When you’re an early stage company, your marketing technology options can be overwhelming. You know you need a good tech stack. But you also know every SaaS offering costs money, and they all claim to be “must-have.”
Every week, a founder or a CEO asks me: “What’s the best marketing tech stack?”
During the initial launch of a company, this might not have been top of mind. There is a focus on product, POCs, hiring engineering staff maybe sales, wooing investors, and so on. But soon enough, the tech stack question comes up.
“Should I go with what my previous company used? Should I start with a clean slate? Should I ask my team?”
Here’s the truth: the best tech stack is the tech stack that works for you, at your company’s growth stage.
That might sound obvious. But the point is: Every company is different.
I’ve seen small, nimble companies that are still using Google Sheets to gather leads – and killing it. I’ve seen well-funded companies paying for the full Marketo enchilada – with no idea how to use it. I’ve seen companies with elite CMS setups – and no content to feed it with.
When you’re figuring out what’s right for you, here are some questions you should try and answer:
- What are your priorities? I don’t mean vague or macro priorities: success, growth, hockey stick, etc. But are you trying to grow your organic presence? Sharpen your messaging? Nurture old leads? You need to get your immediate business goals right before you can decide on the best tech stack for you.
- A good tech stack makes life easier for the end user at your company. That’s table stakes. Have you thought about the people you have to onboard, and the software they are comfortable or skilled with? Or if it’s new; that’s fine. But learning new tools takes time. Budget for this.
- Are you keeping it as simple as possible? You probably don’t need to buy a really expensive tool that requires lots of contractors or full time people to manage.
- Are you focusing on the customer? The perfect tech stack is the one which enables you to treat your end users as human beings. Via your tech stack, you’re trying to create a more intuitive, more enjoyable experience for the end user, your customer. Keep them front of mind at all times.
- Might you need to go back to the drawing board? Typically, venture startups tend to flock towards software that satisfies their immediate needs, instead of their longer term goals. They want to save time and lower costs. But as they become more mature, they might find they are dragging quick-win tech options that no longer serve them. A good audit is always healthy.
- Are you at risk of being distracted by what’s flashy? Most companies I’ve worked with don’t need all of the flashiest, bleeding-edge tech. Just because it has “AI” in the name, doesn’t mean it’s a must-have. You can use “uncool” tech, classic tech, and have it be super profitable.
- Do you have enough good content to consistently feed your new shiny tech stack? With marketing, everything comes back to content. Whether you’re trying to dominate SEO, drive great campaigns, nurture leads, write a great newsletter – you need good content. A marketing tech stack is only as good as the content it has at its disposal. It’s no different than nutrition. The old adage, “you are what you eat” couldn’t be more true.
And here’s a closing point:
Your tech stack should grow with you.
Always think ahead one, three, five years. Will these tools still work for you then? As with all software, scalability is everything.
But above all: Keep it personalized to your company, and what you’re doing. Figure out your goals, your needs, and your skills, and then get what fits. The best tech stack is always the one that works for you.