Choosing the right marketing technology stack to fit your long-term product strategy can prove a tricky challenge. It’s become a critical challenge, too, as the past year has helped accelerate digital transformation for businesses across the globe. Research shows that the pandemic pushed technology adoption forward by an average of seven years. This means that, in just a few months, marketing technology tools went from being ‘nice to have’ to ‘must haves’ for companies creating digital products.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all martech stack that will work for all businesses. While there are countless enticing tools out there for you to try, picking the right stack for your specific business goals can be daunting. So, how do you go about it?
Strategy first, martech stack second
First, make sure you do things in the right order. Don’t fall for every shiny new tool that’s launched on the market. Instead, carefully craft your marketing strategy first, and let that dictate the tools you’re going to use in your martech stack. If you allow the tools to dictate the strategy, you might veer off the path and lose sight of what’s important for your business and your target market.
Now, Tapptitude has been in the mobile app and web development business for a long time, and over the years, we’ve tried too many martech tools to even remember. We know that a client’s martech stack will depend on the industry, the specifics of the product, and the unique business objectives. That’s why we recommend custom martech tools to each client, keeping in mind that ‘less is more’ applies to digital marketing, as well. That being said, some technologies are commonly found in our martech toolbox, and we’re going to go through them and explain why they’re useful below. Here are our favourite and most commonly-used martech tools.
Tapptitude recommends: the right martech stack toolkit for your mobile app
A recent report by Gartner showed that 68% of CMOs expect to increase their investment in martech tools in 2021. However, a 2019 Gartner report also revealed that marketers across the U.S. and the U.K. only used 58% of their martech stack’s full capabilities.
What does this mean, exactly? It means that, while marketers are placing high importance on their martech stack, they’re having trouble picking and making the best out of their martech tools. That’s mainly because, as we’ve emphasised previously, the wide range of martech options available on the market today can be overwhelming, and marketers might be tempted to try them all, instead of focusing on just a few essential tools. Here are some of our favourite martech tools that get the job done for most businesses across industries.
First thing’s first: the data infrastructure
Before trying out different martech tools and technologies and getting all confused, you’ll want to design your analytics battle plan. Create an analytics scheme to help you visualise what you’re trying to accomplish, what channels you’re going to use, and only then identify the types of tools you’ll need.
When it comes to setting up product analytics, every team needs a Customer Data Platform that can provide insight and analytics; a CX tool to create user journeys and map the results; a marketing attribution tool; and specific tools to work with the channels where you’re running distribution. Finally, to make sense of all this, you’ll want to plug a data visualisation tool into the data warehouse that will help you interpret the analytics and give you a big picture of where you are and where you’re heading.
Founders tend to believe that they’ll figure out what works easily, but the more complex the product, the more complex and expensive the tech stack behind the scenes that’s tracking what is actually happening. Without a full overview of acquisition, activation, engagement, retention and revenue funnels, you can’t make good decisions on how to scale a product.
For an MVP, that can be a simple emailing list that can be easily set up with tools like Sendgrid or Mailchimp and a data analysis tool. Building for scale implies an entire ecosystem of tools such as a Customer Data Platform (CDP) like Segment, a data analysis and visualisation tool like Mixpanel, and a CX tool to build complex User Journeys, analyse the success of your campaigns, and adjust on the go.
Lead generation tools
According to a recent Hubspot report, 63% of marketers say lead generation is one of their biggest challenges in 2021. It’s no wonder then that lead generation tools are a permanent staple in our martech toolkit. Their purpose is basically to connect users to your product, and that’s probably the biggest hurdle to overcome in a market that’s saturated with mobile products. It can seem almost impossible to capture a user’s attention, but there are a few tools that can get the job done if used right.
Google search, display, and video ads are the most effective at getting users’ attention, even in 2021. The platform offers a wealth of insight and detailed targeting options that help you get your product in front of your target audience. Your competitors will use it, too, but if you use it right and make the best of what Google has to offer, you can get the upper hand. However, relying on Google Ads alone is not enough if you want to see results.
Launched in 2006, Demandbase uses patented technology that identifies businesses visiting your website by using their IP address, in real-time, without using cookies. The B2B marketing tool also offers services like target account marketing, Facebook ad targeting, and managed analytics consulting. It helps you reach the right people at the right companies that might be interested in your mobile product.
Whether you work in marketing or not, you’re definitely already familiar with WordPress. In fact, WordPress now powers 40% of all the websites on the Internet – basically one-third of the world wide web. Why? Because it’s an easy-to-use, easy-to-set-up, open-source CMS that nowadays supports online stores, membership sites, media galleries, mailing lists, learning management systems, and more. Another plus is that everyone in your team is likely to already know their way around the platform, which definitely makes things easier.
Conversion Rate Optimisation:
One of the most powerful tools out there for CRO, Hotjar gives you insight into the behaviour and preferences of your online users. It extracts insight from clicks, website actions, surveys, reviews, sessions, and lots more, to give you a clear picture of how users are interacting with your product and how you can improve that interaction. It’s an extremely useful tool that can help you boost your website performance, conversion rates, and user experience.
Launched in 2006 by Neil Patel, Crazy Egg is an online platform that aims to help companies improve their conversion rates through A/B testing. You can run engagement analyses, audience segmentation, improve site navigation, and extract visual heatmaps, scroll maps, as well as referral traffic and audience demographics reports. There are 22 available filters to use, to get the information you need and pinpoint ways to increase conversions.
Customer Data Platform and analytics
Nowadays, startups and businesses have a wealth of data at their disposal, coming at them from every possible direction. Consolidating this data and extracting insight from it is both a challenge and a necessity. There are various tools available that can help you with this daunting task, but these are the ones we turn to when we need to consolidate and interpret user data effectively and intuitively.
First launched in 2011, Segment is a handy tool that lets you gather customer data from multiple channels and platforms, offering a comprehensive view of your customer journey. It allows you to customise emails based on user behaviour, and send a consistent message across all user-facing channels in one go. You can use it to unify different integrations and simplify the code required to make them work, thus reducing development time. With the help of Segment, you can collect, consolidate, and connect to more than 200 analytics, marketing, and data warehouse tools, including Mixpanel, Facebook Analytics, or Firebase.
As they put it on their website, Heap lets you ‘illuminate the full customer journey.’ What they mean to say is that the tool helps you shed light on overlooked, hidden issues that can negatively impact user experience and the customer journey. They do this by automatically collecting all possible user data, to highlight the insights that you might be missing in your research.
Another powerful data tool, Mixpanel helps product teams become more efficient by allowing every team member to analyse user data in real-time, analyse trends, and understand user behaviour. Mixpanel tracks user interactions with web and mobile applications, and can aggregate data from other platforms like Segment or Branch.io. It works with SaaS web applications but also supports mobile apps, which makes it a great and useful tool for companies that operate on both platforms.
CX and attribution tools
Nowadays, with the multitude of apps launching every month, offering the best possible customer experience has become a real challenge. With advancements in technology paving the way for powerful and super-fast mobile products, standing out from the competition lies in the ability to attract and retain customers. The following tools help you streamline and optimise your customer journey, pinpoint issues related to your customer experience, and boost customer engagement, the Holy Grail of all marketing efforts.
Braze is a powerful customer engagement tool used by high-profile companies like HBO, SoundCloud, Etsy or The Guardian. It’s a great all-in-one platform for email marketing, in-app and web messaging, push notifications, content marketing, and more. The app earned the Gartner Magic Quadrant award for Mobile Marketing Platforms in 2019, and Forbes even listed Braze at #56 on its Cloud 100 list in 2020. It’s an incredibly popular and useful tool; according to the Wall Street Journal, Braze delivers close to 100 billion messages each month. The only downside is that pricing reportedly varies from $50,000 to $220,000, so it might not be the best choice if you have a limited budget.
Another useful tool to boost customer engagement is Branch.io, a platform that allows you to track installs, campaigns, attributions, generate deep links, and aggregate all this data into one single view. Its functionality differs from Braze in that it’s focused on attribution, while Braze focuses mainly on messaging. It basically helps you design a seamless customer journey and experience across all of your channels, and ensures every user touchpoint is optimised for high engagement. It’s another very popular option, used by companies like Reddit, Strava, and BuzzFeed, and it’s one that we always have in our martech toolbox.
Email automation tools
With all the busywork surrounding a new mobile product, the last thing you want to do is waste time sending out emails manually. By automating email marketing campaigns, you’ll reduce the time you spend on repetitive tasks and have more time and energy to focus on higher-value work. What’s more, email automation platforms also provide various useful features, like in-depth targeting options and endless customisation tools. You can leverage these tools to deploy personalised welcome campaigns, user verification emails, promotions or company announcements, product updates, legal information, and much more.
We love using SendGrid for transactional emails, as it’s very powerful in terms of API integrations, has low bounce rates, and good email delivery. It’s a cloud-based service that helps you manage all kinds of processes, from newsletters, sign-up emails, and promotional messaging, to ISP monitoring, feedback loops, support, and more. It also offers a comprehensive view of how your email campaigns are performing, giving you data such as bounce rates, unsubscribes, spam reports, opens, and so on. SendGrid clients include Airbnb, Foursquare, Pandora, and Uber, and big messaging providers like Iterable are actually built on it.
If you’ve ever had to send out a company newsletter, then you’re surely already familiar with MailChimp. It’s a powerful tool most commonly used for newsletters and email marketing campaigns, but it can do a lot more than that. From custom newsletters and outreach campaigns to personalised forms and audience segmentation, it has a lot to offer. The best part is that it offers a free plan with up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 sends per month, making it a great option for tight budgets and smaller campaigns.
Based in Chicago, ActiveCampaign is a cloud software automation tool specifically designed for small and mid-sized businesses. It provides various tools and features to help with customer experience automation, or CXA, with a focus on marketing and sales automation. The interesting part is that it also offers customer support management features, and easily integrates with Salesforce, WordPress, Facebook, Gmail, PayPal, and pretty much any other platform out there. ActiveCampaign offers a lot of bang for your buck, ranging in pricing from $9 per month to $229 per month for an enterprise account.
Conclusion – When it comes to your martech stack, less is more
You might be thinking, wow, that’s a lot of tools we’ve just analysed, I can’t possibly keep track of all of them. But before you start feeling overwhelmed, remember that you don’t need to hurry up and get all the tools on this list. What you need to do is figure out your marketing strategy and overall business goals, and then determine the types of tools you’ll need to achieve them. To sum up:
Lead generation tools
- Help your bridge the gap between your target audience and your product, via your website, ads, or CRO;
Customer Data Platform (CDP) and analytics tools
- Help you aggregate, consolidate, and interpret large amounts of data to gain insight into how users interact with your product;
CX and attribution tools
- Help you improve the user experience, streamline the interaction with your users, and reach a higher customer engagement;
Email automation tools
- Help you automate repetitive tasks and ensure seamless communication with your customers across all your marketing channels.
You need a full stack of tools to be able to market your product and see the results of your marketing efforts, while gaining insight into the way people are using your products. These are the types of insights you’ll constantly need to keep making good business decisions for your startup.
At Tapptitude, we don’t just help founders build their product, we also help them set up their analytics tech stack, plan what to measure for, and what next steps to take depending on the data they see. If you’re looking for a product partner to help you on this journey, let’s talk.