The "Marketing Stack"

December 1, 2009

 

Have you sat down with your IT organization lately to discuss your company’s enterprise architecture framework? Did you know that having that discussion is crucial to your success as a marketer?

Our business as marketers has changed. We can attribute this change to data. Once a competitive advantage, data is now table stakes. It fuels our businesses. To be successful, it is a requirement to use this data to iterate, to continually adjust and improve. What has been traditionally referred to as the “IT stack” has made its way into marketing vernacular. Just as the IT stack enables an assortment of applications and software to work in concert to perform tasks, consider the ‘marketing stack’ as a combination of those same services and technologies needed to empower an effective iterative marketer and create game-changing marketing programs and campaigns.

A scalable, flexible marketing stack that enables iteration has three key components:

• Business Process (sales, marketing alignment, accountability, efficiency, etc.)
• Campaign Management (social listening, optimization, campaign efficiency, take rates, opens, etc.)
• Data Architecture (customer intelligence, CRM, etc.)

This is an oversimplified view for the purposes of this discussion, but it offers a framework within which to work. Here’s what we do at Webtrends….

Webtrends Marketing Stack

Business Process:

Iterative marketing thrives when we recognize that the goals of Sales and Marketing can and should exist harmoniously. Ultimately, this means that Sales and Marketing agree to co-own the sales funnel and accountability on how that will be executed against. Further, iterative marketing accepts the fact that failure is a way to learn and will be celebrated.

At Webtrends, we have built an organizational structure and operate against values that support the iterative model. We support the idea of the noble failure and celebrate both successes and failures equally. We’ve also recently rolled out a new model for accountability with the sales department, including a worldwide sales and marketing funnel defining suspects, leads, qualified leads, through to closed business.

Campaign & Asset Management:

We’ve adopted iterative marketing as an operational methodology. Test, Learn, Improve, Repeat across all campaigns and assets.

• The team meets for daily scrums to check in on progress against priorities
• We’ve added new members qualified to handle the rapid pace.
• We’ve moved more communications to a collaboration portal for faster and better communications (less synthesis required, improved version control, less organization of local files, etc.)
• We take advantage of technologies like Webtrends Optimize, Ad Director, and Social Measurement to facilitate this process in an automated fashion where available.

Data Architecture:

Your marketing stack must enable iterative marketing, not hinder it. This sounds simple but it’s something I’ve run into again and again when trying to execute. Some of the principles to consider:
• Include Social Media: Your customers interact with your brand and products off your site, and utilizing a tool like Webtrends Social Measurement that will integrate with your Webtrends Analytics 9 data is hugely important. The technology, along with supporting business processes, can make substantive and positive impacts on your business in groups broader than just marketing.
• Marketing automation is a must: Understand how your marketing campaigns align with your digital asset investments and further align to your sales funnel. We use Eloqua at Webtrends.
• Business process change powers your experimentation platform: One of the most important learned lessons with an experimentation platform is that you have to enable your Creative Director to be successful. Utilizing a service and platform that can help get your team up and running with the new business processes and then running it on your own is a great tactic to get value faster. We use Webtrends Optimize because we not only get the most advanced platform on the market but we have access to an amazing team of experts.
• Analytics are the mothership: We use Webtrends Analytics 9 and Marketing Warehouse at Webtrends. Possibly this goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway. Analytics are the mothership for  your Marketing stack and you have to have unfettered access to all your visitor level data. Webtrends is the only provider who can do that for you and we certainly take advantage of what Webtrends has to offer.
• Integrating online and offline data should be a goal if it’s applicable for your business: Solid analytics and customer intelligence tools that enable you to look at the data together and take action are hugely important for business that operate in multiple channels. There is a great webinar taking place on Dec 2 that you should check out if you want to learn more about this.

Here’s an analogy that I think can be helpful to illustrate the concept of marketing iteration in present-day organizations:

In most of Europe, it’s really easy to be energy-efficient because the societal infrastructure supports it. Everyone has low-flow showers and toilets, energy costs more so people make a tremendous effort to conserve it, mass transit is ubiquitous and awesome, pesticide and farming laws mean that food is more sustainably produced, etc. This entire supporting framework (a combination of laws and cultural norms that transcends individual behavior) makes it much easier for individuals to “do the right thing”, per se. America is, obviously, quite different. Even if you want to be more efficient as an individual, you’re constantly at odds with culture, laws and institutions that, in many cases, make it harder to live sustainably (our dependency on cars is one example). I think of iterative marketing the same way. You can have individuals in an organization who champion it or try to be iterative, but in order to really succeed across the organization, you need to have a company-wide culture, the right marketing stack and processes that support iterative marketing.

In summary, at Webtrends, our data architecture is comprised of social media data (via Webtrends Social Measurement) campaign performance data (via Eloqua), Multivariate experimentation data (via Webtrends Optimize) and visitor + trend data (via Webtrends Analytics & Marketing Warehouse) along with all the supporting cultural and business process changes that act as the glue between the components of the stack.

What is in your marketing stack?

 

Finally! A great visual to let marketers talk with IT. This is truly helpful. Congrats!

From rebecca on December 1st, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Hi Jascha,

Interesting post and a great glimpse into how Webtrends thinks about its own marketing stack. I’ve often said that the marketer’s technology stack is wobbly because they’re forced to piece together numerous applications necessary to fulfill diverse marketing functions. While this is still true in many cases, I like how you’ve aligned process, automation and the customer data together.

However the most insightful component you touched on is that the culture (and business process) acts as the glue to hold it all together. I couldn’t agree more. Without a culture for measurement, optimization and automation – it simply won’t work.

Good stuff! Cheers,
John

From John Lovett on December 2nd, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Thanks Rebecca. I had some help on the graphic from a member of our creative team but I too think it shows solid framework to guide a discussion with your IT teams.

John, thanks too for your comment. Maybe we should consider a cultural best practices white paper together? I’m game if you are.

From jascha kaykas-wolff on December 2nd, 2009 at 4:39 pm

It would be interesting to read a blog post (here or on WT other blogs) on how you have worked with companies to help them develop a culture of measurement & data.

From cory huff on December 2nd, 2009 at 4:59 pm

I always enjoy reading spot on articles by an individual who is obviously knowledgeable on their chosen subject. I’ll be watching this thread with great interest. Keep up the great work, till next time

From Chandra Bessone on April 22nd, 2010 at 7:49 pm

[…] you’ve been reading the Webtrends blog for a while, you’ve no doubt seen many references to “Iterative Marketing“. Taking it’s philosophical cues from agile […]

From The Ishtar ProblemIterative Marketing Part 1 | Official Webtrends Company Blog on May 14th, 2010 at 9:05 pm

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