In the January 2015 iteration of ChiefMarTec’s marketing technology landscape, Scott Brinker identified 1,876 companies -- up from 947 companies the year before (and I’m sure there’s hundreds, if not thousands, more today). How on earth do marketers keep all of the various marketing technologies straight in their mind? And how are CMOs supposed to figure out the best technology stack for their company?
To make it a little bit easier for you, we put together what we believe to be the essential technology for today’s modern B2B marketer after reflecting on our own analyzation of the marketing technology industry. With this stack, you will have the technology necessary to cover the entire marketing pipeline, from attracting visitors for the first time to closing sales.
The Stack, Explained
Starting at the top of the marketing funnel, B2B marketers need technology that drives traffic to their website (marketing channels) as well as tools to optimize the process. We typically think of these traffic drivers in two categories: 1) owned and earned channels, and 2) paid channels. Owned and earned includes social platforms, organic search (SEO), PR, hosted events, webinars, etc. Paid typically includes paid social, paid search, display, event sponsorship, etc. In the B2B marketing world, AdWords is a near ubiquitous paid channel. The technology involved in paid channels includes audience targeting through various social, search, and display networks (think: leveraging affinity groups on AdWords or targeting by job skills on LinkedIn).
Each marketing channel also comes with its own channel analytics. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn each provide their own analytics that show how often your content is being clicked on and how many impressions you are generating, but there are also third-party technologies that track each channel using a single platform for added consistency. When it comes to search, AdWords and Bing Ads provide detailed insight into what keywords are delivering value in terms of views, clicks, conversions, and cost (CPC and CPM).
Once visitors come to your website, it is the marketer’s job to give them such a valuable experience that either they want to find out more immediately and request a demo or they’re willing to give their contact information for deeper content. The latter scenario, and one of the most effective ways to convert web visitors into leads, is done through gated content, such as ebooks, whitepapers, and webinars. This is managed through a content management system (CMS), which typically hosts your website, blog, and landing pages. Datanyze reports that the most popular CMS is Wordpress with about 70% market share.
Once a visitor has become a lead by giving you their email address, you can begin an email nurturing campaign using a marketing automation tool to move leads down the funnel towards becoming qualified leads. Overall, the most popular automation tool is Hubspot, but Marketo is the leader for medium-to-large companies (Datanyze).
One important technology during this stage, that layers on top of marketing automation and content management, is experience optimization. This technology allows marketers to test different user experiences in hopes of finding one that is more successful (e.g. better conversion rates). These tools offer A/B, multivariate testing, and more on owned properties like landing pages and emails. Optimizely is the most popular optimization tool with 42% market share (Datanyze).
Beneath both the traffic and experience technologies, it is critical to have web analytics. Unlike channel analytics, web analytics extend beyond the specific channel, tracking how visitors behave between the marketing channel and your website. Google Analytics and other web analytics tools track visitor behavior when they are on your website, and use referral analysis and UTM parameters to determine how they got there. Were they referred by email, social, search, direct? Web analytics has the answer.
Data Warehouse Technology
The last stage of the funnel is where the sales team tries to close the deal. This information is tracked and organized by a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. Salesforce is the leader in this space with 18.4% market share -- about 50% greater than the second largest, SAP (Gartner). The CRM handles customer profiles and where their relationship with the sales team currently stands. Many B2B marketers today have little to no relationship with the CRM.
However, as marketing moves to become more accountable for revenue, it’s increasingly important for marketers to be in tune with the sales team and the CRM. Today, the best marketers are thinking about and optimizing for how their efforts are driving revenue, not marketing-specific metrics.
And that is done through marketing attribution.
Marketing attribution spans the entire funnel and connects what happens at the top (What channels drive visits to the website?) with what happens at the bottom (Are leads converting into customers?).
Attribution is the full-funnel view that brings all of the tools together. The most popular B2B marketing attribution solution is Bizible.
How is attribution different from channel or web analytics? Channel analytics allow marketers to optimize each channel for what each channel is designed to do, but it’s siloed data. For example, social analytics help marketers optimize for clicks and views on social, and search analytics help marketers optimize for clicks and views on search. Moreover, web analytics help marketers understand and optimize for user behavior on their site as well as where they came from, but it still doesn’t connect to the CRM, where the deal is actually recorded.
Attribution, on the other hand, helps marketers optimize each channel for what happens at the bottom of the funnel, and ultimately, for what really matters: the closed deal.
The Pipeline Marketing Stack (including the most popular technology for each category)
Using data from Datanyze, Gartner, and our own knowledge and expertise of the B2B marketing technology space, we put together the most popular marketing stack used by B2B companies. Of course, it is by no means mandatory to have these exact products, but it is important to have something for each category. This should serve as an example of a complete stack -- a good comparison for you to assess yours.
While there are many more marketing technologies out there -- Scott Brinker identifies 40+ categories of products -- the technologies we discussed are all a B2B marketing team needs to successfully create a robust customer pipeline and outperform the competition.
Does your marketing team have the full pipeline marketing technology stack?