MarTech Stacks

August 20, 2020


What are considerations for building a tech stack?


The marketing technology world is always changing and evolving as vendors, services, and solutions expand to meet needs for advertisers, creators, and consumers alike.

MarTech industry luminary Scott Brinker reports that that the MarTech landscape has grown by 4,500 percent in eight years. As such, it's no surprise that Brinker's famed annual MarTech landscape graphic (April 2020 version here), with over 5,000 brands, is a complete head exploder – and visually encapsulates the issues inherent in getting going with MarTech.

This report addresses:

  • The Basics of MarTech
  • Visualizing the Stack
  • Self-Assessments for MarTech Strategy Development
  • Best Practices & Models for Tech Stacks
  • Company Examples
  • Budgets

Marketers need to traverse the complicated landscape of tech stacks to better understand consumers. The resources below help portray the MarTech investments companies continue to make, and need, in order to survive and thrive.

Below are helpful best practices, surveys, and case studies.

The Basics of MarTech

  • 2020 ANA MarTech Glossary. February 18, 2020.
    This glossary defines more than 30 MarTech terms, such as CDP, DAM, API, CRM, CDN, COS, DMP, iPaaS, and CMS.

  • Marketing Technology Selection Guide. Smart Insights, March 2020.
    This guide provides five top tools to use across 30 different categories. It also includes brief sections outlining:
    • Building your marketing technology stack
    • What scale of marketing technology stack is required
    • The challenges of managing return on marketing technology
    • Key things to consider before purchasing different types of tools

Visualizing the Stack

  • Stackie Awards, Chief Martec, 2019
    See also 2018 awards.
    The Stackies seek to recognize the best visual representation of a company's marketing technology infrastructure to manage customers, analytics, workflows, and content — or other marketing-driven activities/functions. The 2020 awards are scheduled for October 2020. One example from the luxury beauty product company Space NK:

Self-Assessments for MarTech Strategy Development

  • Finding Your North Star. Arke, August 2019.
    This document (which appears to originally have been used in a workshop) contains a series of questions that you score to assess your digital maturity. The scoring is designed to give you a better idea around next steps toward development of a MarTech strategy.

    Sample questions:

  • The 4Ps of Marketing Technology: Your Guide to Developing an Integrated MarTech Strategy & Roadmap. MarTech Alliance, 2019.
    This detailed guide covers the basics and is meant for non-tech readers who need to develop a blueprint to build and manage a marketing tech strategy and roadmap – or optimize an existing one. It includes the below example of a matrix scoresheet – which can be used for an at-a-glance assessment of your MarTech maturity. Each marketing domain and 4Ps of MarTech can be ranked on a scale of 0 to 10. (There may also be instances where scoring for a category may be N/A.)

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Best Practices for Tech Stacks

  • Demystifying the Growing and Complex Marketing Technology Ecosystem. ANA, March 3, 2020.
    Scott Brinker, VP at HubSpot and editor at, provided clarity on the dauntingly complex landscape of marketing technology solutions, with the goal of giving marketers insight into how they can strike a balance of centralization and decentralization, automation, and humanization.

  • MarTech Stack Optimization: Strategies, Tactics & Trends. Ascend2, February 2020.
    Ascend2's MarTech Stack Optimization survey asked nearly 300 B2B and B2C marketers how are they addressing the challenge of optimizing their MarTech stack in 2020. Respondents to Ascend2's survey identified these features as being key to an effective stack:

  • Marketing Technology Stack Diagram. ANA, February 2020.
    This marketing technology stack diagram was designed to help you document the technology solutions you have in place and communicate gaps or build a roadmap for adding solutions in the future.

  • The Perfect Marketing Tech Stack. Talkwalker, February 2019.
    This resource identifies various "must-have" categories of technology that should be in a good stack. It also offers insight into how to select tools based that are right for you; how to maximize and future-proof your investment; and what Talkwalker's own marketing tech stack looks like. It also includes this checklist for shoppers:

  • Podcast: Untangling the MarTech Knot. Forrester Research, January 10, 2019.
    As technology continues to develop at a rapid clip, it's easy for marketers to get distracted by a shiny-new-something and forget about building a thoughtful MarTech stack. The Forrester analysts' main message: It's all about the use case. Marketers underrate tech that helps them do the basics better (e.g., resource management). Meanwhile, you should walk, not run, toward emerging tech such as AI, which isn't a product but rather something that can be layered into existing tools to make them better.

Company Examples


  • MarTech: 2020 and Beyond. BDO | World Advertising Research Center | University of Bristol, October 2019.
    This report looked at the U.S. and U.K. and reports on budgets but also on most popular MarTech tools and on hiring matters. Among the findings:
    • North America-based companies reported that in 2019 they spent 30 percent of their overall marketing budget on MarTech. That percentage grew from 24 percent in 2018, a 25 percent increase.
    • In both the U.S. and the U.K., companies reported an increase in in-house MarTech versus outsourced MarTech.
    • The survey revealed that MarTech tools used by the highest percentage of brands continue to be within established marketing disciplines, such as email (79 percent), social media (77 percent), content marketing and management (68 percent), CRMs (65 percent), and analytics (65 percent).
  •  MarTech by the Numbers. Chief/Marketer, November 1, 2019.
    This survey had somewhat different results. Key findings include:
    • 54 percent of marketers think MarTech budgets will increase in 2020.
    • Many marketers (39 percent, the largest group) report spending 10 to 25 percent of their marketing budgets on MarTech.
    • Top choices of types of MarTech where people plan to invest in the next year are email, automation, and social media.
    • 50 percent of marketers said their biggest frustration around purchasing is the volume of solutions in the market.
  • The Annual CMO Spend Survey 2019-2020. Gartner Research, October 1, 2019.
    Page 12 reports on budget allocation to MarTech.

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"MarTech Stacks." ANA, August 2020.