You know it, I know it.
There are just way too many marketing tools to choose from.
With what was expected to be 5,000 marketing tools offered in 2017, how the hell are you supposed to know which ones will drive record breaking growth in 2018 and which ones will be a waste your time?
Know so many marketing tools rely on one another to stay functional – if one goes down, many others dol too – choosing the right tools is even more difficult.
This domino effect of tools breaking each other is something I like to call “The Stackapocalypse,” and it can wreak havoc on your business.
No pressure, but ff you’re looking to invest in new marketing tools, it is incredibly important to pick the right ones because making the wrong decision could lead to the loss of a ton of valuable data and hard work when the dominos start to fall.
I’m going to share my personal collection of tools: “Ultimate Marketing Technology Stack.” I wholeheartedly believe that this stack is the best one out there for marketers interested in achieving record-breaking growth.
These tools have been used to drive record breaking growth for my company, Effin Amazing, and my clients, including Real Thread, Frame.io, ForksOverKnives.com, and Eventbrite.
Let’s get started!
What’s Included in My Stack?
A marketing stack is a combination of tools you use to help you do your job as a marketer. This could include outbound email tools, analytics tools, sales and marketing automation tools, and the services that connect them.
You might think that your marketing stack is relatively small, but I’d be willing to bet that you’re using more tools than you realize.
With the help of a tool known as Ghostery, you can tell how many tools your website is currently using. Try it now. I bet more technologies are being used on your site than you know.
My marketing stack is pretty tight, but even I’m using 29 tools, though my core marketing stack does have fewer technologies.
But enough already, let’s get to my stack:
Social automation tools: Buffer, Revive Old Post, Zapier
LinkedIn message blast tool: GPZ
Lead capture tools: ProspectHive, Klenty, Toofr, Grouply
Webinar tool: Zoom
Video meeting tool: Zoom
Calendar tools: Mixmax, Google Calendar
Video streaming tool: Wistia
A/B testing tool: Optimizely
Data-piping tools: Segment, Zapier
Tag manager: Google Tag Manager
Contract Signature: Nitro Cloud
Marketing automation tools: Klenty, Mixmax, MailChimp, Autopilot
Analytics tools: Google Analytics, Amplitude, Kissmetrics, Mixpanel, Hotjar
Of course, none of these tools are going to reach their full potential if they can’t share data with one another.
Aside from the fact that they help me get the job done, the tools in my marketing stack have been chosen because:
They integrate well together, removing the issue of “siloing.”* When using this stack, all departments have access to all relevant data that comes with a promising lead. If you use my stack, your business will be set up so that sales and marketing have access to the same data, making everyone more effective at their job.
They are highly immune to the “Stackpocalypse” because the tools are all well established and have been around for a while. They’re also the “best of their breed” tools.
Note: You don’t have to use the tools that I’m using in my Ultimate Growth Marketing Stack, you just have to make sure you aren’t picking a tool which could die in 6 months if they lose VC funding. Bubbles happen, and VC funding dries up in verticals. Make sure your tool doesn’t die with it.
*When tools are siloed, it means they’re not very good at communicating and sharing data with one another, or in other words, they lack integrations. The “marketing tools” don’t work well with “sales tools” and vice versa. And to top it all off, nothing works well with the analytics tools.
The Ultimate Marketing Technology Stack
The Ultimate Marketing Technology Stack is made up of the following tools:
Google Tag Manager
This stack is extremely functional – all of the tools talk to one another and if you really stay on top of it, you can get great data that works together to give you incredible insights.
Even more, this marketing stack lets you do some really cool stuff that I don’t think many other (if any) companies are doing right now. Can you tell me of one company you know which can track the Salesforce stages in their web analytics tools?
Let’s take a look at these tools and uncover why each one deserves to be part of your stack.
No. 1: Deploy Code Without a Developer – Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager makes the use and integration of every other tool in your marketing stack a lot easier.
Whenever you want to use a new tool, you’ll likely need to install some code on your website, which can take a lot of time if you have to get in touch with your development team and then wait for them to implement the code, not to mention the constant back and forth to determine if they did it right.
For example, let’s say you want to use a tool known as Hotjar so that you can record how people are using and interacting with your site.
Traditionally, you’d have to do the following:
Get the code from Hotjar
Send the development team your code
Wait for them to install it
Audit it to see if it works
If there’s a mistake, contact them and then wait for them to get back to you.
Wait for them to do it again
Audit it again
Use the tool (hopefully!)
This can be a messy process that takes time. Plus, if not done properly, it can break other things on your site.
The process can become even messier if you want the tool in question to only track or trigger in relation to specific events because it’s going to require a bit of hackery in how you implement the code.
It’s not hard to see how this can all become a big headache.
Google Tag Manager simplifies this process.
With Google Tag Manager, the only code you need to install on your site is the Google Tag Manager code, which is supplied to you when you sign up.
Once you’ve done that, you never have to mess with your code again.
If you want to use a new tool on your site, all you have to do now is drop the code into Google Tag Manager.
Google Tag Manager will then take care of the rest and implement the required code.
The really awesome thing about Google Tag Manager is how well it integrates with all of the tools that are already out there.
With Google Tag Manager installed, there’s a good chance that you’ll never need to mess with the code on your website.
No. 2: Get Your Tools to Talk to One Another –Segment
One of the major problems with various tools is that each one has its own syntax, which basically means that the code of each tool is written in its own unique way. This uniqueness means it takes forever to integrate, because you have to write a bunch of lines of code to support all of the different syntaxes.
Suppose you have 20 different tools in your marketing stack.
If you want all of your tools to work together nicely, you need to manage all 20 different syntaxes.
It’s not hard to see that this is a broken model.
With the help of Segment, you can fix this problem.
And now you only have to manage one syntax (Segment’s syntax) instead of 20.
It is now easier for an “event” in one tool to trigger in all of your other tools.
Suppose someone visits your site. Using Segment, you can register that event in Google Analytics and send that event to Kissmetrics and HubSpot at the same time.
This is possible because Segment allows your tools to communicate with one another without writing multiple lines of code.
Segment also makes it easy for you to turn on or off any of the tools that you have installed.
You can simply log in to Segment and toggle and untoggle the tools you want active in your stack.
This reduces the amount of time it takes to find a cool new tool, implement it, and reap the benefits of doing so—and the time it takes to turn something off if it’s messing everything else up.
Already using Segment, or want to see if it will work for your organization?
No. 3: Figuring Out Who’s Who – Clearbit
Clearbit is known as a “Data Enrichment Provider.”
With the help of Clearbit, it becomes easier to gather a lot of relevant background information on someone, which will help your sales process.
Suppose that someone visits your site and gives you their email, say, email@example.com.
At that moment in time, you don’t know anything about that person other than their email address.
You might have a form that people can fill out, but there’s only so much information you can ask people before they decide that it’s not worth filling out a form.
Clearbit, however, removes the need for you to have complicated forms on your site.
You don’t need to ask people for a lot of information because Clearbit can “enrich” the initial data you have asked for.
With just one email address, Clearbit will help you obtain the full name of the person who filled out the field, their job title, and the revenue figures for their company.
No. 4: Visual Marketing Automation – Autopilot
Autopilot is a tool that makes marketing automation and workflow automation extremely simple.
Autopilot gives you a great visual representation of how your “funnel” is going to work, and it does so in-line with the customer journey.
This is great for marketers because marketing funnels can get quite complicated, and having a visual means of managing your customer journey can really help you see how our funnel works.
It also becomes easier to make your marketing funnel even more complicated if you wanted too!
The other amazing thing about Autopilot is that it can really help you automate many different aspects of your marketing – and not just basic things like email.
For instance, here at Effin Amazing, we run a lot of webinars.
We use Autopilot to send SMS messages and email messages to remind people ahead of time that they’ve signed up for a webinar that is starting soon.
Autopilot is also really effective during the sales process. (It’s useful for the entire customer journey.)
We use Autopilot to send offline reminders.
For example, if someone hasn’t opened our emails, we can send a postcard to their corporate address.
Direct mail is getting cheaper than AdWords, so it can make sense to send a designed or personal postcard.
Because we use tools like Clearbit to enrich our data, we often have the correct mailing address to send out postcards or other “offline” materials.
With many of these offline channels being integrated with online marketing, it’s now becoming really easy to reach your prospects or customers in a variety of ways. And everything is made even easier when you use something like Autopilot to automate the process.
Autopilot integrates with a ton of other tools, which means that it’s going to fit well into any marketing stack that encompasses the entire customer journey.
You’ll find that you can manage the entire customer journey using just Autopilot, which is especially helpful when you have a lot of tools that are going to be integrating and talking to one another.
No.5: The CRM Side of Things – Salesforce
We use Salesforce to track every single one of our customers and prospects.
Salesforce makes it easy for us to report on what they’re doing and how much revenue we make from them. And we can monitor our deal tracking and how that’s going to affect our pipeline and MRR at the end of the month.
Many people don’t really like to use Salesforce, especially if they had to use the classic version. After all it was an ugly piece of . . . I get it.
But recently Salesforce has come out with something known as Salesforce Lightning, which is so much nicer to work with.
This new version of Salesforce is prettier and provides a massively improved user experience and user interface when compared to older versions.
Personally, I used to hate Salesforce but I’ve come to love it, especially when compared to other CRM solutions.
Because Salesforce provides something known as the AppExchange
Why is the AppExchange such an important feature?
Because using tools within the AppExchange allows you to quickly take care of common problems that affect CRM systems.
A good example of this is “deduping.”
Deduping is a way to clean up your CRM data and make sure you don’t have more than one lead for the same person.
If you were to manually dedupe your CRM data, it would probably take you forever.
But thanks to the AppExchange, all you have to do is install a tool that will take care of the deduping for you.
There are thousands of tools that you can take advantage of within the AppExchange. If you run into problems or want to achieve a particular goal with your Salesforce CRM, there’s a good chance you can tackle the challenge using a tool from the AppExchange.
It’s this massive ecosystem that makes Salesforce the number one CRM out there.
Plus, the fact that Salesforce integrates with a lot of tools outside of the AppExchange means that it’s really easy to add Salesforce to your existing marketing stack.
As a result, you won’t really need the help of a developer if you want to make a new tool in your marketing stack “talk” to Salesforce.
No. 6: Powerful Analytics – Kissmetrics
Kissmetrics is one of the most powerful analytics tools out there.
With it, you’re able to track every single one of your customers throughout the entire funnel.
The dashboard that’s provided by Kissmetrics makes it easy for you to quickly review your KPIs. When logging in to Kissmetrics, you can instantly see the KPIs that’ll help drive your business forward.
Tracking metrics is important because that data will help you develop a better understanding of your users.
You can then use that data to create more effective marketing campaigns because you now have insights based on actual data.
Kissmetrics also makes it easy to assess how people are interacting with your website on multiple devices.
There aren’t that many people nowadays who exclusively use a desktop to browse the internet.
People tend to use multiple cell phones, their iPads, their desktops, their laptops, their home and work computers—the variations are endless.
In a standard situation, you don’t really have the means to merge all of these “identities” together in a way that would allow you to track them all as one person.
With Kissmetrics, however, you can alias users across all of these different devices, so you’re able to create a single customer journey and understand how these customers are using your product.
It also becomes easy to do this for “account-based” tracking, too.
It’s also really focused on who your customers are.
The data you collect about your customers is stored in an identity profile, which enables you to understand the attributes that make up your customers.
All of this is going to be used to create better insights so you know how to market and sell your business.
No. 7: Automate Your Stack – Zapier
What Zapier basically does is create “workflows” so that your tools can work together in unison.
It’s a tool that a lot of people ignore when building out their marketing stack, but it’s essential if you want to automate everything and save a lot of time.
Even if you’re using over 3,000 tools, you can connect them all to one another and then automate a lot of your life.
This helps eliminate any of the manual work you might need to do to ensure that all of your tools are sharing data or notifications with one another.
Zapier has a ton of integrations, making it easy for you to create workflows that rely on using different tools.
I probably have around 10 Zapier workflows that automate my email, calendar, webinars, and so much more.
Perhaps my most interesting use of Zapier is when I integrate it with Kissmetrics.
If you want to integrate Kissmetrics with Zapier, it’s probably going to require a bit of help from someone with a bit of coding experience.
But when you do set things up, you’ll be able do a lot of cool things, like creating an analytic event whenever someone comments on your content.
Like I mentioned earlier, if you’re going to invest in new marketing tools, make sure to do your research and choose the right ones – you don’t want to be left with a pile of dominoes at the cost of your business’ growth.
If you would like help implementing “The Ultimate Marketing Technology Stack” in your business, get in touch with us today.
About the Author
Dan McGaw is an award-winning entrepreneur and speaker. He is also the Founder and CEO of Effin Amazing, an analytics and growth consultancy that helps product and marketing teams get data driven and optimize their businesses. Coined as one of the original growth hackers, he has led the teams at Kissmetrics.com and CodeSchool.com. In 2015, Dan was selected to be a United States Ambassador of Entrepreneurship by the United State State Department, where he had the privilege to advise universities, governments and private corporations on how to build entrepreneur ecosystems. You can find him on most social networks, or follow him on Twitter at @DanielMcgaw.