How to Evaluate Your Marketing Tech Stack (And Actually Prove Its Value!)

Katie Cavanaugh
October 27, 2022

Whether you’ve just recently changed positions and become a new marketing leader, need to scale your team and its abilities, or are looking for areas you can squeeze some extra budget from, understanding the effectiveness of your marketing tech stack is no easy feat. 

With over 9,932 marketing tech (martech) companies to choose from in 2022, a number that is still growing, it’s hard to know where to start. How can you be sure you’re picking the right tools for your team, your company, your budget, and so on? 

We broke down the steps to evaluate your marketing technology stack and better understand the return on investment.

What Is a Marketing Tech Stack?

HubSpot defines a marketing tech stack as: 

“[T]he list of tools that marketers use to execute elements of their marketing campaigns, from lead generation to email marketing, from social media management to search engine optimization.”

Beyond their definition, we think it’s important to note that many martech tools are used by and impact other teams. Marketing often collaborates with sales teams, customer teams, product and design teams, and more to reach potential customers. 

Types of Marketing Tools

As mentioned, there are thousands of martech tools available today. Since no two marketing teams are alike, the martech stack of every team is bound to be unique. Many teams use tools to automate and streamline the following processes: 

  • Collaboration and communication 
  • Project management 
  • Content management and asset creation 
  • Web analytics and insights 
  • Advertisement creation and analysis
  • Social media and email marketing 
  • Marketing automation 
  • SEO and CRO 
  • Events and webinars

Of course, depending on the team’s strategy, other software and tools are layered on top of those used for these foundational processes. 

Why Is It Important to Evaluate Your Tech Stack?

It’s likely your company’s goals will change with time. As a marketing leader, it’s your responsibility to shape marketing’s short- and long-term strategies to best support the company’s overall goals.  

The many responsibilities of marketing leaders include overseeing budget optimization, team productivity, and the delivery of a smooth experience to potential customers. The last thing you need is a tool impeding your team’s output. 

How to Evaluate Your Marketing Technology Stack

Follow these steps to ensure your tools align with your needs and goals.

1. Revisit your team goals 

It can be easy to want new software because it seems “cool” or like “a good thing to try out”. When it comes to investing in new tools or evaluating the efficacy of current ones, it’s crucial to make sure they tie back to your team’s goals.

Are you hoping to invest more in brand marketing in the coming year? Then the podcasting tool you purchased could be worthwhile. If that’s not the case though and it’s become a “nice-to-have” then it could be worth cutting out of your stack. 

Always have your long-term and short-term goals in mind before you even start looking at your tools. This mindset will help you prioritize as you continue through the rest of the auditing process. 

2. Audit your tools 

Make a list of all the tools your team uses and what they cost. It’s likely this list will already exist in a budget document. This is an important vantage point to document your discoveries as you continue with the rest of your evaluation. 

3. Gather data

Once you have a bird’s eye view of all the tools your team uses, it’s time to start the audit. Of course, you can review the usage metrics of each tool. We’ve found the best way to understand which tools are worthwhile is by talking to relevant users and stakeholders. 

Talk to your team about each tool and how much they improve productivity. Reach out to users or stakeholders from other departments using the martech tools to consider how well they support inter-departmental cohesion. 

4. Make decisions 

Once you’ve collected quantitative and qualitative data points around the tools in your tech stack, it’s time to think about how to optimize your software.

Where are the gaps? Redundancies? Inconsistencies or broken workflows? Underutilized tools? Which tools are most expensive and are they worth that expense? 

Prioritize tools according to how fundamental they are for people to complete their daily tasks. Then weigh the utility of each tool against the price.

5. Understand your budget

Budget shouldn’t have to be at the forefront of your decision-making for your tech stack—but it’s impossible to ignore. Based on your audit and analysis of your tools, refer to your budget and think about whether your ideal martech stack fits within it. If not, what other tools do you think you need and why?

Tying budget requests back to how a tool will support marketing goals will be a key selling point to leadership. Consider pushing for a larger budget when you anticipate a high ROI from specific tools but don’t have enough resources.

6. Constantly monitor the effectiveness of your tech stack 

Martech evaluations often occur when a new marketing leader joins a starts their job. It’s important for leaders to have their finger on the pulse of what is and is not working for their team. Establishing a sound foundation of marketing tools, running mini-audits, and having an open mind to how new tools can support business goals will serve them well in the long run.

Working With an Agency to Evaluate Your Tech Stack

As mentioned, there are hundreds of marketing tools available and clearly evaluating marketing tools and proving their value is no simple process. Just because you’re a marketing leader, it doesn’t mean you’re a martech expert.

Instead of running a large-scale audit when joining a new team, working with an agency to determine the best tech stack for your team is a worthwhile investment. Good agencies already have a powerful grasp on the martech landscape. Having worked with multiple marketing teams, they come with the perspective needed and the industry awareness to recommend the tools that would work best for your situation.  

Looking for an extra set of eyes on your marketing tech stack? We’re happy to help you evaluate. Contact us for a complimentary audit of your marketing tools. 

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Katie Cavanaugh
Junior Copywriter

Originally from Mequon, Wisconsin, Katie Cavanaugh is a senior at Northwestern University. She loves rowing for the Northwestern club crew team, Bananagrams, and biking on Chicago’s lakefront path. Growing up, she wanted to become a Supreme Court judge.

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