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The modern marketer's success hinges on metrics. Marketing metrics are how we know whether campaigns are reaching the right people. They are how we quantify brand awareness and measure engagement.

At a higher level, metrics are how marketing professionals evaluate overall performance and make decisions in today's fast-paced world.

The challenge lies in collecting useful data at every stage of the customer journey. Without data, we can't track metrics. That's why the modern martech stack has evolved into a collection of technologies that marketers use to optimize and enhance marketing processes.

Martech stacks provide the tools organizations need to determine marketing success at every potential touchpoint.

A well-built stack increases marketing effectiveness and generates tangible value. A convoluted stack increases complexity. But what makes martech stack creation so difficult is that so many solutions are available—nearly 10,000, according to Scott Brinker—and no one tool or platform can handle every marketer's need.

Fortunately, companies aren't afraid to try different technologies. For instance, 50% of marketers today use software to support direct mail campaigns. The key is knowing what other marketing functions can be digitized and incorporated into a larger stack.

The Five Layers of a Modern Martech Stack

1. The Marketing Automation Layer

The goal of marketing automation is to replace repetitive marketing tasks with reliable, automated processes. The opportunity for automation is ripe in many areas, including email marketing, direct mail, social media posting, and even ad campaign delivery. The reason automation is possible today is that modern solutions have made it easy for marketers to integrate platforms and build intelligent workflows.

However, marketing automation isn't just about saving time and increasing efficiency. Automated marketing solutions create more personalized experiences for customers. Top-notch tools can track and centralize customer data from numerous sources, giving marketers deeper insights into their audiences. Marketing teams can then segment and target customers accordingly, tailoring content to well-defined niches.

Overall, the marketing automation layer should integrate with CRMs and other marketing software. That way, marketers can reach buyers at the exact right moment, encompassing physical channels (such as direct mail) and digital channels (such as social promotion).

2. The Workflow Management and Collaboration Layer

Marketing is getting more complicated, especially as organizations realize how many functions influence the consumer experience. Sales, Customer Service, Advertising, Branding, and Product all play valuable roles in modern marketing. Workflow management is about streamlining what happens between and among those teams.

One critical component in the workflow management layer is the content management system (CMS). Marketing teams need robust CMS software that allows users to create, manage, and modify website content, without having to lean on specialized technical knowledge. Marketing professionals should also be able to extend CMS assets to support other marketing areas, such as SEO, demand generation, and digital experience creation.

When implemented well, workflow management tools mitigate administrative nightmares and allow marketers to focus on other areas, such as creative execution. Organizations can elevate their content creation process—from ideation to execution to optimization—and ensure all teams are on the same page at all times, no matter their role.

3. The SEO and Analytics Layer

Tools in this category help organizations better understand customer intent and identify critical touchpoints along the customer journey. They also enable brands to gather more data about customer preferences and marketplace trends that would otherwise go unnoticed.

SEO solutions, specifically, enable real-time optimization, campaign personalization, and automation. They increase brand visibility and help companies draw in higher-quality leads.

Analytics tools do the heavy lifting in tracking and measuring marketing performance. They support sales and marketing by giving people a better sense of what's working, what's not, and how to improve high-level performance.

The SEO and analytics layer is all about stepping back and evaluating how things are getting done.

4. The Content Experience Layer

The content experience layer is designed to simplify content production, distribution, and measurement. Marketers need dedicated content experience tools to maximize the impact of content that customers and prospects see. The best content experience solutions help marketers step into their audience's shoes and evaluate marketing assets from an outside perspective.

The right content experience tool can elevate a company's content operation and transform underperforming areas into value-added functions. At a time when brands are trying to reach more people in more places, the content experience layer brings simplicity where complexity could easily reign.

The Online Advertising and Social Media Layer

Marketers today typically use a mix of display ads, search engine marketing, ad tracking, remarketing, and attribution tools. Staying on top of those areas is hard without a solution that consolidates essential metrics and control mechanisms.

Online advertising has become a primary avenue for retargeting customers, which is why it needs a dedicated layer in the martech stack. And, of course, social media is one of the main ways brands engage with customers.

Solutions in this area can take on a wide range of forms. Some companies need simple post-scheduling tools, whereas others want more comprehensive relationship management platforms. Regardless of the approach they choose, modern marketers need to make sure they can analyze online ad and social media performance.

A Modern Martech Stack Is as Strong as the Sum of Its Parts

Customer expectations are higher than ever and addressing their needs across so many touchpoints is only getting harder. Marketers today need all the information they can get so they can measure success against well-defined benchmarks. Getting that data and using it effectively is impossible without a sophisticated martech stack.

Companies have to pull the right point solutions together to beat out their competition. Those solutions must integrate seamlessly within a larger martech stack and empower marketers to make better decisions that increase brand awareness, generate revenue opportunities, and enhance customer experiences.

More Resources on Martech Stacks

How to Trim Your Out-of-Control Martech Stack

Five Tips for Choosing the Perfect Martech Stack

The Martech Solutions Marketers Can't Live Without

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image of Ritu Kapoor

Ritu Kapoor is CMO at Lob, a direct mail platform that simplifies workflows by automating the entire direct mail process—creation, printing, postage, delivery, and sustainability—with end-to-end analytics and campaign attribution.

LinkedIn: Ritu Kapoor