How does your stack measure up?

woman looking at technology

A marketing stack is a key element of many businesses nowadays. In this blog, we’ll cover the history of marketing technology, why it’s important for your business, and how the Dotdigital Integration Hub is a great place to start, or add to, your stack.

In recent years the marketing technology landscape – or martech for short – has grown as the very nature and remit of the marketing function has evolved and expanded. This is a result of increased emphasis on the importance of having a martech stack that supports and drives the needs of your business growth. Research organization, Forrester, found that martech stacks now account for over 20% of the total marketing budget. In the same report, it was highlighted that 56% of businesses planned to increase their allocated budget to spend on martech.

There are a wide array of technologies that support your marketing functions, and bringing them together into your stack is the best way to ensure that you’ll get ahead of the game. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as an out-of-the-box template to get you started with your martech stack, but by working alongside a marketing automation platform that integrates and supports a vast and continuously expanding range of integrations for you to develop now and into the future is incredibly important.

So, what is a martech stack, and why are they so important for your business? Let’s take a look at what they are, how the landscape has changed over recent years, why they’re important to your business, and how Dotdigital can help you develop a winning stack.

What is a martech stack?

Martech is a technology or software that enables you to centralize your marketing function and achieve your business goals as efficiently as possible.

These tools are designed to save you time and help grow your business as they streamline and automate your marketing processes from start to finish. They also enable you to accurately analyze the success of your marketing efforts – such as ROI on a campaign, or lead conversion rates.

A “stack” is a group of platforms combined to elevate your marketing and business functions and will vary from business to business. They’re tailored to your individual business needs and are highly likely to be different from your competitors. The great thing about martech is that there’s a wide range of tools that can be used for all kinds of marketers, not just digital marketers. Depending on your business and the sector you operate in, there are a variety of tools and categories your stack may fit into. The tools could include email marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, etc., and the categories would range from data, advertising and promotion, to commerce and sales. The list is vast!

What one business includes in its stack will be very different from what another uses. You can see this example of a stack used by Cisco, which highlights the 39 different technologies they use within their marketing function, all of which are focused on their core customer base.

Example of Cisco martech stack


One way to help simplify which tools you require is by breaking down your martech goals into three stages:

  • Attraction
  • Engagement
  • Analysis & optimization

We’ll look at how you can utilize these stages in more detail below (Why are martech stacks important?).

Organizations will use multiple martechs within their stack. There’s even an awards program – The Stackies – for marketers to send in a visual representation of their marketing stack, which gives you insight into how brands across all different industries pull martech into their stacks to support their business goals.

What platforms you pull into your stack really depend on your business, your goals, and more. If marketing stacks were clothing – it’d be a bespoke tailored suit, measured and trimmed to your business needs. How it measures up, plus the fit, the material, the pattern, the buttons, and everything that makes it fit you perfectly is all based on you and your business.

Your stack might include three elements. It could be six. According to Forrester, it could be as many as 19. It doesn’t matter, as long as it supports your business and growth goals, your stack will rarely look the same as your competitors because it’s built around your business – not theirs.

How has martech changed?

In the past 10 years, the martech landscape has changed drastically. Back in 2011, there were around 150 different platforms available for marketers to use. Fast-forward to 2022 and there are over 9,900. 24% of these have appeared since March 2020 (when there were around 8,000 platforms) when covid changed how we work, shop, and everything in between.

With a 5,233% growth rate since 2011, it’s clear that the demand for martech solutions is still scaling at a remarkable rate. This is reflected in the levels of investment seen within the martech industry. As of 2021, the global martech market is estimated to be worth nearly $345 billion.

When it comes to key trends and areas where significant changes will take place in the coming years, marketing leaders have identified three key areas where they are expecting to see growth over the coming years. These are:

  1. Personalization at scale – gaining a 360-degree customer view (or, a single customer view).
  2. Creation of the value exchange – boosting the benefits for both the seller and buyer in order to create longer-lasting and profitable customer relationships.
  3. Customer data management – increase the use of marketer-friendly solutions to deliver a more sophisticated customer engagement experience.


Why are martech stacks important?

So how exactly do martech stacks help marketers? Well, they help by streamlining your existing processes and removing repeated actions that take up time and effort away from other priorities.

For email marketers, software (such as Dotdigital) enables you to automate and gather actionable customer insights which in turn will help to drive better content and ultimately, boost customer engagement. As we discussed above, martech categories can be simplified down into three stages: attraction, engagement, and analysis and optimization.


No matter what your function, business size, or market you fit into, lead generation will be a key part of your marketing strategy. Unfortunately, it’s not an easy task – but there are many different ways to help you attract leads, which can include the use of search engine optimization software, social media ads software, webinar software, and many more. This is your opportunity to use the tools within your stack to build trust in your brand and generate traffic through your channels.


This is the second stage which takes place after you’ve attracted potential customers to your website, or signed them up for your newsletter or a product demonstration. Now your goal is to keep them interested in the product(s) you have to offer them. Martech that fits into this stage might include email marketing software, retargeting software or CRM, and customer tracking tools, just to name a few.

Analysis and optimization:

So you’ve reached stage three – you’ve attracted your customers, and engaged with them. Now what, job done? Far from it.

A successful marketing strategy involves continuously monitoring and analyzing the data you receive from your customers so you can optimize your marketing activities and campaigns to ensure they’re continually successful. It’s rare that a new campaign will be successful from day one, but with streamlined data and optimization, you’ll be able to improve your campaigns as you learn more about your audience, their shopping habits, preferences, and much more.

Martech platforms that fit into this stage could include business intelligence, content intelligence, and conversion rate optimization tools – just to name a few.

How do I get started with a martech stack?

With more than 9,900 martech platforms across the globe to choose from, getting started and developing your stack may seem pretty daunting. So, before you get started here are a few questions you need to answer so you can clarify exactly what you need before getting started.

  1. What are your marketing objectives, and how can you identify them?
  2. What challenges do your team(s) face day-to-day and what is making their jobs harder?
  3. What is your budget and where does it need allocating?
  4. What tools will you need to consider for your martech stack?
  5. Are there any non-marketing tools you’ll need (such as project management, or chat tools)?
  6. What data needs to be transferred into your stack?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to start building your stack… but remember that you’ll need to allocate a team member per tool to create and support the workflow. That’ll help you as you start using the tools within your stack more effectively, and ensure that none of them are just sitting there gathering virtual dust.

Your new stack might take some getting used to, with different tools pulling you in different directions. To ensure you don’t inadvertently add more complexity to your stack, make sure you keep a roadmap of where you’re going (your strategy) and don’t veer too far from the path. You’ve created it for a reason, and your strategy is the number one goal when it comes to why you’ve developed your stack.

How can Dotdigital help you?

At Dotdigital, we have a wide range of martech integrations that work with our platform. These range from CRM, engagement, event management, order management, and much more. We’ve partnered up with these platforms to help you achieve your business goals as efficiently as possible.

We work with a huge array of businesses across a wide range of sectors globally, and we help to support them as they grow and scale – which is why we have such a wide range of martech available at your fingertips to pull into your stack and help you get the most out of your business.

Existing customers can head to the Integration Hub in your Dotdigital account to view our featured and self-serve integrations.

To find out more about Dotdigital and how our platform can help you as you scale your business and marketing function, get in touch with us today.

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