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MarTech Stack Consolidation Part 3: Looking Forward

In the first part of this series we covered looking inward and auditing your own martech stack to understand what each tool does and how your team uses them. Once you have a good feel for what your stack is made of and where the gaps are, you can move on to step two: looking outward—selecting tools to optimize your stack. Now, it’s time for the final step—looking forward. 

Looking forward is really just an answer to the question we all ask ourselves at some point: “now what?” Once you’ve established your gaps and overlaps and evaluated the options that exist on the market today to help you consolidate to a more efficient martech stack, it’s time to set the wheels in motion.

A Quick Refresh on Looking Inward and Outward

Just in case you’re under the wire and don’t have time to reread two full posts (although we definitely recommend perusing eventually), we’re going to speed through a recap of looking inward and looking outward.

Looking Inward

Let’s start with looking inward. This first step is all about evaluation. Taking a look at your current martech stack and understanding what tools are absolutely essential, which are not, and if there are capabilities in existing tools that aren’t being utilized by your team. It all boils down to the question, “Would removing any of these tools impede your team’s ability to execute the necessary use case?

Looking Outward

Then, there’s looking outward. You’ve gone through your stack architecture, you’ve created an inventory spreadsheet, you’ve thought about your team’s use cases, and now you need to evaluate martech tools. Looking outward is about the trifecta: partners, features, and support. There are marketing tools out there for pretty much everything you can imagine but a true all-in-one marketing platform will have an ecosystem of partner integrations, a detailed product roadmap, and customer support to help you get the most out of the tool. 

If you’re not sure of the right questions to ask when evaluating martech tools, we’ve put together a guide to help

Once you’ve selected the right tool, it’s time to put your plan into action. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.

Looking Forward: Making the Most of Your MarTech Stack

Now that you’ve made your choice regarding your martech platform, it’s time to make the most of the tool you’ve chosen. We recommend a cycle of exploring, experimenting, and adjusting to ensure you’re continuously using your tool in the most beneficial and effective way possible.

Exploring Your Platform

First, it’s important to get familiar with the tool you have. Sure, you explored the tools’ capabilities in the looking outward stage, but it’s likely those examples or capabilities were shared in the context of an example—not with your actual use cases. When looking forward with your martech stack you need to be sure you understand all of the tools’ capabilities and how the tools can work for your specific business. 

This is where support is crucial. To start, having an Implementation team will be critical in setting your brand up for success. An Implementation Consultant ensures the platform is set up to optimize for your team’s use cases. Then, you’ll want to be sure your brand is assigned a Customer Success Manager (CSM) and you’ll be able to ask them questions specific to how you intend to use the platform after implementation. 

Don’t be afraid to poke around the tool and explore every nook and cranny to make sure you know what the tool can do. And don’t forget to get your team involved! They may have different ideas for how to use certain features, widening the breadth of how the one tool can help everyone.

Experimenting With Features

When you bring your team into the process, you’ll see features through different lenses and gain different perspectives on how certain features can be used. This is when you can really start to dig into experimentation. Remember: nothing is set in stone. You can try a feature one way and, if it doesn’t go the way you were hoping, you can try something else. 

Take Iterable Studio, for example. Maybe you set up a Journey in Iterable and it only involves email. It runs totally smoothly and emails get sent out to the right segments without a problem. However, you’re thinking about adding a third email to your onboarding flow. Don’t just think about it, test it out (for frequency, send time, and even the content), see what happens. Flexibility will take you far.

Adjusting Your Processes

Speaking of flexibility, think about why you embarked on this martech consolidation journey in the first place—you had too many tools that were used by too many teams and there were too many features that were going unused. It was all too much. If you can adjust as you go, making sure you’re creating processes that fit your tools rather than getting tools that fit your processes, you’ll avoid going down the same chaotic path. 

Take the Iterable Studio example we used above. Testing and adjusting go hand-in-hand. Say your onboarding journey is perfect, the three emails work great, but now you need to incorporate a new channel—SMS. You could start looking for an SMS platform or you could adjust the journeys you already have to incorporate the new channels. Small change, big results. 

Empowering Forward-Thinking Marketers

Albert Einstein said, “Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” We’d like to think this applies to marketing as well. If something isn’t working for you with your current martech stack, you have to push forward to find a solution. 

While it may seem like a daunting task to explore, experiment, and adjust within your martech tool, this cycle gets easier the more you do it. You’ve chosen your new platform, so the goal now is to continuously move forward and use it in the most efficient and effective ways possible. Without understanding your tool you’ll seek new capabilities, new tools will pop up, and your martech stack will become unwieldy once again—bringing you back to where you first started.

It’s early in the year, so there’s no better time to look inward, look outward, and look forward. 

To learn why Iterable is the right choice for consolidating your tech stack, schedule a custom demo today

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