How to Build a MarTech Stack With a Data-First Approach

Learn how to build the right MarTech stack for your business using data.

By Segment

You’re probably using more marketing tools than you need. The average enterprise marketing tech stack consists of about 91 tools, which creates data silos, inefficient legacy technologies, and fragmented experiences. 

Data is the key to weeding out the bad tech so you have a cohesive, efficient marketing tech stack. 

Taking a data-first approach to managing your MarTech stack ensures every department in your organization has a clear vision of the customer experience, improving how your teams function and how customers view your brand.

Table of Contents

  • What is a MarTech stack?

  • How companies typically build MarTech stacks – and how to do it better

  • 12 top tools to include in your MarTech stack by category

  • Innovate your MarTech stack with Twilio Segment

  • FAQs on MarTech stacks

What is a MarTech stack?

A MarTech stack refers to a suite of technologies used by marketing leaders to streamline complex processes, track campaign performance and key metrics, and manage customer relationships. Put simply, it's all the software and tools used by the marketing team to do their jobs. Ideally, a modern MarTech stack helps your business collect, consolidate, and analyze information from every customer touchpoint, turning data into actionable marketing strategies. 

Without a well-developed stack, marketers waste time and resources gathering and analyzing data manually, switching between incompatible platforms, and struggling to keep up with customers. Although the term MarTech implies these technologies are solely used by marketers, your MarTech stack actually extends to other teams, including:

  • Customer success

  • Customer support

  • Project management

  • Data analysis

  • Product management

  • Sales 

  • Revenue

With so many individuals depending on customer data, a single customer relationship management (CRM) platform is ineffective. You probably don’t have the full picture of the customer experience. What you need is a MarTech stack that is robust and intentionally built.

How companies typically build MarTech stacks – and how to do it better

Most enterprises build their MarTech stacks somewhat haphazardly over time because it’s difficult to fully realize their business needs and goals so far in advance. Can you accurately forecast your company’s needs five years from now? Ten years? 

But this patchwork approach leads to duplicated or outdated software, a lack of compatibility between technologies, and little visibility between teams into the full suite of tools. 

The better way: start with a single underlying data source that creates company-wide access and enhances the usability of first-party data

First-party data steers your marketing efforts, creates personalized customer experiences, and streamlines business operations, making it a fundamental building block of your MarTech stack. A customer data platform (CDP) like Twilio Segment takes care of data collection, ensures data integrity and standardization, and helps you activate your data while offering support for other key technologies in your stack. 

Once you’ve collected clean data, you’re ready to start building your MarTech stack:

  • Consult with the teams that will be using the tools.

  • Build for your needs (and your audience).

  • Add tools based on drop-offs in the customer journey.

  • Measure and track the effectiveness of your tools.

  • Reevaluate your stack based on impact.

Beyond these considerations, building a resilient tech stack will ensure your enterprise not only survives the highs and lows of a constantly changing market but also comes out on top. Data is a key element in structuring a resilient stack, echoing the need to focus on data integrity and standardization.

12 top tools to include in your MarTech stack – by category

You’re ready to build or refine your stack, so which of the 9,932 MarTech solutions available should you include? While we recommend A/B testing marketing tools to determine which delivers the most ROI, these 12 digital marketing tools cover the main functions you’ll need to kickstart your MarTech strategy. 

Tools for data management & analytics

A resilient data-first approach begins with a data management and analytics platform. Centralize, standardize, and clean up your first-party data before diving into customer success tools. 

Customer data platform: Twilio Segment

Twilio Segment is a customer data platform that provides the foundation for your data-first approach by centralizing the way data is collected and processed before it’s shared across other tools in your stack. When activated, this data creates personalized user experiences across your different marketing channels. 

Connections helps you seamlessly connect to every data Source – whether it be your website, apps, social media platforms, etc. – to track customer behavior and interactions. From there, businesses can then transfer data to a central repository for consolidation, along with downstream tools for activation. 

Protocols helps enterprises create a single source of truth with real-time data validation and automatic enforcement controls. Identify potential problems before they affect other processes and maintain accurate, high-quality data to power decision-making and highly effective campaigns. 

Business intelligence: Looker

Looker Business Intelligence Looker allows different teams to visually explore and share data in one centralized system with a user-intuitive interface.   

Tools for acquisition

Customer acquisition is a high priority for 44% of companies, and the right tools can help make or break a conversion. Here’s how to lay the groundwork for success. 

SEO: Ahrefs

SEO ensures your content – whether blog posts or landing pages – gets discovered. Ahrefs bills itself as an all-in-one SEO tool and offers several features to optimize your website, like keyword research and content tracking. Use the Site Explorer to analyze what your competitors are doing, then brainstorm content marketing ideas with Content Explorer. The Site Audit tool allows you to examine your website more closely and locate opportunities and areas for improvement. 

Landing page platform: Unbounce

Unbounce combines the power of data with AI to build user-friendly, beautiful landing pages faster. The platform is intuitive and built for users of all skill levels, with recommendation prompts to help you optimize your pages. The built-in AI writer generates content for your landing pages, emails, and advertisements. Unbounce also ensures your customers are routed to the right landing page for them, delivering personalized experiences. 

Email marketing: Twilio SendGrid

Twilio SendGrid is an all-in-one email platform that provides analytics like engagement data so you can tell when emails are delivered, opened, or if they bounce. The platform also has a built-in email validation API to remove invalid emails and deliverability insights to decipher bounce codes. High-level security is a key feature of the platform, ensuring your data stays secure from fraud or malicious activity. 

Tools for engagement

Investing in digital customer engagement can increase revenue by 90%. Consider including engagement tools in your stack that will create personalized customer experiences while reducing the strain of having to keep up with a large customer base. 

Messaging: Twilio Conversations

Twilio Conversations allows you to communicate with customers through their preferred channels, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and SMS. The Conversations API supports one-to-one and multi-party conversations to help your customer support teams resolve tickets more efficiently, but it also helps marketers engage, convert, and retain customers with highly personalized communications. 

Marketing automation: Marketo Engage 

Marketo Engage automates your workflows to simplify repetitive tasks like creating personalized recommendations, communicating with customers, and launching marketing campaigns. The platform uses AI to analyze behavior based on customizable audience segments, creating an in-depth view of customer engagement. Marketo Engage also supports lead nurturing by tracking the customer journey to ensure your sales team reaches out at the right time. 

Tools for conversion

Forty percent of consumers believe that user experience is the key to conversion, while 46% say it comes down to trust in the brand. At the same time, customers still want fast delivery, low prices, and tons of other options. Conversion tools should offer deep, comprehensive insights into these customer experiences to help you offer better solutions. 

Conversion rate optimization: Optimizely

Optimizely combines content management, marketing, web experimentation, and digital commerce to help companies optimize their websites and boost conversion rates. The Orchestrate tool covers the entire content lifecycle, from planning to publishing and tracking, ensuring your content appeals to customers. Experiment allows you to learn what customers prefer by running tests, gathering insights, and optimizing pages to find the best combinations. 

Behavior analytics: Heap

Drive product development with Heap, a digital analytics platform that delivers insights into customer sentiments toward your products or services. The platform’s data-first approach creates awareness of how customers behave on your website throughout their entire lifecycle, alerting your team about opportunities and areas for improvement to increase conversion and provide first-rate service. 

User feedback: Hotjar

Dig deep with Hotjar Feedback to see how customers feel on specific pages throughout your website. With Recordings, you get a visual representation of where customers dropped off or got frustrated. The insights you get will lead to high-level specific support. Follow up with Surveys via an on-site popup or an external link that collects feedback directly from customers. 

Tools for retention

Genuine, personalized experiences are the key to customer retention – with 66% of consumers stating they’ll walk away from a brand that doesn’t cater to them. The most valuable customer retention tools help manage relationships, reduce churn, and offer support. 

Customer relationship management: Salesforce

Salesforce is the leading CRM platform for businesses of all sizes. Sales Cloud helps sales teams streamline their workflows with robust forecasting, management, and reporting tools to reduce administrative tasks. Service Cloud builds better customer relationships by tracking interactions, consolidating omnichannel support conversations into a single source, and automating repetitive tasks. 

Support: Twilio Flex

Twilio Flex is a digital engagement platform that features a “sales tool for pre-purchase conversations, a cloud-based contact center, and an in-app digital concierge.” The platform simplifies and enhances customer support by seamlessly connecting customers with support employees, personalizing interactions with first-party data, and integrating data from other tools in your stack, like Salesforce. 

Innovate your MarTech stack with Twilio Segment

Future-proof your tech stack and shape the customer experience by capturing every customer-facing interaction and integrating the data into the tools your team needs for analytics, growth, and marketing. Ensure your data is high quality with real-time data validation and automatic enforcement controls. Get a demo of Twilio Segment to learn how we can innovate your MarTech stack.

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Frequently asked questions

A MarTech platform is any solution that helps an enterprise improve its marketing operations with digital solutions for analytics, customer support, and data management.

Every MarTech stack will look slightly different depending on your business goals, company size, and customer base, but a few key components include: - Data management and analytics - Content management system (CMS) - Customer relationship management (CRM) - Marketing automation platform (MAP) - Search engine optimization (SEO) tools - Digital asset management - Social media platforms and support tools Some enterprises will find success with a pared-down approach to MarTech, while others will need to invest in a unique, highly personalized stack to suit their business needs.

An example of MarTech could be a CRM, like Salesforce or Zendesk, or a customer data platform, like [Twilio Segment]( Social media platforms like LinkedIn are another example of MarTech, along with support tools like Sprout Social or Buffer.

Twilio Segment is an essential part of a data-first approach to building a MarTech stack because it helps you ensure data integrity, achieve standardization, and create access to first-party data for all teams in your organization. Twilio Segment also has hundreds of pre-built integrations to help implement new tools in a matter of minutes.

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