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Just as you can’t build a solid, long-lasting edifice on a foundation of mucky soil, the foundation of the marketing technology stack is critical to its efficacy and long-term benefit to the organization. You need to build on bedrock, and for martech, that means CRM (customer relationship management), marketing automation and tag management.

The stack” at any given company was likely conceived by the chief marketing officer (CMO) and chief technology officer (CTO), but in many businesses — from startups to enterprises — it now stands alone in a marketing technology department. And given recent rapid changes in marketing technology, it may have been built on shaky ground (by today’s standards).

That’s where you come in.

Ideally, the various tools in your stack take your data and turn it into customized marketing programs that are 1) automated and 2) measurable. Ultimately, this means happier customers because they’re getting exactly what they want at exactly the right time.

Plus, the CEO is happy, which means you’re happy. Everyone wins.

But to achieve that goal, you need to ensure you’re building on a rock-solid technological foundation.

Started From The Bottom, Now We’re Here

A foundational principle of today’s marketing is that you need to focus on customers first. Enter CRM, the place where you keep your customer information organized.


You should be able to import data that you find, create or buy so that it can be marketed — automatically. This ties into customer management, which can overlap with CRM but is also part of the stack in its own right.

You can use an enterprise-level CRM, like Salesforce, or an SMB-level CRM like Nimble, and there are many others to choose from. The key is to start collecting your customer data, so that your sales and marketing efforts will work more effectively.

Remember that it’s more of an approach than a specific technology — there are oodles of great, specific options out there. There’s tech to automate, sync and/or organize everything from actual customer service to sales or tech support. CRM should be customer-oriented and usually features sales force automation, data warehouse technology to aggregate data, and opportunity management.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media and websites) and automate repetitive tasks. It’s what gets you there, and it’s made up of all kinds of campaigns, activities and other goodies that help you follow leads while relying on the criteria you need.

Lead nurturing via sales funnels, all ending with an automatic CRM update? Yes, please. We’ve worked with Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot, Silverpop and many other marketing automation platforms. Pick one that you feel works best for your organization.

Tag Management

Finally, tag management rounds out the martech stack foundation trifecta. Did you know there are well over 2,000 marketing technologies out there and counting?

Tag management helps you deploy tags on your websites with ease. If you’re not tagging, you’re not providing a link between your customers and your online presence.

You want to be agile, quick and nimble. Deploying marketing technologies through a tag management system (TMS) makes it quick and painless. This also allows you to test multiple competitive tools at the same time and get real data to show you which is the best.

As You Choose Stack Components, Invest In Keeping It Open


While the large Frankenstein marketing clouds being built through acquisition are getting great mind share, their promise of supposedly fulfilling everything an advertiser needs within one company/cloud seems to be more and more disjointed (from what the market wants), rather than connected.

Advertisers who want to use Adobe’s Experience Manager and Site Catalyst — but also try Oracle’s new Maxymiser acquisition, IBM’s Silverpop, Salesforce’s Radian6 or any other number of marketing technologies from the martech landscape — are able to do so when they’re deployed through an independently owned premium tag management tool like Ensighten, Tealium or Signal.

New automation and marketing capabilities are being added all the time, and agile marketers need to be able to deploy whatever they want, wherever they want, and to remove it if it’s not delivering. They also need to collect, own and act on all of their marketing data. To do that, they must use tools that work well with others, rather than those that lock them into a certain “system.”


As the CMTO at technology consulting firm CCP Global, I always suggest to my clients that they build their own custom, scalable marketing cloud, starting with the foundational tools of of CRM, marketing automation and tag management.

Once you have a solid martech stack foundation, it’s time to start building up the rest of your marketing structure in earnest. Use all of your construction tools: list building, blogging, retargeting, social and landing page optimization.

Don’t try to build on muck. Make sure your foundation is solid first — then you can start building upon it.