What Is MarTech? How Is It Used?
Martech, short for marketing technology, is a broad term that includes any software or digital tools that help marketers get people educated and excited about an organization’s products and services. Essentially, it involves leveraging technology — or, more often, a technology stack — to plan, execute and measure the success of marketing campaigns.
The Martech Stack
What Is Martech?
Martech, or marketing technology, includes the software and other digital tools used to make both the individual facets and the entire process of marketing more streamlined. Martech is leveraged to more easily research, plan, execute and measure the success of their campaigns and other tactics, as well as maintain communication with customers. More often than not, martech is utilized as part of an entire group of technology — otherwise known as a martech stack. We’ll discuss that more a little later.
What Is Martech?
Martech, or marketing technology, encompasses all of the software and other digital tools that companies use to plan, execute and measure the success of marketing campaigns and other tactics. More often than not, this is accomplished with an entire group of technology — otherwise known as a martech stack.
Martech and Types of Marketing
To fully understand what martech does, it’s important to first understand the role of marketing — an essential component of any successful business.
Marketing is the process of acquiring, retaining and engaging with customers by getting them excited about a given company’s product or service. This involves making people aware of a product or service, piquing their interest, and making it easy for them to access the product or service.
Of course, this looks different depending on a given company’s goals. Social media marketing involves the use of social media channels like Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to build a brand, connect with customers, drive website traffic and increase sales. Within that, there is influencer marketing, which is a strategy that relies on the virality and popularity of social media influencers, who are paid to endorse products.
Meanwhile, content marketing focuses on creating custom materials like blogs or videos that attract an audience and convert them into customers. SEO, or search engine optimization, marketing involves increasing unpaid (known as organic) traffic to a given company’s site through a variety of technical and content-related practices, making it easier for people to find that site.
Finally, product marketing is a combination of marketing, product, user research and sales working together to ensure the right product is being made for the right customer.
And these varying types of marketing are used differently depending on who the company is marketing to.
How Is Martech Used in B2C, D2C and B2B Companies?
Business-to-consumer, or B2C, companies (McDonald’s, Walmart, Amazon) and direct-to-consumer, or D2C, companies (think Dollar Shave Club, Blue Apron, Warby Parker) focus on — you guessed it — consumers, or individual people. Marketing efforts at these companies are much more transactional, and are focused on making sure that the messaging to customers makes the company seem trustworthy and cultivates customer loyalty.
They can accomplish this by identifying customer and industry trends and formulating campaigns to advertise their product, service, or entire brand to audiences. Famous marketing campaign examples include Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like” ads, American Express’ Small Business Saturday campaign, or Chipotle’s viral #ChipotleRoyalty TikTok challenge. Marketers measure the success of these campaigns over time, and maintain communication with customers through avenues like social media and email.
Meanwhile, for B2B, or business-to-business companies (like Salesforce, Slack, Toast) it is more about targeting specific customers, building personal relationships with them, and maintaining open and regular communication. This is accomplished through lead generation — attracting prospects with marketing materials like blog posts, podcasts and explainer videos, and guiding them towards a sale. And, once a prospect becomes a customer, the relationship and communication with them is closely monitored and maintained.
The Difference Between Martech and Adtech
Although the terms often get conflated, marketing tech and advertising tech (otherwise known as adtech) are not the same. And their differences lie in what makes advertising and marketing different from each other.
Again, marketing is the process of acquiring, retaining and engaging with customers, be they individual people or other companies. Advertising, however, is strictly focused on influencing buyer behavior and promoting a given product or service. Therefore, martech is used to help companies get to know their customers and then get them excited about their product, service or brand. And adtech encompasses all the tools companies use to determine their target audience, promote their products and services, and monitor the success of their digital campaigns.
In other words: advertising is a component of marketing.
The Martech Stack
What’s in a Martech Stack?
For marketing teams to do their job effectively, they often have to rely on a whole group of technology, which is also known as a martech stack. This is a collection of software and digital tools that work together to improve a company’s marketing efforts, and it is often managed by a designated marketing technologist.
- Email marketing
- Customer relationship management
- Customer experience software
- Content management
What exactly goes into a given company’s stack varies based on their unique objectives and business model. So, to build a strong martech stack, a company must first figure out its key marketing metrics — that is, goals or key performance indicators that establish a clear path to success. In doing that, companies also need to consider their brand’s unique value and what makes it stand out from the competition. Understanding these differentiators will help pinpoint the martech tools and resources that will be the most helpful.
From there, companies must take inventory of their existing tech stack to see what they need, and then build out a marketing tech stack from that based on their customers’ unique journey down the marketing funnel.
While every company’s martech stack looks different, all of them are designed to work in harmony to attract, engage and understand their customers in their own way.
Martech Tools (With Examples)
Here are just some of the categories of technology one can find in a martech stack today.
Analytic tools are useful in helping marketers better understand their customer base and monitor the effectiveness of specific marketing campaigns or materials. Marketers also rely on a plethora of analytics to develop targeted ads and timely posts that increase social media engagement.
In fact, there are several kinds of marketing analytics tools, depending on the strategy and goal. Web analytics tools help marketers track, measure and report website activity such as traffic, time spent on the website and where users come from. Hotjar, Google Analytics and Contentsquare are popular web analytics tools. And then there are email marketing analytics tools, which track things like how many people opened a given email, how far they read and which subject lines got opened more. Examples of these include Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the lifeblood of maintaining a strong digital presence. While there are simple rules of thumb to boost their SEO ranking, companies are increasingly leaning on SEO software as well. This tech analyzes which keywords are currently performing well in a given industry, and then helps marketers create targeted content to increase web traffic. Many also offer competitor data and broad industry analysis.
Ahrefs and Semrush are both popular SEO software options. Some free alternatives include Google Search Console, SEO Analyzer and SEOquake.
Email is an effective route for marketing teams to keep in touch with their customers, and there are specific tools designed to make it easier to launch and optimize those campaigns. Services include templates for creating new emails, A/B testing, ensuring emails get sent to customer inboxes efficiently, and more.
Drip is an email automation software that allows companies to send personalized emails to customers automatically when they perform a certain action, like buy an item or abandon their cart. Campaign Monitor is another popular email marketing tool, which offers templates and a drag-and-drop email builder that allows users to customize everything from font to color schemes.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management, or CRM, technology can be helpful in building better relationships with current customers by tracking communication, payments, orders, and any other interaction all in one place. Because CRMs can be good for lead generation, they are more common for B2B companies.
Some popular CRM tools include HubSpot Sales Hub, Salesforce CRM and Zendesk Sales.
Customer Experience Management
This part of the marketing technology stack is focused on helping companies monitor and manage their customer interactions across their entire journey, particularly as it relates to the company’s website. The idea is that marketing teams can use these tools to offer faster, more personalized support and communication with their customers. Many customer experience tools offer things like A/B testing and personalization for different website visitors.
In addition to being popular CRM software, Salesforce, Zendesk and HubSpot are go-to customer experiences management options as well.
Once custom content has been created, it is important for marketers to be able to manage it. Content management tools are great in helping companies not only keep track of all their marketing materials and website content (otherwise known as owned media), but also update, tag and edit that content as well. Some content management systems, or CMSs, also have built-in analytics capabilities for tracking content engagement, while others work with third-party plug-ins like Google Analytics.
Drupal, Squarespace, WordPress and Adobe Experience Cloud are all popular CMS options.