Whether you’re an entrepreneur, chief marketing officer or something in between, you should have a marketing stack like this.

 

 

 

At Vela, we spend a lot of time researching and selecting tools that will help us plan, execute and analyze marketing strategies for our clients. Companies and marketing professionals refer to a collection of these technology-based tools as a marketing stack.

 

 

 

 

 

Chances are you have a marketing stack, although you might not call it that. If you don’t know if you have a marketing stack, then take a minute to think about the technology tools you use on a daily or weekly basis and write them down. Your answers to the following questions may help you get started: What do you use to track your website analytics?

  • What do you use to add content to your website?
  • What do you use to record and manage your sales pipeline?
  • What do you use to send out emails to your customers?
  • What do you use to manage your social media channels?

If we answered these questions (hypothetically), our marketing stack might include Google Analytics, WordPress, Salesforce, Constant Contact and Hootsuite. These are all tools that we might use daily to inform a strategy we are working on, launch a new email campaign, share a new blog post to our social media channels – and the list goes on. Your base marketing stack might be very different from ours depending on your industry, business size and priorities.

There are hundreds of tools you can choose from to build a marketing stack to meet your needs. For 2019, you should choose some that will help you with these four things:

 

1. Audience Listening

            a. Why you need this: An audience listening tool would be anything that helps you monitor and respond to what is being said about your company by external sources. This might be an article in the newspaper or a customer’s post to a personal social media feed. You could also find conversations focused on topics relevant to your business and industry.

Using an audience listening tool may reveal major opportunities to gain a better understanding of your customers and to stay ahead of your competitors. You’ll find a lot of tools that offer social media listening and a few that also pull in other sources like print, online forums and blogs.

           b. Tools to consider: Cision Communications Cloud, Google Alerts, Simply Measured, Brandwatch

2. Content Planning

            a. Why you need this: So you’ve added an audience listening tool to your marketing stack and you’ve picked up some great content ideas by listening to your customers. To organize and keep track of all the blog posts, infographics and videos you’re about to create, you’ll want a content planning tool. Use it to create your content calendar, document the steps you need to complete to create certain types of content, and manage content creation. Share it with your team and content contributors so everyone stays in the loop.

            b. Tools to consider: Airtable, Contently, Google Drive, Percolate

3. Marketing Automation

           a. Why you need this: A marketing automation tool can help you deploy the content you’ve created to your customers and, most importantly, track what they do with it. Think of it as a tool that will automate the content delivery to your customers based on the “if this, then that” rule. If the customer opens an email and clicks the unique link within it, then present them with a special offer when they land on the targeted webpage.

An alternate automation for this scenario would be if the customer opens an email and does not click the link within, then send a follow-up email after two days. The best part is that it’s all automated. So it shaves off a lot of time for big companies that have hundreds of thousands of customers to reach and for smaller companies that have hundreds of customers to reach but lack the staff to manage things manually. There are marketing automation tools out there that can serve as your email marketing host and even your customer relationship management (CRM) system, so take the time to choose the one that is right for your marketing stack.

           b. Tools to consider: ActiveCampaign, Pardot, HubSpot, Marketo, SharpSpring

4. Video Hosting

         a. Why you need this: We are huge fans of video marketing, as you can tell from our latest whitepaper, Why You Should Use Video In Your Marketing Strategy. To use video marketing effectively,  you need the right video hosting platform in your marketing stack. You may think that any video hosting platform will suffice, but consider your audience, content and call to action when selecting the best platform for you. Some come with a massive community (YouTube) which could mean your video reaches more people, but the viewing experience might suffer (distracting  ads). Others don’t offer a built-in community but give you full control over the viewing experience and provide detailed analytics.

      b. Tools to consider: YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Wistia

I know you’re eager to get started building, adding to or modifying your marketing stack for 2019. Heads up – plan to sit through a lot of platform demos if you’re adding new tools. While they do take time to watch, l found most of these demos to be very informative. They also forced me to answer questions I hadn’t thought of.

We want your 2019 marketing strategy to be all you ever hoped for and more, so don’t hesitate to give us a shout if you want to partner with us, or if you need moral support to keep up your new year’s resolutions. We’re here for you.