How to build an agency marketing tech stack (and what mistakes to avoid)
Building an agency marketing stack is not for the faint of heart — there are thousands of marketing tech tools out there, and finding the right ones takes plenty of research and strategy.
So before you spend your entire Monday doing product demos, take the time to assess what tools your agency really needs. That means thinking critically about the tools your clients will benefit from the most, and knowing what to look for in service providers.
Think outside the box when it comes to tools
Some tools are already considered standard for data-savvy businesses these days, such as analytics platforms and CRMs. (For an example marketing stack, see the end of this post.) However, there are other tools and platforms that are industry-specific — or simply less well known — but still incredibly useful.
If you work in an industry that requires specialized software like this, then you probably already know which marketing tools best serve your clients’ needs. But there may be other tools that can be a real boon to businesses in your industry, even if those tools aren’t necessarily designed to be used in a specific industry.
For example, if you work with a niche industry that uses a specific CRM that big marketing tools don’t integrate with, you’ll want to research adding Zapier to your stack. Zapier can seamlessly connect non-integrated marketing platforms, which helps you avoid data hiccups while also giving your clients access to other marketing tools they may not have considered.
Additionally, some marketing tools have plenty of horsepower but aren’t as well-known outside of their core userbase. Call tracking, for example, may not be touted as critical marketing tech as often as lead form tools are, but it can play a huge role in both closing the attribution gap and providing critical data about your clients’ customers.
Find the right providers
To sift through the marketing technology clutter, it’s important to keep in mind these key factors: Pricing and industry needs.
1) Pricing (for you and your clients)
No matter how good a tool is, if it’s too expensive, it’s a hard sell. If you work with enterprise-level companies, marketing tech is effectively your oyster. But if you work with small- to medium-sized businesses, you’ll need to keep in mind each tool’s price point relative to the value it will bring.
You also need to consider whether or not these tools have agency pricing models. Some platforms allow you to manage multiple client accounts under one umbrella, allowing you to offset monthly fees or make a slight profit. Others do not, and this will be reflected in your charges to your clients. (Also keep in mind that some clients will prefer to have a separate account and login, so flexibility is always important when it comes to choosing marketing software for your agency.)
2) Industry-specific needs
Depending on the industries your company serves, you’ll need to keep certain requirements in mind when shopping for tools.
For example, if you work with a lot of healthcare clients, you’ll want a call tracking provider that’s HIPAA compliant. If you have many property management clients, you may want to explore CRMs specific to those industries (such as RealPage or Entrata). For financial services clients, you’ll likely need tools that have strong security features, or ones that will at least make it easy for your developers to add extra security.
An example agency marketing stack
Marketing stacks will vary from agency to agency, but you should expect to at least have the following tools available for your clients. (You can pick and choose from this list based on what services your agency offers, of course):
- Analytics platform (Hubspot, Bizible)
- CRM (Salesforce, Zoho)
- Marketing automation (Marketo, Zapier)
- Digital advertising (Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising)
- Call tracking (CallRail)
- Email (MailChimp, Constant Contact)
- Social media management (Hootsuite, TweetDeck)
- Search analytics (SEMRush, Google Analytics)
If your clients tend to have more advanced marketing needs (and larger budgets), then you should also include:
- Bid management
- Analytics dashboarding and data visualization
- Website heat map tools
- Location data platforms
- Landing page software
- A/B testing and conversion optimization
Building the right marketing stack is less about choosing specific tool types, and more about choosing tools that best meet your clients’ needs. Keep that in mind, and you’ll sift through the marketing technology clutter in no time.