Tech Stack 101: How to Build a Lean, Mean Tech Stack in 2023

With nearly 10,000 tools in the marketing technology landscape, it’s tempting to subscribe to the latest and greatest in MarTech (or as some call it, shiny object syndrome). 

But here’s the question – are these tools really the latest and greatest? And do organizations actually have the bandwidth to properly manage these complex MarTech tools?

As it is, marketing operations teams are operating at capacity, and oftentimes, managing tech stacks can get kicked to the bottom of the list. Not to mention, we may not even realize the redundancies between our MarTech tools and what features we haven’t even utilized. 

A survey revealed that 89% of global IT professionals waste time each week due to bloated technology. The report also found that IT professionals waste 7+ hours per week on over-complicated tech.

The bottom line is that excessive tech stacks are distracting workers from their core responsibilities. 

It’s time to gain back control of our MarTech stacks – that’s why we’re tapping into the knowledge of Kelsy Rogers, Senior Director of Client Strategy at MERGE. 

Meet Kelsy 

With ten years of experience managing technologies and six years of experience dedicated to marketing technology, Kelsy has a wide span of experience from managing SharePoint stacks and partnering with e-commerce development teams to managing sales and marketing applications.

Why tech stacks are bloated 

So how did we get here – why is everyone complaining about bloated tech stacks? 

“Everyone was trying to solve these mysterious problems – attribution and predictive content to name a few. It can be really hard to tackle these challenges at the same time! There are so many ways to look at it and resolve based on your business needs. That’s why we looked at adding more tools to our stack. It was a quick fix to a hot priority.” Kelsy Rogers

As MarTech tools grew in popularity, it became standard to have a tech stack. In the world of MarTech, there’s always a trending tool or topic – such as attribution or chatbots. 

Then, you have to factor in the different flavors of that tool – you might see five different vendors that do nearly the same thing.

From here, we began to see a snowball effect – tech stacks were expanding, so we had to show the value to senior leadership. In order to report on these tools, people were adding yet another tool(s) to their stack.

Here’s the caveat: really great tools can be really hard to implement and keep clean. 

When properly implemented, these tools pay off and add value. Yet the implementation and maintenance are not quick fixes. Do you have someone on your team who has the bandwidth to maintain this tool and ensure you’re getting the full value? 

Now that we’ve seen this persistent issue of bloated tech stacks, it’s time for teams to take a second to answer: “What does this tool solve? What does this simplify?” 

Three signs your tech stack is bloated

Unsure if your tech stack is bloated? Here are three tell-tale signs:

#1 – You are receiving increased questions or confusion from stakeholders on priorities for the team and which work product you are focusing on next. 

#2 – You are running into excessive bugs and reporting issues. For example, you might be getting more messages from sales reps that they are running into reporting issues – IE multiple people got the same lead. 

#3 – You are having to put more effort into discussing what you are doing. Are you over-explaining how these tools work to senior leadership? Hint – you may also have a documentation problem.

Conduct an audit of your tech stack

For those with bloated tech stacks, here is a simple process on how to audit your tech stack. 

How to audit your tech stack: 

  1. Define your priorities and business objectives 
  2. Match your tech stack to each priority or business objective 
  3. Review your list: What is the purpose of each tool and what value is each tool providing? This will make it clear which tools are no longer providing value to your business.
    • Is there a low-priority objective that is tied to a tool? Look into this tool –  is the ROI or benefit you are getting enough to justify the cost? If there is a theme where you aren’t using a tool repetitively, consider removing it. 
    • For the remaining tools: What tool do you sign into the least? Ask yourself how many times you’ve logged into this tool in the past month. If it’s not matched to support or enhance a current business objective, the benefits may not outweigh the cost.

How to select the tools that matter 

These days, everyone is talking about building a “lean, mean tech stack.” So, how do we get there? How can teams select the tools that really matter?

Less is more when it comes to your tech stack! Embrace simplicity.

There’s a bare minimum foundation that applies to most marketing operations teams. This is typically your CRM, MAP, and CMS. If your team runs a lot of webinars, you might add a webinar platform like Rainfocus. Is content syndication a big focus on your team? Then you might add tools that specialize in dispersing content.

Have you aligned your tech stack to your funnel? Make sure you are meeting your leads where they’re at in your funnel. You don’t necessarily need a tool for each stage – just make sure your bases are covered. Maybe your marketing automation platform covers a majority (or all) of the stages. 

The future of tech stacks in 2023

Automating marketing processes and integrating tools is where we’re seeing things shift. Not only is this a massive time saver, but it also reduces the likelihood of human error and cuts down on the QA process. Adobe Workfront is an excellent project management tool for addressing inefficiencies across your organization.

When you leverage work management tools, it feeds into other things. For example, when you connect Workfront to Jeto, Marketo is automatically connected. This process enables you to automatically build Marketo programs without even needing to log into Marketo.

Curious to learn more insights from the marketing operations experts at Perkuto + MERGE? Sign up here.

About The Author — Lindsay DiLemmo
Lindsay DiLemmo

Content Manager @ Perkuto + MERGE

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