Profile picture for user Andrew Nguyen

Fifteen years ago marketers began investigating whether technology could help solve the problem of marketing teams working in silos with separate assets, data and reporting. Marketing leaders were looking for an operating system to run the whole of marketing.

The marketing operations team is the OS of the marketing department.

Yet we don’t have a centralized technology that can run all of marketing, from advertising to reporting. Instead we have a stack of marketing technologies we wrangle data from.

Companies are simply too different to have a one size fits all martech stack. Which is why we need marketing operations and technology leaders to manage the martech stack.

But how do you manage a martech stack?

Management starts with a vision and that vision then turns into a roadmap. This is the same with martech.

In this post, we’ll discuss how we think about your own martech roadmap and provide some useful hints in evolving your technology as your company does too.

Laying The Groundwork For A Martech Roadmap

When planning a marketing campaign we rely on a variety of data platforms and data sources to make the demand generation team’s vision a technical reality.

So what’s the lay of the technology land when it comes to the technologies that store, segment, report and grow your customer database?

We think of it as a coming of age story, but with a database. Your database was once an Excel sheet or rolodex of customer contact information. Tomorrow it will be a list of tens of thousands of contacts, with customer acquisitions costs getting high enough where it becomes cheaper to spend a fortune to purchase look-a-like contacts from vendors.

This begs the question: How do we know when we need improve the efficiency of our database, or grow it?

When do certain tools that help with segmenting or automating emails and serving ads become necessary?

While we all stare in awe at beautifully visualized martech stacks, it’s important to have a vision and roadmap for our technology stacks.

What are the stages of company growth or database size where certain martech tools become important?

Let’s answer this question in terms of a company’s go-to-market strategy.

Establishing A Roadmap For Your Marketing Technology Stack

If your marketing strategy revolves around a small market, for instance you sell expensive products to senior level executives, then your focus will be on deep insights on smaller contact data sets. This requires different martech tools compared to the company that casts a wide net and focuses on demand generation in a large market.

To add some clarity on how to determine your martech stack roadmap, we brainstormed the following chart:


marketing technology roadmap


While companies vary dramatically in their marketing strategies, we believe your martech stack’s evolution will depend on whether you lean more towards account-based marketing or demand generation as your strategy.

Most companies will begin with a hybrid approach and require at a minimum a CRM and basic automation tools. Then, as companies want to create more complex nurturing campaigns, they’ll need an advanced marketing automation platform.

At this point, we can begin looking at additional tools to enhance our marketing automation platforms. Which tools you need will depend on your strategy. There’s a lot out there, which is why it’s helpful to consider the typology of martech stacks.

We’re all aware of Scott Brinker’s Martech Landscape Supergraphic. It’s the ultimate menu of marketing vendors. Which one is right for you depends on your goals and budget. Thus, as our company matures, so too does our martech stack.

Later Stage Companies And The Need For Good Reporting And Attribution

As a company’s marketing investment grows and complexity increases, performance and attribution technology becomes an important piece of the martech stack.

With complex nurturing campaigns along multiple channels, marketing operations needs to consider an optimal reporting process. This process should tie together customer touchpoints data and report on metrics like opportunities, revenue and closed-deals.

How do you know whether you’ve reached this stage? Consider whether optimization strategies and size of marketing spend calls for transparency and accountability to metrics like revenue.

At later stages, budgeting and allocation becomes necessary as spending hits impressive numbers. Channel mix and channel variety is huge, requiring a bird's eye view of spending.

Much like the high level chart of Federal spending, enterprise stage companies utilize some budgeting and allocation technology to plan and report big budget line items.

At What Point Does Marketing Budget Allocation Look Like This?


discretionary desk

Defining Our Martech Roadmaps

No matter where your company is, a vision for the goals and milestones of marketing is closely related to a martech roadmap.

What kinds of technology are required to help us reach next year’s marketing goal? What should we be trialing today? What do we need to implement next quarter?

These are all important questions to help us define a martech roadmap.

There is no operating system for marketing, only marketing technology leaders who understand the tools and solutions needed to hit a revenue goal.
And using revenue as a North star, known as pipeline marketing, enables marketers to develop a competitive advantage through new marketing technology.