How to Assess Your MarTech Stack

With nearly ten thousand martech solutions available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right stack for your organization. Every available software comes with its own set of benefits, all designed to make marketer’s lives easier. It’s up to you to decide which tools will best help you optimize your marketing efforts. 


What is Marketing Technology?

Marketing Technology (MarTech) describes the software and tools that are used to execute marketing activities and achieve objectives. The right set of MarTech tools help organizations optimize their marketing efforts, easily execute initiatives, and measure success so that they can make improvements.

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In less than 10 minutes, you can find out if you’re currently using the right MarTech tools for your team. This helps you boost the value of your marketing investments.

Why Is it Important to Assess Your MarTech Stack?

Assessing your MarTech stack has become more important than ever. As we all navigate these challenging times, businesses are having to figure out ways to do more with less. Marketing budgets are tight and having unnecessary tools within your suite is not an option.

Here are just a few reasons why, as a business, you must be evaluating your martech stack: 

  1. You need to know if your investments are paying off  
    If you don’t know or can’t answer whether your investments are paying off, it’s not a good look. You run this risk of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the business questioning marketing’s accountability on budgeting and profitability. If every dollar isn’t being spent strategically to benefit the organization, it’s time to re-evaluate. 
  2. Without the right mix of tools, you’ll be underperforming 
    Assessing MarTech is about more than just picking the right tools. The right mix of tools will help your organization to perform at its highest level, that’s the entire purpose of choosing them. However, if you aren’t (a) using the right mix of tools and (b) using the tools to their fullest potential, you’ll be underperforming. Plus, you won’t be maximizing your investment. 
  3. It helps you understand where you can free up budget for other resources 
    Often times, organizations are taking advantage of MarTech tools, but there are several in which they’re getting little to no value from. This is one big reason why assessing your MarTech stack is so important. If you are using the wrong tools or you’re getting no value from certain tools, it’s time to sunset them and free up budget for other resources. 
  4. Helps you to see if you are overstaffed and focused in the wrong areas 
    Assessing your MarTech stack can do more than help you free up your budget. It also helps you to see the big picture and re-think the way your marketing team is run. Think about it – if you have too many tools that you don’t need, you could also be overstaffed. Or maybe you’re just focused on the wrong areas entirely. For example, maybe you’re currently investing in analytics tools, but you actually need more content management tools and social media management tools to be successful. 

A 3 Step Approach to Assessing Your MarTech Stack

Forward-thinking marketing organizations must be thinking about their martech stack. Whether you work for a large, multi-million-dollar business or run a small to medium-sized business, you should be investing in MarTech. It’s a line item for any organization’s marketing department. 

Here is a simple three step approach to use when assessing your organization’s MarTech stack. 

1. Look at Your Budget 

BDO Digital’s Demand Generation Group surveyed several dozen top marketing leaders and found that they spend an average of 20%, in some cases as much as 40%, of marketing budget on technology. That doesn’t include the cost of hiring staff to manage and administer it. When you’re investing so much in MarTech, it’s unwise to leave the health of your stack to chance. 

In the same study, we also asked questions such as the following: 

  • Do you know if you’re getting your money’s worth out of your MarTech investments? 
  • Are you extracting full value from the systems you use most? 
  • Have you figured out the gaps and what tools you’ll need to complete your stack? 

In most cases, the answer to these questions was, “no.” 

Think of your marketing tools as employees for a moment. Just like employee salaries, the cost of marketing tools is fixed and recurring (unlike marketing campaign, content creation, and advertising). You evaluate your employees during regular performance reviews to ensure that they’re reaching their goals and performing at a high level. Assessing your MarTech stack is very similar – you're looking at all your tools to make sure they’re performing the way they should and helping you achieve your goals. 

2. Perform an Assessment

After looking at your budget, the next step is to perform an assessment. It’s time to take an in-depth look at your MarTech stack to understand where you can make improvements.  

5 Criteria for a Thorough Assessment

Like any assessment or performance review, the place to start is with criteria. What are you looking at and measuring to draw conclusions about your MarTech stack?  Depending on the size and breadth of your technology stack, and assessment can become complex quickly. If you’ve never assessed your MarTech stack in the past, this will make things even more complicated. 

To conduct a complete yet straightforward assessment, use the following five criteria (four are qualitative, one is quantitative): 

  • Impact: What is the system’s impact on helping the company achieve its marketing objectives? 
  • Usage: How much time and resources are spent using the system/tool? 
  • Adoption: How well are the system’s capabilities being leveraged by the team? 
  • Integration: How well is the system integrated with other tools in the company’s stack? 
  • Investment: How much of the marketing budget is spent on the system/tool? 

By using these criteria to evaluate each marketing tool, you’ll be able to conduct an assessment that provides you with the information you need to move forward with your technology strategy confidently.


Follow the Assessment Process

An assessment is about more than just evaluating each tool against the five criteria. The entire process involves many steps that help you gain a deeper understanding of where you currently stand. Below is a summary of the assessment process: 

  • Assemble key stakeholders that can provide an assessment for each key system in the stack 
  • Assess each of your primary tools against the five criteria 
  • Use visuals (charts and pictorials) to share assessment insights 
  • Summarize key actions and priorities, including which tools to enhance, maintain or sunset 
  • Assign actions to team members 
  • Repeat the assessment at least twice a year

After the Assessment

After evaluating each system in your MarTech stack against these five criteria, you will obtain the insights you need to decide which tools should stay, which should go, and where you can make changes to get more value out of the systems you have in place. You’ll also identify gaps so that you know what needs to be put in place in the months to come. 

Once the assessment is complete, ask yourself the following questions:  

  • Have you added the right tools and are you sunsetting those that aren’t providing value?  
  • Are you leveraging all the right capabilities in the tools that you use most?  

Now that you know what to prioritize, it's time to think about strategy.  

The D3 Methodology provides a roadmap for your demand generation engine. And while technology is vital to all your efforts. It's not enough. Technology alone — without strategy, knowledge, resources, and ongoing management and administration — will not enable your organization to achieve a mature demand generation state. In other words, your strategy is the fuel for your demand generation initiatives. 

3. Consider a Partnership

Again, an assessment can get complicated quickly. There are lots of moving parts and conducting an assessment thoroughly and efficiently requires experience. If your organization is busy, doesn’t have the necessary experience, or lacks the resources to conduct an assessment, it may best to engage a vendor. Take advantage of what vendors can provide but set realistic expectations and know what services a vendor will be able to provide before making that commitment.  

New Year, New Plan – Re-Evaluate Your Marketing Technology Stack Today

The end of another year is upon us, and Q1 is the perfect time to assess your MarTech stack. During Q4 is the perfect time to start thinking about the approach you will take. If you’re looking to work with a team of experienced professionals, BDO Digital can explain our process in depth and work closely with you to take your MarTech stack to the next level. 

Our free MarTech Assessment provides you with a score of your MarTech stack and a breakdown of improvement areas with actionable steps. Contact us today to learn more about how you can optimize your MarTech stack. Our team is dedicated to helping you maximize your return on investment!