How to build a modern marketer’s tech stack in 2024

A conceptual rendering of the martech stack
Jul 13, 2023
Elsbeth Russell

The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. Not to send you into an existential spiral, but that’s a lot of time at work.

Not only is it a lot of time at work… We’d argue that you’re probably spending too much of that time fighting with martech tools that don’t work like they should.

We spend a lot of our time as a team at MessageGears talking to marketers to understand their needs, not to mention our constant discussions with other vendors in and around the messaging space. For modern data-led organizations, investing in the right set of tools can make or break how well you’re able to activate the vast amounts of customer data you’ve collected.

To help you make the most of all that time you spend at work, this curated list of tools that will make the biggest difference when it comes to your time, efficiency, and the bottom line.

Before you dive into the tools, let’s quickly address the composition of the kind of martech stack we’re recommending here.

Most marketers are familiar with the traditional SaaS model, where brands invest in a multitude of tech solutions trying to achieve an (often elusive) 360-degree view of customers. Dozens of customer data integrations are typically required for enterprise marketing ecosystems to function – which can be very expensive and limits agility and personalization.

In the model laid out here, brands only need to invest time and resources into the tools that actually make sense for your business goals. 

Often described as a composable CDP, this model pulls best-of-breed capabilities together in a new way – and it all starts and ends with your data cloud. (We’ll cover more on that a little later in the blog!) 

Let’s keep it relevant

Half of respondents in our 2023 survey on consumer expectations said they feel annoyed when brands send generic messages, and over 75% said they will unsubscribe from brands that send too many irrelevant messages. Two-thirds of respondents said brands that create a personalized customer experience are more likely to get their business.

On the other hand, 87% feel that less than half of the brand marketing messages they receive are actually personalized.

Data-driven personalization makes communication more relevant by tailoring a buyer’s learning and purchasing experience based on the data you’ve collected, including their interests, shopping preferences, purchase history, and more.

The tools in this section can help you make sure your content is always relevant and deeply personal to your audience. 

Optimize content

  • Movable Ink – A tool to activate data into dynamic personalized content in any customer touch point, Movable Ink is a powerful extension to the technologies that marketers use today. Users can create personalized content at scale to power every engagement, including loyalty program visualizations, product inventory, ratings and reviews, and browsed or abandoned products and more.
  • Phrasee – Marketers use Phrasee to test and optimize content for better performance, conversions, and ROI. Using generative AI, Phrasee helps users generate marketing messages across the digital customer journey. 

Design and engage

  • BEE editor – Using drag-and-drop modules, BEE helps you create professional templates with ease, while allowing your team to stay on-brand with custom fonts, colors, images, and CSS.
  • Digioh – A forms automation and survey management solution, Digioh helps users design and embed forms, surveys, quizzes, and more across websites in real-time. The application enables organizations to manage leads, track conversions, launch online campaigns, and store business data in a centralized repository.
  • Litmus – Litmus is a terrific option for marketing teams that want to streamline the email creation and testing process. Litmus helps ensure your emails make it to the inbox and result in the best customer experience across all email clients and devices – so you can feel more confident every time you click send.

Localize your messaging

Sageflo – Large organizations can empower local market leaders using SageFlo to send personalized campaigns to customers in their city or region within the corporate brand and language guidelines of the larger company.

Tap into machine learning

AI-driven predictive models can evaluate behind-the-scenes data, using the metrics that matter most to your business so you can maximize campaign results.

  • MessageGears AI – Using predictive insights powered by your entire data set, you can up-level your marketing strategy across the lifecycle. Our predictive models help you identify customers that are most likely to take – or not take – critical lifecycle actions, to optimize every engagement for higher performance.
  • Amazon SageMaker – A cloud machine learning platform, Amazon SageMaker enables developers to create, train, and deploy machine learning models in the cloud.
  • Pecan – An AI platform that helps business intelligence, operations, and revenue teams predict mission-critical outcomes.

The right message to the right customer

So you’ve got the messaging down, how do you know who to target for net new lead nurturing? How do you find more opportunities for cross-selling and upselling to your high-value customers?

Customer segmentation! This is the process of defining rules and segmenting individuals into audiences based on common characteristics and attributes to help optimize your marketing campaigns and operations and deliver superior contextual experiences. (It just so happens that MessageGears is really great at this, so you’ll have to forgive us for the next little shameless plug…)

Segmentation and deployment

Dividing audiences into specific segments allows you to identify behavioral and transactional customer trends and deliver targeted experiences and messages to specific customer segments.

MessageGears Segment is the only segmentation platform made for marketers that natively connects to the true source of your data – wherever it lives – providing results far faster and more efficiently than other bespoke segmentation tools. You’re able to:

  • Create dynamic visual segments through an intuitive drag-and-drop interface – combining the power of advanced decisioning logic with a user experience open to anyone. 
  • Orchestrate cross-channel communications on your owned channels in one interface, using preferences and behavioral data to ensure they’re delivered to the right place at the right time. 
  • Seamlessly activate these audiences on your third-party mediums, too, using reverse ETL – so you can deliver consistency at every interaction and a holistic customer experience.
  • Deliver personalization at scale and design the best customer journey stages.

By sitting on top of your existing data warehouse, MessageGears Message allows you to tap into everything you know about your customers in actual real time. 

You’re able to:

  • Send targeted messages, advertisements, promotions, and product suggestions. 
  • Orchestrate email and mobile in one interface, using preferences and behavioral data to ensure they’re delivered to the right place at the right time.
  • Create well-crafted customer journeys without data access restrictions
  • Understand how your campaigns are performing in real time

And, because none of the work involved in building a great email program matters if your emails don’t actually get where they’re supposed to go, MessageGears provides deliverability tools to help you make sure you land in the inbox.

Taking a single 360° view of each customer

A unified customer profile is something of a marketing Holy Grail – and one that some marketers will tell you just simply doesn’t exist. 

There’s a good reason so many marketers look toward this North Star. When you have a deep understanding of who your customers are, it becomes much easier to provide the kinds of surprise-and-delight moments brands aim for. 

There’s also a good reason why some marketers say this view of the customer is impossible to get. Marketers often want to learn more about prospects and customers, but the brand’s data is stored all over the place. How can you access and organize all that data so it’s actionable for your marketing efforts?

In this section, let’s take a look at tools marketers can use to collect and unify data for a single, comprehensive view of customers. 

Customer Data Collection + Event Tracking

These tools help harness granular data into unified, accurate, and predictive customer profiles. 

  • Snowplow – An open-source, event level analytics platform, Snowplow helps teams collect data from multiple platforms and use that data to power BI tools, machine learning models, and advanced data analytics.
  • FiveTran This automated data movement platform moves data out of, into, and across your cloud data platforms.
  • Rudderstack – An open-source, enterprise-ready platform, Rudderstack collects, stores, and routes customer event data to your data warehouse and dozens of other tools. 

Data Transformation

Ever heard marketers complain about dirty data? (Or maybe you’re complaining yourself…) Whether it’s information that is duplicated, outdated, incomplete, or just plain inaccurate, it’s difficult to analyze your data if it’s not usable. Leveraging data transformation tools, brands can convert, cleanse, and structure data into usable formats that can be analyzed to support decision making processes.

  • dbt – An intuitive, collaborative platform, dbt lets you reliably transform data using SQL and Python code. 
  • Coalesce – A data transformation tool that leverages a column aware architecture, Coalesce provides a code-first, GUI-driven experience for managing and building transformations.

Identity Resolution 

Crucial to a true 360° view of your customers, identity resolution allows marketers to recognize people across channels and devices.

  • Truelty – Providing a solution for resolving a unique identity that resides right within the four walls of your customer’s Snowflake instance, Truelty helps you centralize your application’s interactions without a clunky third-wheel identity resolution processor.
  • LiveRamp – Connecting offline and online views of the customer, LiveRamp helps improve your identity infrastructure and data strategy.
  • Infutor – Link elements like customer names, physical addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, mobile ad IDs, hashed emails, and transactions in Infutor’s TrueSource™ Identity Graph.

Data Enrichment

Enrich your data by adding new and supplemental information and verifying the information against third-party sources.

  • Faraday – A consumer prediction platform, Faraday lets you use data science and machine learning to grow your business intelligently and efficiently.
  • Experian – Helps you fill in missing or incomplete information and enhance your records with more than 900 available data attributes, including financial data, buyer propensity, automotive data, and much more.
  • DataSource – Merkle’s foundational consumer data product, DataSource spans demographic, financial, real estate, lifestyle, automotive, and select transactional categories. 

A place for everything and everything in its place 🤝

In this modern approach to martech, everything around your brand’s data cloud is either feeding it with data or running on top of it as a connected application in the composable environment.

That’s why your data storage solution sits at the heart of your martech stack.

Fortunately, you have some very good options here, given that it’s undoubtedly among the most consequential decisions you’ll make. Most everything you’ll do from a cross-channel messaging perspective starts here, and everything else should revolve around your data. We think these are your best bets to evaluate when looking for data storage at scale:

Once you have the data warehouse taken care of, it’s time to move on to some tools to help your team collect and unify that data.

Optimize your investment

Would you like a better understanding of your customers’ engagement? How about a way to identify potential trends in your customers’ behavior? 

In the composable martech model, brands are able to rely on a single source of truth (SSOT), collecting data from across the enterprise and aggregating it into a central repository like one of the ones we discussed above. Companies relying on a SSOT can achieve a comprehensive view of their customers and the impact of their business activities.

This strategy allows employees to inform and support campaigns with historical and real-time data inside their data warehouse, not relying on data that may exist only on one separate platform or that has been copied from a different source. 

As such, the tools in this section are designed to help you understand if your marketing is working or not, and how to make any needed adjustments.

Data Visualization / Dashboards / BI

  • Looker – Whatever you do with your data, without a way to reliably measure the performance of your campaigns, you’ll never know how well your tools are working. Looker is a great tool for helping you get better insight into how consumers are responding to the messages you send. They specialize in modern business intelligence and integrated insights, while also integrating workflows with your data.
  • Tableau – A visual analytics platform, Tableau supports data prep, analysis, governance, collaboration, and more. 

Wrapping up

An example of the modern marketer's tech stack with everything working off of the data warehouse.

The traditional style martech stack and the legacy CDP quickly rose in popularity years ago as brands looked to empower marketing teams with actionable customer data. But we’ve learned it’s clunky, hard to manage, and simply doesn’t deliver the experiences that we as marketers strive to create. Today, we’re seeing a shift to a much more agile approach to SaaS.

At MessageGears, we know that making decisions about the components you add (or don’t add) to your martech stack can be challenging and consequential. We feel that one of the most transformative aspects of the composable approach to martech is the ability to personalize the components based on the needs of the business that’s using the tech.

If you’re in the market for any of these services, we hope you’ll reach out to the great companies mentioned above to learn how they can help you enhance the work your marketing team is doing. 

And if you’d like to chat about any customer engagement challenges you’re currently facing and discuss the impact MessageGears can make for you, set up time with one of our experts.

Get a demo

About the Author

Elsbeth Russell

Elsbeth has nearly two decades of experience helping brands attract and engage audiences through content. For the past six years, she’s been dedicated to helping B2B companies in the email marketing space connect with audiences through community building and social media marketing.