An email just came in from the website! A potential customer emailed you directly after perusing your corporate site and is requesting more information.
You follow up with that customer, of course, with pricing information and await a response.
It never comes. In a month, you forget that potential because your inbox was so cluttered that the emails eventually just caved in on themselves. You never follow up, you never get a chance to discover how they found your site in the first place.
You never post to the website the specific question the customer asked so others might find the answer more quickly because you don’t want to pay a freelance developer hundreds of dollars for some edits. You never mention the topic and answer on Facebook or Twitter because you don’t even know who is listening.
If this sounds ridiculous yet familiar, don’t feel bad. In our experience, there is always something more you as a marketer can be doing to generate more visibility, better service and higher sales.
But in this specific instance, this calamity could be remedied so easily. If you, the marketer in the story, had a marketing stack deployed, you would have better footing to reel in that potential or at least learn from the experience.
We define the digital marketing stack
as the collection of business applications, Web or otherwise, that marketers use as tools for organization, maintenance, data collection and execution. These applications are not solely used by marketers only, but leveraged best if all departments of a company utilizes and contributes to the data stores within the collection.
What does a typical marketing stack look like?
How do you know what pieces or parts you are missing from the stack? Or better yet, where do you start?
Five key components of a marketing stack:
1. A customer relationship management (CRM) platform
2. A scalable content management system (CMS) for your Web presence(s)
- If there was a central, mother brain to this stack, this would be it
- The Salesforces, SAP and Microsoft Dynamics of the world
- We use a custom, in-house application
3. An email marketing platform
- There is an ever-changing array to choose from
- Look to purchase installs of ones that can be customized enough to include integration with other components
4. A social media monitoring and execution platform
5. A search optimization platform
- The email marketing platform should have application programming interfaces (APIs) to easily contribute to or retrieve subscription, tracking or profile data
- You can achieve great automation, reach-out and results with a reputable and robust platform
- We currently partner with ExactTarget for our clients
Why is it important?
- We find Urchin, SmarterStats and/or Google Analytics to offer great features and analytics
Marketers are tasked with so many initiatives, objectives and marketing functions today that they could very well drown in the data, or worse -- collect initial data and dispose of it. Or even, gasp, not collect data at all. Let the data and processes become the glue that keeps your marketing efforts together.
Leverage data collection and business intelligence to drive better results. Link and integrate the varying applications within the collection in order to achieve the Holy Grail of marketing frameworks. When a potential submits a contact form on your site, why not offer the newsletter subscription? Why not have their information submitted to your CRM?
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get running, either implement it via manually defined processes or automated systems and APIs.
Tying the applications and data stores together should be a priority for all marketers.
We have seen so many differing levels of attempts at this. Some great, some not so great. If you fire and forget it, then you may want to refocus on getting a stack in place.
What are some of your horror stories or frustrations with the tools or technologies that you have at your disposal currently? Do they link together? Let us know
if you would like to explore the creation of your own self-benefiting marketing stack.
About the author::
Bruce Williams loves a good database schema and watching his team astonish clients with new JQuery tricks. He is the Data team
manager at thunder::tech during the day (and occasionally at night). When he isn’t programming, he and his wife are pulling their kids through the neighborhood in their favorite wagon.