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All I Want for Christmas is a Tech Stack That Works

Marketers looking under their tech stack trees this year should be as delighted as an eight year old with a Decepticon to find fewer presents to unwrap. 

After years and years of shiny new toys replacing the less shiny, slightly older toys preceding them, it’s time to appreciate the tools you already have or toss them out before upgrading to the latest model.

Inevitably, the opposite continues to play out in marketing department across the country. The allure of the new solution, for whatever reason, outweighs the practical part of our brains that’s asking un-fun questions like, How does this piece of software integrate with my current (possibly already bloated) tech stack?” That question is often followed up by the devil on the other shoulder answering, “Ah, but this looks so cool. Let’s add this new piece on top and see what happens!”

Do it right.

Something marketers never want to admit is that software is only as good as the people operating it. No matter how plucky and die-hard your marketing team is (yippe-kai-yay), you’re asking these folks to not only evaluate new potential additions to the stack, but also to elegantly integrate them into the current software landscape. Doing it right requires legit training or new hires in positions that deal with this piece specifically—a luxury many organizations do not have.

Master the tech stack.

The reason why marketers fall into the trap of buying the latest and greatest every year is that they haven’t quite mastered their current tech stack. As a result, they perceive chinks in the armor where there may not be, and turn to programs that look like they’ll fill in the gaps. Unfortunately, these programs may not speak to each other seamlessly, creating entirely new messes.

As databases grow, companies have to be 100% solid in their understanding of exactly two programs: CRM and marketing automation. That’s the bread and butter for any organization, and if you don’t have a firm grasp on the inner workings of each, you’ll soon be adding cranberry jam to complement the bread but messing with the butter in the process.

T’is better to give than to receive.

Think about your tech investments the same way you go about content delivery or product innovation: consider the needs of your users first. Evaluate whether your current system is equipped to solve your team’s pain points at each stage of the funnel—that’s how you’ll know where your stack is lacking (or “stackalacking,” as the kids say). There’s no sense in buying a shiny new measurement tool if it turns out your problems stem from the acquisition stage.

If your stack is a real convoluted mess, back it up even further. Do you even have a process that needs enabling with technology? Take marketing automation as an example—do you have your customer personas all figured out? Do you know what customer success looks like, and how your user stories align to your original business objectives? If you don’t, it’s not the tech that’s slowing you down. Many organizations assume that adding new pieces is mission critical, without crystalizing exactly what the mission is.

Bah humbug.

In addition to a technology pile getting messy, it also can become prohibitively expensive. Before you commit to software, ask yourself the cost of not buying it. Will something suffer as a result? Pulling the trigger on tech should guarantee at least twice the returns of not doing it. If technology is out of your budget, do some research and figure out if you can get something similar for cheaper (you probably can). There should be an organizational process in place to vet software purchases before they’re made.

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[button style=”” url=”https://www.leadmd.com/resource/decision-tree-tech-stack/” size=”20″ block=”true”] Infographic: Have you answered these questions yet? [/button]

Any holiday shopper can relate to the feeling of new gadget attraction. Every year brings some new tech innovation that so tantalizingly promises to solve all of your problems you can’t get it out of your mind. It can make you crazy, hoping and wishing you’ll find it under the tree so to speak. But like the saying goes, “The things we own end up owning us.”

If all you want for Christmas is a marketing tech stack that works, channel that Christmas spirit and focus on quality over quantity for the people who matter most to your business. Master your existing tech stack and make sure it gives more than it receives.

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