Ashton Media
Marketing & Customer Experience Hub

TREND ALERT – Unpacking the Tech Stack

The modern CMO certainly has a lot on their plate. Since the GFC and rise of digital channels, such as web, social, apps, mobile etc., marketers have been asked to do more with limited budgets and constrained resources.

Brands are demanding highly trackable, measurable and transparent activities which require sophisticated technology. Ensuring that the marketing department has a say in the types of technology purchased is essential as it is marketers, not IT, who will be running these programmes day to day.


With what seems like hundreds of acronyms being thrown around in the martech area, it can be hard to decipher what is actually needed. Of course, the needs of different marketing departments will vary across businesses, industries and integration with IT departments. However, the basic tech stack will be relatively similar across most organisations. The usual components of a martech stack are:

Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM)

A customer relationship management platform allows a business to manage interactions with its customers. A good CRM should synchronise and automate touchpoints across sales, marketing, technical and customer services.

A CRM allows a business to accumulate information on its customers, on a singular level, through their interactions with them. This allows sales and marketing to customise customer touchpoints even further.

Transactions, customer orders and requests are all available in one place so that anyone with access to the platform can have a holistic view of the customer at any time.

Marketing Automation Platform (MAP)

A Marketing Automation Platform allows marketers to automate repetitive tasks and organise more effectively across multiple channels such as email, social media, websites, etc.

A MAP monitors the behaviour of potential customers interested in a business’s products or services, in order to understand their level of intent. The platform should track behaviour from the top of the funnel through to becoming sales ready leads at the bottom of the funnel. Potential customers are scored, based on their intent and then presented with further marketing interactions via various channels such as email and social media.

E-commerce platform

An e-commerce platform allows transactions to happen between two parties. The e-commerce platform you select will be dependant on whether the transactions are B2C or B2B. An integrated e-commerce platform should work online, in store, across mobile/tablet and desktop.

Website (Web Experience platform)

An effective website or web experience platform allows customers to to access your online content across a myriad of channels and devices, eliminating the need for individual platforms for mobile, desktop and tablet.

Social Relationship Management platform

Having a social relationship management platform will depend on the type of business you have and whether you have a social media presence, although with 1.23 billion monthly users globally, Facebook is a channel that’s hard to ignore. A social media platform allows the user to orchestrate social media posts and manage responses across a range of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.

Having the ability to preload posts and tweets is a great time saver, especially for events. Also, the reporting functions can give much deeper insight in to which posts are generating customer interactions.

Ad Tech platforms

An ad tech stack, is a stack within a stack. The term ad tech refers to services used for controlling and delivering online advertisements and depending on how you advertise online you may need a couple of ad tech providers to satisfy all of your needs.

There’s a huge array of ad tech companies that all serve similar but different purposes. You need to work out what type of advertising you want to take part in and how easily to manage it.

When selecting ad tech providers ensure you are getting more for less, make sure the platforms you choose are easy to use and you’re squeezing in as many touchpoints as possible, e.g. from a single platform AdRoll launches campaigns across over 200 exchanges and networks including Facebook, Google, AppNexus, and Twitter.

Building a tech stack is one of the most confusing and intensely researched tasks, especially if you are starting from scratch. One of the most daunting parts is understanding what is out there and the exact slot that each vendor fits into.

So here are my top four tips on keeping ahead of the pack when it comes to technology in the marketing mix:

  1. Educate yourself

Keeping abreast of what is happening in the industry is invaluable. Some of the best ways to do that are:

  • Attend industry events
  • Read trade press – local and international
  • Look for thought leadership from vendors
  1. Speak to the vendors

Vendors know their technology the best and are often across what is happening in the industry. Speak to these experts and ask for case studies and specific results of other clients that have performed well in your field.

  1. Reporting and metrics

The marketing metrics seem to be changing almost weekly as different vendors or groups suggest different ways of measuring success. The most common metric for both B2C (61%) and B2B (66%) marketers with retargeting is total conversations.

Being able to measure the effectiveness of your campaign is paramount. Having an account manager that has a thorough understanding of the industry, which metrics are valuable, how campaigns should be attributed is key to success.

  1. Create platform specialists

Assign platforms to staff members and encourage them to be specialists. Vendors often run webinars, can provide training across every detail of the interface and some even have certification programmes.

Building your tech stack doesn’t end once you have all your players in place. Keep yourself updated with new vendors on a regular basis to ensure you have the most relevant and valuable offerings for your business.

About Ben Sharp - Managing Director, AdRoll
Ben Sharp is the Managing Director of AdRoll in Australia and New Zealand. Ben joined AdRoll in 2014 and is responsible for launching, managing the operations and growing AdRoll’s business across the region. Ben has a deep passion for digital media, with over 15 years of experience in the field. Prior to joining AdRoll, Ben founded Allure Media and published many Australian versions of popular websites such as Gizmodo, Business Insider, and Popsugar. Before founding Allure in 2007, Ben spent 10 years building sales and marketing teams at Yahoo! Australia and various startups in the UK.