How to start building a martech stack

January 11, 2022 | 3 minute read
Waynette Tubbs
Director of Content Marketing, Oracle Advertising and CX
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Do you have a marketing technology (martech) stack? You may have heard the term but aren’t sure if it applies to your setup. Martech describes the range of platforms and tools that assist your marketing efforts. A stack is the collection of all those various tools and how they work together.

Why is it called a “stack?” The term comes from the world of coding, where the “stack” describes the different coding languages used to build any piece of software (as in the phrase “full-stack developer”). In coding and martech alike, a stack includes a foundational level and additional levels “built” on top of that foundation. So, if the foundation isn’t sound, neither is the stack. Here are some examples of martech to solidify your understanding.   

What should a martech stack include?

Recent research by Productiv found that marketing organizations use an average of 44 applications. This proliferation of tools can be good and bad— it can be easy to take on too many as your needs evolve.

Here are 3 tips to help you keep your stack focused

  1. Though you may already be stacking numerous tools to manage your campaigns, it may be wise to consolidate them into a unified application to ensure they all work well together. The martech stack can look more like a tower—a skyscraper of small, unrelated tools that rely on APIs to connect. Every point of connection is a possible point of failure. The more tools in combination, the more likely you are to have a problem. For instance, let’s say one solution requires an add-on that’s incompatible with another tool in the stack—the resulting code conflict could cause the whole thing to come crashing down.
  2. While it may be natural to add services one at a time as specific needs arise, this approach doesn’t necessarily work as well as having fewer tools that cover a broader feature set. Your customers’ data can become siloed within multiple disconnected martech tools, while having fewer tools keeps that data together. Moreover, with each additional tool you add, there’s the chance that features on one won’t be compatible with another. Working with a smaller stack makes it more likely that everything works together and adds unique value. 
  3. The elements in your martech stack should reflect your organizational focus, your audience, and the budget you have available to develop, maintain, and expand your various tools. 


For example, a car stereo company with a dedicated sales team might build their martech stack around a lead tracking solution by adding tools aligned with the lead management process. Compare this to a nonprofit with no sales team, but a large and responsive email list. They may be better off building their stack around the best marketing technology for email drip campaigns. Their email solution may already include a lead tracking feature, so there’d be no need to purchase another solution to handle that. 

The user interface for an email workflow tool will be more familiar to the nonprofit team, helping them to hit the ground running. By contrast, the lead tracking software that would be ideal for the car stereo company could have a steeper learning curve for the nonprofit, slowing them down with features they don't even need. 


Next, learn about three martech stack frameworks that can help structure your build.

Now you understand how martech solutions fit together. Next, explore our unified ecosystem of martech tools in Oracle Marketing.

Waynette Tubbs

Director of Content Marketing, Oracle Advertising and CX

Waynette Tubbs is responsible for content strategy and development for Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience and is Editor of the Modern Marketing Blog. She has developed a comprehensive portfolio of strategic business and marketing communications during her career spanning more than 20 years of magazine, corporate communications, and agency work.

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