Navigating the Martech Maze: Is Your Martech Stack Your Friend or a Financial Burden?

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6 min read
Customer and target icons on wooden blocks.

Key Takeaways

CRM, CDP, RTIM, CMS, LMP, NBX, CXM… the list goes on. With 11,000+ martech solutions, no wonder B2C marketers are struggling to choose the ones that deliver the best results for their business. With Artificial Intelligence accelerating at an unprecedented rate, marketers can deliver more personalized and valuable experiences to their customers than ever before. But, that also means needing to sift through a lot of noise to build an effective martech ecosystem.

Martech Map

The average marketing team owns 91 different tools, but more than half of the tools they have are redundant! is not only costly, but also inefficient, and often results in disconnected customer experiences. If we think about marketing technology through the lens of Gartner’s “Hype Cycle”, which visually represents technology maturity and adoption, we can start to answer important questions about what should be part of an effective martech stack. How do we know when to invest in new technology? What are the tools that will help accelerate a brand’s growth and drive exceptional customer engagement?

Gartner's Hype Cycle


Let’s look at what needs to be in place to create a connected and effective martech ecosystem.  

Where to start

1. Start with a strategy (yes, strategy is still king)

Before diving into the sea of available martech solutions, it's essential to start with a clear strategy. Identify your business objectives, target audiences, and the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most to your success. If your customers prefer watching TV to scrolling their Instagram feed, how you reach them, and thus the technology you need, will be different.

2. Audit your existing tech stack

Assess your current martech stack to identify strengths, weaknesses, and redundancies. You do not want to invest in technology that cannot be connected to your existing tech stack or that duplicates your existing capabilities.

3. Make sure your existing technology is being used

A common pitfall for many businesses is investing in a plethora of martech solutions without fully leveraging their capabilities. This can be a result of a tech with a high learning curve, an under resourced team or simply a technology that is not delivering the benefits you are looking for.  

4. Invest in martech that can support your growth

As your business grows, so too should your martech stack. Choose tools that can scale with your business, accommodating increased data volumes, customer counts, and feature requirements.

5. Make sure your technology is integrated (if strategy is king, then integration is queen)

If you’ve ever received an email from a brand advertising a product you just purchased (raise your hand 🙋️), it’s likely the brand’s tech stack is not well integrated. A well-integrated martech stack can provide a holistic view of your customer interactions and enable seamless data flows between different tools, so you can enhance efficiency, enable more accurate customer insights, and ultimately, deliver experiences customers want.  

6. Get your data in order

Data is the fuel of modern marketing, powering personalized experiences and informed decision-making. However, fragmented or inaccurate data can hinder your efforts and lead to missed opportunities even if you have the best tech stack in place.

What does an effective martech ecosystem look like?

What are the building blocks of a good marketing ecosystem? Below is a list of a few key martech solutions that will help your team create personalized customer engagements that grow your business and cultivate your customers’ loyalty.  

This is not a complete martech stack for every business. The tools you employ largely depend on your business needs and your target audience. If your audience is highly engaged on social media, you might want to invest in social media listening tools; if your primary acquisition channel is a search engine, you might want to invest in SEO optimization software. These are just a few examples of more specialized software that you can start adding on once you have your foundation right.  

If you want to get deeper into your unique business needs, request your complimentary B2C martech audit from Kognitiv.  

So, what is a good martech foundation for a B2C brand?

1. Get your data in one place (CDP)

A customer data platform (CDP) aggregates, cleans, and unifies customer data from various touchpoints, providing a 360-degree view of each customer, enabling marketers to create highly targeted and personalized campaigns.

2. Know your customers (CRM)

Customer relationship management platforms (CRM) allow you to track your customers’ behavior and their interests, manage customer interactions, see campaign performance, and nurture relationships effectively.

3. Keep it organized (CMS)

A content management system (CMS) is essential for creating, managing, and delivering digital content. Engaging and personalized content can help brands capture and retain the attention of their audience.  

4. Make data-driven decisions (Customer Insights & Intelligence)

Customer insight and intelligence platforms play a pivotal role in analyzing customer data to derive actionable insights. With the power of AI and machine learning, insights and intelligence platforms can predict customer behavior, track customer lifecycles based on their individual purchase cadence and identify risks and opportunities that marketers can act on to improve customer engagement.

With Kognitiv Pulse, you can transform your customer data into predictive insights and easy-to-action recommendations, so you can optimize your lifecycle marketing and reach your customers in the moments that matter. Learn more.

5. Get personal (1:1 Personalization Software)

When we say ‘personalization software’, we don’t mean trigger-based or segment-based communication. By leveraging AI-powered personalization engines, brands can build true 1:1 connections with their customers where every interaction is personalized and helps brands achieve their goals.  

Our AI-native 1:1 personalization software, Kognitiv Ignite, enables brands to tailor content, recommendations, messaging, and channels to each of their customers based on individual customer behavior and preferences in real-time at scale. Learn more.

6. Build connected customer journeys (Customer Engagement Platform)

Customer engagement platforms allow brands to seamlessly orchestrate and execute integrated marketing campaigns  across various touchpoints, whether it’s sending an email, or engaging in a live chat. Make sure to invest in software that supports the channels your customers are on.

7. Put it on autopilot (Automation Software)

Marketing automation tools empower brands to deliver personalized content to the right audience at the right time. By investing in AI-powered automation software, brands can ensure they don’t miss critical engagement moments with their customers while freeing up time for strategy and creativity.  

Kognitiv’s platform allows marketers to focus on what they do best, while Kognition AI/ML, our intelligence engine, takes care of the time-consuming mundane tasks with always-on campaign automation and optimization. Explore how our AI-native software, Kognitiv Ignite, can help you drive efficiency and increase your revenue.  

8. Recognize and reward your customers (Loyalty Program Management)

It’s much cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one, and loyalty programs are a great way to drive continuous customer engagement. With loyalty program management software, brands can design, manage, and scale loyalty programs that recognize and incentivize repeat purchases, referrals, and other desired behaviors.

At Kognitiv, we have a rich history of loyalty program management with some of the world’s largest brands using our loyalty system, Kognitiv Inspire. Looking to build a robust loyalty program? Let’s chat!    

9. Measure, measure, and measure again (Analytics & Reporting Software)

Understanding the performance of your marketing efforts is crucial for making informed decisions. Invest in products that not only provide PCA (post-campaign analysis) but also measure the incrementality of your marketing efforts, so you invest your time and budget in what drives results.  

Kognitiv's Kognition AI/ML engine, which powers Kognitiv Ignite, tracks customers’ complex journeys across various touchpoints and channels and provides accurate real-time insights into which marketing activities are driving conversions, engagement, and revenue. Learn more.  

In the world of B2C marketing, a well-constructed martech stack can be a powerful ally, enhancing customer experiences and driving growth. By starting with a clear strategy, evaluating your current state, and investing in tools that are scalable and integrated, you can ensure that your tech stack continues to be your friend rather than a financial burden.

Wondering which tech to invest in in 2024? With many AI tools making big promises, which ones will deliver the greatest impact? Got some tech gathering dust? If you're nodding along, we're here to help. We are offering a free B2C martech stack audit and recommendations on optimizing your ecosystem.  

Your business is unique, your martech stack should be too. Request your free audit now.

Ready to supercharge your marketing tech stack? Book a demo to learn more about our AI-native intelligence, activation, and loyalty platform:  

Track and predict your customers’ lifecycles with Kognitiv Pulse. Learn more.

Enable 1:1 personalization at scale with Kognitiv Ignite. Learn more.

Launch and manage a successful loyalty program with Kognitiv Inspire. Learn more.

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