We all know that technology isn’t necessarily the answer to all of our problems, but it sure can help.
Intention and energy paired with the right tools can make achieving your goals so much more attainable. When you commit to getting in shape and pair that with a killer Fitbit, or another wearable, you’ve got rocket fuel to get you in shape for your summer trip.
On the flip side, technology without a strategy can end up being a waste. If you set up a new app to get up and walk every hour, only to ignore it while it beeps incessantly as you continue to stare at the computer screen, you’ve lost the time, energy, and attention it took to set it up. Plus whatever you spent on it.
The same goes for marketing technology.
Buying more things isn’t necessarily always the best choice, but you do need some things to compete in today’s technology-driven marketing landscape. It pays to be smart and thoughtful with your MarTech toolkit.
That’s why we’ve rounded up the best marketing technology tools for your business!
Strategy First, Technology Second
As with anything in life, success starts with intention.
Putting strategy first ensures you build a tech stack that works like a well-oiled machine.
Whether you’re looking for content management software, lead generation software, or PR software, haphazardly throwing money at new tech isn’t going to solve your company’s problems. Less is more.
Begin with the basics, ensuring that you know how to use each tool and are taking full advantage of every their capabilities. Do a rigorous assessment incorporating feedback from your team to see what needs problem-solving, then go from there.
32% of CMOs admit to not having an effective system for managing their MarTech and say they add new programs without an overarching strategy. This is a big mistake. An ineffective, mismanaged stack can become bloated, take up valuable space with multiple programs doing the same thing, and can ultimately lower your ROI.
To assess which tools will work best for your team, schedule a check-in with your different departments and find out what their challenges and limitations are. Try to connect the dots to see how their challenges affect your marketing objectives.
Identify Challenges and Find New MarTech Opportunities
For example, maybe your team tells you that it’s tough keeping on top of social media engagement, including all of the mentions people are giving your brand online.
Think about what that means for your overarching strategy. How does that challenge factor into your goals? Then determine which MarTech tool can make life easier for your team.
Your first challenge might look something like this:
- Objective: Understand customer needs more clearly
- Strategy: Social media listening and engagement
- Challenge: Hard to stay on top of all social media channels
- Solution: Tool to automate social listening and responses
Other assessments might look something like these:
- Objective: Nurture leads
- Strategy: Email
- Challenge: Difficult to integrate information from other sources into email
- Solution: Tool to integrate data into email more easily
- Objective: Higher organic traffic
- Strategy: SEO
- Challenge: Takes a long time to find keywords
- Solution: Tool to make finding keywords faster and easier
Keeping your objectives and strategy top of mind helps you to stay focused on them rather than on the technology itself. Just because there are a bunch of new tools out there doesn’t mean you need them all — be smart in how you add to your stack.
Now that you understand that strategy trumps technology, let’s look at some of the best tools out there for a growing business.
By the way, not all MarTech needs to be a strictly marketing tool. Many tools work for a variety of industries, and they should be a part of any team’s stack.
Martech Solutions for Group Collaboration
Good, clear communication and teamwork are the backbone of effective marketing. These tools help you easily collaborate, safely store work, and improve communication.
Cloud-Based Collaboration: Google Drive
Let’s start with the basics. You need a cloud-based solution like Google Drive to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and folders with your team. Google Drives eliminates the need for your team to download costly or slow-running programs such as Microsoft Word. Plus, it drastically reduces the risk of losing your work, stores files securely, and gives you access to updates immediately.
Alternatives: OneDrive or Dropbox.
Sending emails back and forth is a thing of the past. Instant messaging on Slack lets you reach team members quickly, making it easier to work together, and facilitates relationships by making communication more casual. Send files immediately, get answers to your questions right away, and avoid writing lengthy emails for simple, easy-fix questions.
Alternatives: Google Chat or Microsoft Teams.
Project Management: Trello
You want managing projects to be intuitive and easy, especially if you have a remote team. With so many moving parts and a lack of a physical office, you want to see exactly where people are at different stages. Trello gives you visibility into projects from all angles so you can do just that. You can track deadlines, get reminders and updates, communicate about projects, and more with this tool.
Martech Solutions for Automation
Artificial intelligence in marketing can take a lot of the grunt work out of the picture, making marketing automation a must for any team. Automating processes can help you streamline and make campaigns more effective, provide a better customer experience, and much more.
Process Automation: Zapier
We love Zapier! Link all of your marketing strategies from lead tracking to email subscription lists for customer engagement with this tool. You can integrate and automate CRM, advertising, email, social media, and event management with automated workflows called “Zaps.” Zapier tackles time-sucking administrative tasks like locating leads, ad management across channels, customer listening, and more so you can focus on higher-level strategy.
Email Marketing: Marketing Hub’s Free Email Marketing Tool
While many falsely believe email to be outdated, it’s actually one of the most effective marketing strategies out there. With Marketing Hub, you can use templates plus a drag-and-drop feature to create rich emails that work across all devices. You’ll also have access to A/B testing and analytics so you can optimize your campaigns. Marketing Hub also allows you to create hyper-personalized emails by leveraging data from their records to create the most relevant subject lines, CTAs, attachments, and more.
Alternatives: Constant Contact
Marketing Automation: Hubspot Marketing Automation
With Hubspot, you can deploy automated strategies across the entire customer lifecycle, improving the experience for your customers who might otherwise be served up a one-size-fits-all generic solution. Automating tasks like emails, social media posts, and ad campaigns save your team time and energy. Additionally, your customers will get a better experience, one that’s personalized to them and the actions they’ve already taken with you.
Martech Solutions for Content Strategy
Content is your bread and butter. Tools to help you optimize your content for SEO, craft compelling videos, and blog easily and effortlessly will help you craft a killer strategy.
SEO Strategy: Ahrefs
SEO is one of the most important investments you can make for your marketing strategy, but it can be complicated. It involves everything from keyword research to competitive research to backlinks and rank tracking. Make life easier by using one dedicated SEO tool for all aspects of SEO strategy. Ahref’s has a keyword explorer, site explorer, and content explorer, plus a site audit and rank tracker.
Video Marketing: Wyzowl
There’s no longer any doubt that video is one of the best ways to reach people today, but video production isn’t as straightforward as other forms of content. If you can’t hire a dedicated production team, a tool like Wyzowl can be a wise investment. Choose from demos, animated videos, interactive videos, live-action, and more.
Alternatives: Testimonial Hero
Asset Creation: Canva
If you don’t have a dedicated graphic designer, Canva can become your best friend. They offer a range of templates to help you create assets like social media posts, infographics, posters, digital banners, brochures, and more. It’s pretty easy to use, which is great for a small team of people wearing many hats.
Alternatives: Visme and Snappa
Medium definitely doesn’t fall into the realm of “shiny new tool,” but it’s an old standby for a reason. The thing is, you need to be putting out content. It needs to be quality content, but you need to put it out regularly. If indecision around which platform to use is fueling your procrastination, going for something basic and easy to use is a good idea. Medium also has a pretty large built-in network of people, so you’ll reach people quickly and easily.
Alternatives: Ghost and WordPress
Writing a blog post is one thing, but writing a highly-impactful post that draws in quality leads is another. To generate more leads through your content strategy, consider hiring help.
Martech Solutions for Analytics
To make data-driven decisions, you need the right assortment of analytics tools. The right ones will tell you how your site is performing, who your leads are, and how you can improve.
Website Visitor Analytics: Google Analytics
Data-driven insights are the best kind of insights. Measuring web visitor data will give you a peek into your prospects and leads, where they come from, and how they’re engaging with your site. You can learn more about what your leads want by seeing what they engage with the most. Plus, knowing your bounce rate, organic traffic rates, highest performing landing pages, and biggest exit pages will show you where you need to improve and help you enhance what’s working well.
Website Performance Analytics: Google Search Console
Optimizing your website is a non-negotiable part of creating a thriving business. You need to make sure your customers have a good experience on your website. If you don’t, they will go where they do have a good experience. Google Search Console gives you a birds-eye view of what you’re offering. It lets you view analytics for each page, determine top queries for your site or a page, check out time periods, and compare URLs on your site.
Alternatives: Simple Analytics and Statcounter
Martech Solutions for Digital Marketing Strategy
You should always include tools for digital marketing in your stack. Be sure to include those that help with social media management in addition to paid ads.
SEM (Paid) Ads: Google Ads
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) ads are a staple in any marketing strategy. Since Google is where most people go to look for things, going with Google Ads is the most logical choice. Place ads in SERPs (search engine results pages) while keeping to a budget automatically. Choose between a local or global audience and optimize your ad for keyword searches to bring in more web traffic, store visits, or calls.
Alternatives: Adroll or Media.net
Social Media Listening and Engagement: Sprout Social
Staying on top of what people say about your brand online should be a big part of your strategy. Social media listening via a platform like Sprout Social will give you a continuous stream of insights into what people think about you. You can use the same tool to engage with customers via DMs, comments, or replies. You can also create a content strategy and schedule posts with this tool, making it our number one social media management tool.
Alternatives: Hootsuite and Hubspot Social Media Management
Martech Solutions for Sales
Tech can make it easier for you to connect with your customers too! The right tool will help you connect with them most effectively while also giving you key insights into their behavior.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Zoho
Zoho’s omnichannel communication capabilities make it easy for you to see which channels and at what time it’s best to connect with customers. Reach them across every channel — phone, email, chat, and social media — and get notifications when they engage with you. You’ll also get access to reports to track KPIs like trends, future indicators, and sales performance.
Alternatives: Salesforce and Scoro
Learn How Carter & Custer Can Make Marketing Easier
Staying on top of MarTech is challenging to say the least. No sooner do you overcome one hurdle than you’re faced with another, plus you’re adjusting to a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
At Carter and Custer, we love helping mission-driven businesses with incredible vision get the word out no matter how much marketing experience they have. It’s our pleasure to help businesses, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and creatives make an impact with their message, whether it’s through marketing strategy, email journeys, content creation, or web design.
We’ve seen massive success with our methods. Check out what we did for our client Ed Mylett, a #1 ranked iTunes business podcaster. In just four months, we were able to increase his site traffic by 30% by repurposing his podcast episodes into long-form, SEO-rich articles.
We’ve also helped incredible companies like The School of Greatness and Pencils of Promise make a massive impact!
Find out what we can do for you!