It’s no surprise that we, at Iterable, are proponents of a streamlined martech stack. Having a tool that can execute multiple tasks and create cohesive customer experiences across multiple channels is not only a way to build an improved customer experience, but can save time, and money too.
By reducing the tools in your martech stack you’re not only reducing friction in your processes, but you’re consolidating contracts, RFPs, terminology, etc. Plus, by consolidating tools, you may find ways to streamline workflows and centralize data, freeing up more time for your marketing team to think of the big picture.
Maybe you relate to these common marketing challenges but aren’t totally sure if your martech stack needs a facelift. That’s fair. So, to help get you started, we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask yourself as you embark on your martech stack evaluation.
Martech Stack Audit, Revisited
Before we dive into the list of questions, let’s briefly revisit the martech stack audit we covered in Martech Stack Consolidation, Part 1. One crucial element of starting a martech stack audit is documenting information about your stack in a way that’s going to help you and other people that read your documentation answer the most common questions.
We recommend starting a spreadsheet that has a series of columns to organize the information that will help you answer the common questions you’ll want to be able to refer back to. For example “a column for the platform, what it does, what use case it supports, what it integrates with, pricing, point of contact, and when it renews.”
Questions to Ask Yourself
Starting a martech stack evaluation can quickly become overwhelming. With these questions we’re hoping to help you and your team stay organized, stay focused, and make decisions that benefit the business.
As you begin your evaluation, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:
1. Have we mapped out our key use cases?
This is #1 for a reason. Technology evaluations provide the most value when starting from clear use cases. Strip away all the clutter and think about the very basic use cases your business is meant to execute. “You have to start with a basic set of tools that allows you to execute your business’ most important use case. These core use cases are a great way to communicate the value these tools provide to your company.
2. What is the measure of success for each tool in our stack?
When looking at all the tools you have in your stack, you have to consider how you’re defining success. Defining concrete metrics, and tying the use cases the tool supports to outcomes will establish the value of the tool, how well it’s performing, and sometimes ROI.
3. How is each tool performing against that measure?
Once you’ve established what success looks like, in an ideal state, look at the tools you have and how they compare to those measures of success. This activity brings forward issues you may not have realized before. Say, for example, you have an email service provider (ESP) that isn’t allowing you to send the monthly volume you would consider successful based on your pre-determined metrics.
4. Do we have an active system owner for each tool?
Is there someone on your team that owns each tool? Owners generally understand the ins and outs of the technology and use the tool often. Ensuring the tools have owners can prevent tools from going extended periods of time without evaluation.
5. Are we near or pacing to exceed our contract limits?
Understanding the contracts you have with each of your vendors is critical to managing your stack effectively. Are you reaching a limit on some, and not utilizing the full scope of others? This question provides an opportunity to both save if you’re not fulfilling the line items you’re paying for and inform your annual planning process for increases beyond the norm when having to expand a contract.
6. How well is our current tech stack going to support the planned needs of our team?
Here’s where you need to start looking into the future. Consider your future roadmap and what your business is planning. Do the tools in your current stack help your team meet these upcoming goals? Starting with use cases again is a great place to begin. Going through this process some things that you ask might be related to scale, security, workflow, availability specific data points, or features needed.
This may present another opportunity to consolidate. Is there a tool that can execute the current tasks and help with future tasks? “While one martech tool can’t replace all other tools in your stack, the right tool can perform a majority of necessary tasks and seamlessly integrate with other tools to create an all-in-one effect.”
A Step in the Right Direction
As Benjamin Franklin said, “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” Well said, Benny. While he likely wasn’t talking about martech stack evaluation, we like the message.
There are going to be changes, opportunities for growth, and new ideas that arise for your business, but if you keep muddying the martech waters with multiple tools, you’re not setting yourself up for success. Take the time now to look inward at your martech stack, evaluate your needs, and then look for opportunities to consolidate and simplify.