How to Choose the Best Marketing Technology Agency

choosing a martech agency

US companies, on average, spend between 10-14 percent of annual revenues on marketing. It’s the table stakes paid to compete in a market. And this year, 26 percent of marketing spend will not be for ad buys or branding, but marketing software instead.

There are multiple reasons. MarTech is essential for modern and advanced marketing tactics and methods such as lead scoring, personalization, funnel optimization, or ROAS attribution. Using marketing tools well can thus help you establish a truly data-driven approach to your marketing. As a result, you can have efficient operations, as well as you can stop needing to guess which half of your marketing is the one that’s working.

This article introduces MarTech, discusses the benefits of using a specialist consulting company, explains how to identify an amazing agency, and covers what to expect when you hire one.

What Is MarTech?

Marketing online requires analytics tools, CRM, lead capture solutions, tag managers, data piping platforms, customer data platforms – the list goes on. MarTech (marketing technology) is the functional name given to the software class and the suite of tools. When put together into an integrated system, it’s known as the MarTech stack.

The MarTech stack helps your business nurture leads and win new customers. By using advanced methodologies to organize leads, build funnels, and track analytics. It helps a company get quantifiable data on their marketing efforts, and when done right, can have an impressive impact on the bottom line.

But getting the best out of your stack can cause a big headache. MarTech is an ever-changing landscape with new tools coming to market often.

What Does a Marketing Technology Consulting Agency Do?

Building a MarTech stack yourself is tricky. Instead, use a MarTech consulting agency to help you:

  • Choose the right tools
  • Build an integrated stack
  • Learn how to use the stack in valuable ways
  • Set expectations for results the stack can bring to your marketing team
  • Get support throughout the process
  • Inform your marketing strategy

The goal of a MarTech agency is to have a powerful system that turns your marketing operations into a well-oiled growth machine.

Common Services Provided by a Marketing Technology Company

A MarTech agency will see what’s working and what isn’t, then build an integrated stack of tools to manage your digital marketing process efficiently. An amazing agency will offer some or all the following MarTech services:

Marketing and Sales Tech Stack. The tools in your sales and marketing stack must integrate effortlessly, provide actionable data, and ultimately drive revenue growth. A connected system gives each department the decision making analytics and metrics they need.

Lead/Funnel Optimization and Email Capture. You can always add more leads into your funnel. A data-driven iterative process to increase conversions, using A/B testing, and the best user analytics tools will make the most of your inbound marketing.

Email Automation and Customer Nurture. Once you have more leads flowing into your funnel, it’s time to turn them into customers. Automated workflows to segment leads will ensure more personalized sales messaging. And once converted to paying customers, further automated flows turn them into ambassadors for your business.

Your New CMO. When your new marketing stack is up and running smoothly, you can get onward consultation and advice. You can tap into the sector-leading knowledge of experienced consultants at any time.

What Type of Companies Can Benefit from Working with a MarTech Agency?

Anyone who wants to make sales, generate the right leads, or build an engaged audience can benefit from marketing technology services. Companies that already have, or want to create a data-driven culture and apply modern technology to fuel growth will benefit the most. We also experience great results with clients whose sales funnels tend to be long, and the customer lifetime value high.

The data-first sectors that tend to be great MarTech agency clients include, but aren’t limited to:

  • SaaS
  • Healthcare
  • Finance
  • Ecommerce
  • Real estate
  • Online educators

Yet, marketing is marketing. Any company that wants to get an edge over competitors should be taking advantage.

Advantages of Hiring a MarTech Agency over Building a Stack In-House

All too often, the job of managing marketing technology falls onto a coworker with the most aptitude for software tools. Expecting them to have the same depth of knowledge as a specialist agency, with collective decades of experience, is unrealistic.

Expecting one in-house team member to have the same depth of knowledge as a team at a specialist MarTech agency is unrealistic.

Using an external MarTech agency saves time and money by avoiding mistakes. An experienced agency also has a track record of knowing what works. Further, the agency approaches your business and data without bias and with fresh eyes.

Hire experts to avoid common pitfalls, prevent the need to learn the hard way, and uphold a high level of objectivity in the data.

What Are the Common Platforms and Tools Used?

To understand what makes a good MarTech stack, it is helpful to first understand how a poorly built one can fail. Often, MarTech stacks are not designed; instead, they evolve without rhyme or reason. The latter can result in a haphazard collection of tools that aren’t good at talking to each other, or tools that prevent your marketing team from operating at its full potential.

A further issue derives from the selection of tools. There are over 5,000 MarTech tools on the market. We’d even say that the tools have become too hard to count now, as many tools have add-ons that could be counted as standalone tools. And unfortunately, some tools disappear when their next funding round fails. If you lose a crucial tool in your stack, the whole system may come crashing down.

marketing technology landscape

For a solid foundation of your MarTech stack, we like to use the biggest tag manager tool, Google Tag Manager. GTM enables quick deployment of new marketing technology on your web assets, without the need to always involve developers. We also recommend the customer data infrastructure (CDI) tool Segment. Further, all of your MarTech needs to be based on clean and thoughtful taxonomy.

Once the taxonomy, tag manager, and CDI are in place, we dive into a selection of high-performing and long-established tools. Tools like Clearbit for data enrichment, Salesforce or Salesloft for CRM, Amplitude for user analytics, Zapier for command automation, or Autopilot for lead scoring and email flows. All tools that we believe will be around for a long time, and that integrate well with each other.

As a dedicated MarTech agency, we also like to remain open to alternatives to some of our favorite MarTech tools. Metarouter, mParticle, Active Campaign, Heap Analytics, HubSpot, Mixpanel, and many other tools often make it into our clients’ stacks, too.

How Can You Tell the Marketing Technology Company is Amazing?

Avoid consultants that approach you with ROI guarantees that cannot be backed by recent MarTech client case studies. This is about building systems. Do your due diligence and root out those without a track record of results. Look for winning case studies highlighting the marketing strategies and solutions used to drive amazing growth for businesses.

To exemplify using our own projects, we have developed processes that helped Wilson Golf improve audience segmentation, or assisted Forks Over Knives to expand reach and revenue.

Remember – the most advanced marketing technology solution in the world won’t help your business if your coworkers don’t know how to use it. The agency you choose should provide a comprehensive program for staff training. So that your team can get the most from your investment; so that the agency proactively helps ensure that you get the most out of your new stack.

Your MarTech agency should help ensure that you get the most out of your new stack.

Last but not least, a big differentiator of a great MarTech consultancy is first-hand knowledge of building and selling tools. For inspiration, check out the list of marketing tools we’ve made. Most of them have been built for a client or an internal process, and then made public to serve all our marketing peers. Our recent favorite is our visual MarTech stack builder that helps you design your stack to the level of detail where you can even estimate your tool cost.

Sample from our visual MarTech stack builderSample from our visual MarTech stack builder

The Process You Can Expect

The process for designing, building and implementing a MarTech stack should be a highly optimized system in itself. To give you a good idea, here are our own standardized steps:

  1. Rigorous audit of your current systems and practices. It’s essential to thoroughly understand how you and your marketing operate
  2. New MarTech strategy is developed and tailored to your overall marketing strategy, taxonomy spec’d out, customer flows designed
  3. Tools are selected
  4. The stack is built out, carefully configured, and scrupulously tested
  5. The system is deployed and ongoing training starts. A 6-10 month hand-off period is common. McGaw aims to help clients achieve long-term sustainable results and self-reliance.
  6. Ongoing consulting as necessary – monitoring, coaching, implementation and integration, analysis

Your Turn

Choosing a MarTech agency for your marketing operation is one of the most important decisions you are going to make in your marketing career. With marketing budgets a significant percentage of overall revenue, and with the capabilities of modern marketing tools, the benefit of getting it right can be huge.

Outstanding results are best achieved with top experts. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, and let us assist you to make the most of your marketing technology spend.