Unless you have managed to somehow find a way to run your marketing programs through one technology solution, you are like the rest of us–weaving together technologies and applications into a “marketing tech stack” that allows us to plan, execute, and measure our increasingly complex and interwoven marketing programs.
Scott Brinker, the Chief Marketing Technologist blogger, has recently given careful consideration to this problem and announced the winners of his first ever “Stackies” awards. Brinker solicited marketers to submit single-slide representations of their marketing technology stacks.
Commenting on the stack entries, Brinker remarked that the 21 stacks entered followed one of four general formations:
- Clustered by marketing function (e.g., lead management, analytics, content, PR)
- Organized by flow in the buyer’s journey (e.g., awareness, lead conversion, nurturing, sales conversion)
- Organized as a “layer cake” architecture, with platforms as foundation and specialized components added on top
- Diagrammed as a “circuit board” of how components are connected together, mostly around data flow
Many of the entries combined two or more of these approaches and, Brinker noted, a few took on their own unique styles. The winning submissions demonstrated an approach to ‘stacking’ that other marketers could learn from.
The Missing Element of the Marketing Stack
Looking through the 21 examples submitted in The Stackies, something stood out to me. While companies built their stacks using a wide range of important marketing technologies, not one of the stacks included event technology. A tactic that absorbs as much as 30% of the organizational marketing budget was nowhere to be found.
Events were left out of the marketing technology stack for two obvious reasons: (1) event objectives are not fully integrated into corporate marketing goals and measurement, and (2) marketing often doesn’t know how to automate the process of gathering data from events and integrating that data into the cross-channel marketing mix.
Why Do Events Need to be Represented?
When the off-line data from events is gathered and fed in real-time into your marketing automation and/or CRM system, that rich data is digitized and put to use in the same way as traditional “digital marketing” activities. As a result, you can begin to move buyers through the buying cycle faster, drive cross-sell and upsell activities during the event, and deliver more personalized marketing programs and content for targeted account selling post-event.
A Better Marketing Tech Stack
So what might a more complete stack look like? And how would the combination of technologies be used by marketing to deliver increased ROI from marketing programs across channels?
Here’s a sample design:
- The Marketing Hub – A marketing automation platform, such as Eloqua|Oracle, acts as the marketing database system of record, the “Hub”, for all marketing data. As a marketer, you can use this hub to gather insight from all of your marketing campaigns, measure and analyze the data, and then leverage that data to gain greater insight into how to move buyers through the buying journey.
- Targeted Content – Technology, such as Get Smart Content, helps you turn your website into a persona-driven tool by delivering personalized content to visitors based on their intent, behaviors, and where they are in the buying cycle. You can give buyers the information they need, when they need it, to make better purchasing decisions.
- Social Engagement and Monitoring – Oracle Social Cloud is a great example of technology that helps you manage and scale your relationship with customers on social media channels. Oracle brings together social listening, social engagement, social publishing, social content & apps, and social analytics into one unified cloud service to better integrate these campaigns with your other marketing activities.
- Event Personalization and Management – Here’s where that missing piece comes into place! Certain event management software collects rich attendee profile, behavioral, and interest data from events to give you greater insight into where prospects are in their buying cycles and to help you deliver targeted personalized real time and on-going sales and marketing follow-up. The result? Credible ROI from events.
- ABM & Program Targeting – DemandBase, for example, provides subscription-based ad targeting and web personalization that enables you to connect campaigns directly to revenue, making it possible to deliver personalized ads targeting specific businesses across the web, and then tailor the messages on your websites to convert these companies to customers.
- Web Marketing Analytics – Google Analytics, AdWords, and retargeting tracks your website traffic and offers tools to help you to market to buyers as they look for the solutions you offer and then makes sure they don’t slip through the cracks by continuing to deliver relevant advertising and messaging that is responsive to their interests.
- Predictive Analytics – Lattice Engines is one of the best when it comes to predicting the who, what, and when of the buying journey by combining buying signals and machine learning to help you market and sell more intelligently.
- Data Management and Quality – ReachForce is one of my favorites when it comes to solving the problem of continual data degradation by improving data quality through data cleansing, consistency, and enrichment enabling the data-driven marker to leverage all data to drive revenue.
- Sales Automation – Salesforce is the leader when it comes to sales automation, providing sales and marketing teams the tools you need to win more deals, increase productivity, and build a solid measurable and tractable sales pipeline.
Take a look at all the ways you attract new prospects and move them through the buying cycle. Have you captured all the valuable data from every marketing activity both offline and online, and is it integrated into your overall cross-channel marketing strategy? If not, you are missing an opportunity to really know what drives these hard to gather prospects and market to them effectively.
Map out your marketing technology stack today so you can see where your information flows and how you can improve your marketing and sales efforts to drive more revenue by adding events to the mix.