnels.
Email marketing is often overlooked as being too technical. This is email marketing made for creators.
One marketing channel has consistently delivered a high return on investment for marketers and it's email marketing. For every £1 spent email marketing returns an ROI of £38. That's why marketers continue to see email marketing as the foundation of their marketing efforts. - Despite its importance as a marketing tool small businesses avoid it due to its technical challenges - This email marketing tool is made for business users not techies.
Webinars work really well in B2B and this platform will make them cheaper to run
If you run a B2B business you may need to run webinars, but good webinar solutions are often out of the reach of small business. That is until today. With this solution, you can run high-quality webinars that convert attendees into buyers. – What’s the best webinar platform of 2019 for small businesses? (HINT: These is cheaper and better than any solution you might already be using)
Selling direct? You’ll need a checkout solution
Do you need to sell products or services online? If you need to take payments online then you need a solution your prospective customers can trust. A solution you can use whether you’re selling products or consultancy. – What’s the best payment solution of 2019 for small businesses? (HINT: This solution is being used widely by SaaS vendors and will explode in 2019)
How do you know what’s working and what isn’t?
You’ve built a great marketing technology stack to support your digital marketing efforts. The final thing you need to bring everything together is an analytics tool. No we aren’t talking about Google Analytics because that’s not designed for business users or marketers. We’ve found an amazing analytics solution. – What's the best analytics solution of 2019 for small businesses?
Building the best digital stack for your business
The best marketing technology stack for your business is much more about having the right solutions to fit your specific needs and budget than it is about having the big expensive solutions that do everything.
To be successful in digital, you need to find the best fit digital marketing tools and Martech for your business. The challenge is what fits one business well, isn’t right for other businesses. Every business is unique in size, budget, competition and industry. Your business is as unique as your fingerprint. That’s why finding the right digital marketing tool for your business is never about investing in the most expensive tool.
Why your marketing technology stack (MarTech) must be a big part of your budget planning for 2019
The ecosystem of marketing technology is growing daily. It's growing because businesses recognise the importance of using the right marketing tools to execute their digital marketing strategies. You can't be a digital business without the right marketing stack. If you aren't already convinced about the need to invest in your marketing stack than here are a few reasons why you need to invest in your MarTech stack for 2019.
Saving money in the short term is costing you in the long-term
If you're delaying your investment in marketing tools to save money, then this is going to have an impact on your marketing results in the long-term. Take for example running any form of online advertising. By investing in a good tool to build landing pages, you can significantly increase your ROI. If you delay this investment, then your results will suffer, and in the long term you'll end up spending more.
It's impossible to do digital without the right software
Many small businesses are struggling with digital merely because they're reluctant to invest in the right digital toolkit. Large companies saw the light long ago, and that's why digital transformation has been such a buzzword in recent years. There are digital tools that will help improve results in every aspect of your business, especially digital marketing. Attempting to do digital marketing without a digital marketing toolkit is like driving a car with no tires, you can't do it. Take for example one aspect of your digital marketing which is social media. If you don't have a way of planning and scheduling in your social posts, you're likely wasting time and damaging your productivity
Worries about the learning curve
Plenty of businesses avoid new technology and tools because of the learning curve involved. Yes, every tool has a learning curve, but MarTech companies want to make it as easy as possible for you to use the tools. You may not be able to get the most out of your marketing tool on day one, however as you become more familiar with the platform your results will also improve.
Obsession with free or cheap solutions
Everyone loves free. Why would you pay for something when you could get it for free? Why would you pay more if you could get whatever is cheap? When it comes to marketing tools, you get what you pay for. It's expensive to build these tools, maintain them, improve them and support users. If you're looking for the cheapest, you're probably not using the best tool for your business. Let's take for example just having a free Facebook page for your business rather than having a website. Yes, the Facebook page is free, but you're immediately limiting your reach. There are plenty of businesses using Facebook pages as their only digital presence. This even though Facebook is making it increasingly difficult for businesses to reach their audiences without paying.
Not knowing which tool to invest in
Knowing which tool to invest in is a challenge faced by small to large businesses. Some businesses rely on Gartner reports to help with their selection, others have procurement teams and can afford to spend weeks if not months trying to find the best tool. The majority of businesses need to make decisions quickly and don't have time for weeks of research and evaluation. Our curated list of recommended digital marketing tools can help shortlist the best tools for your business needs. A free product trial can then help you validate your decision by taking your new marketing tool for a test drive.
Use our marketing stack checklist
The marketing organisation outspends the IT department in many companies. Think about the costs of your CMS, marketing automation platform, social media management tools, social selling and employee advocacy platforms. The MarTech list goes on. While the IT team has decades of experience in making technology investment decisions, for the marketing team, it’s a new phenomenon. Gartner reports growing “concerns over marketing’s capability to acquire and manage technology effectively”. It's more difficult to secure budget and “marketing leaders must justify past budget commitments and demonstrate the returns they deliver”.
Whether you are a business owner or marketing leader, how do you ensure you’re investing in the right technology stack for business? Use our marketing technology purchasing checklist for 2019.
- Define the opportunity or challenge.
- What does success look like and how will you measure it
- Use a cost/benefit analysis to determine a budget
- Identify key stakeholders in the decision-making process. It could be one person or many but include the end users. Never buy a digital tool without consulting the end users
- Collaboratively create a list of Must have, should have, could have and won’t haves. This approach is called the MoSCoW method.
- List the platforms the tool will need to integrate with. Check if there will be an additional cost for these integrations.
- Define your procurement/decision-making process. Will you take a free trial? Request a demo etc.
- Have full knowledge of platform costs including professional services, licenses, maintenance.
- Understand and budget for training in the new marketing tool.
- Capture the risks of migration and talk to vendors about mitigation.
- Estimate the time to value for your investment
- Check your service level agreements
- Ensure you have the right infrastructure to run the tool whether self-hosted or on SaaS. (I’ve seen SaaS marketing tools that only run on Chrome given to end users who only have access to internet explorer. )
- Set expectations with all stakeholders.
- Have a vision for today and tomorrow. Don’t forget the big picture. You don’t want to invest in a marketing tool that won’t meet your needs next year.
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