How small businesses can leverage a Marketing Technologies Stack

Marketing Thesis Paper

Written By: Austin Quane



Markets bring out the competitive side of businesses as they try to stay relevant in the consumer’s mind, gain more market share, and innovate their business practices.  Innovation in business practices can be through product/service development, new sales models, or marketing technologies.  All of these areas can bring success to a large or small business in the short and long-term if they innovate them properly. However, one business practice should be focused on a little more than the others.  That is the Marketing Technology Stack, sometimes referred to as Martech.  Having a wide variety of technologies that can aid in key business practices and increase work efficiency is what the marketing technology stack is all about.  For small businesses having a marketing stack can boost revenue and by small business I mean, those who’s majority of sales come from local clients/customers.


The B2B market has been flooded with new software technology services that can increase a businesses’ marketing efficiency as a whole.  Since 2011, the unofficial first wave of marketing technologies, the number of vendors in the marketing technologies market has risen substantially.  In 2020 the marketing technology market as a total of 8,000 technology solutions falling under six categories of application (Brinker, 2020).  The massive increase in vendors from 2011 to 2020 shows just how important the role of a marketing stack is in any business model.  For a business looking at the vast amount of marketing technologies available it should be noted that the marketing technology stack should reflect the goals the business wants to achieve.  It could be to build out a more engaging social media platform, gather important data and be able to interpret such, or increasing efficiency at the management level.  Whatever area seems most important to a business, this paper looks to explain how to assemble and properly apply a marketing technology stack.

Understanding the ins and outs of Martech is the first step for a small business looking into the marketing technology stack.  The adaptation of technology can be a difficult if a business doesn’t know what they are looking to achieve.  Breaking down the technology solutions market into categories of business practices helps show what the marketing technology stack can get done.  Once the Small Business assembles and implements their marketing technology stack, if done properly, positive financial returns can be an outcome.



What is Martech?

Marketing technology stacks have been around mostly since 2011, Scott Brinker made a famous visual diagram called the Marketing Technology Landscape Infographic.  The diagram showed over 100 companies organized under three main categories of external promotion, customer experience, and marketing management (Brinker, 2020).  You may have seen this diagram at some point in time as it has been referenced by many professional papers and college classes.

  • Figure 1 (Brinker, Scott. “Marketing Technology Landscape Infographic”. August, 2011.)

Now this diagram only shows what the marketing technology market looked like in 2011.  Today in 2020, the amount of technology vendors in the marketing technology landscape is estimated at 8,000 vendors (Brinker, 2020).  Martech is broken down into six categories relating to business practices across all industries.  Advertising & Promotion, Content & Experience, Social & Relationships, Commerce & Sales, Data, and Management.  All of these categories reflect what Martech is and, what Martech can do.  Some commonly known marketing technologies are Google Ads, Sprout Social manager, and Instagram analytics.  Each of these marketing technologies is tailored to a specific area of business and are some baseline Martech for a small business to look into.  Google Ads is meant for companies looking to advertise digitally and tailored around the Google platform that so many people already use.  Sprout Social Manager is meant to put all your owned media platforms under one roof so planning campaigns and seeing feedback is easier to do.  Here is a great quote from Zara Burke, an employee and editor from Intercom:


“A marketing technology (Martech) stack is the collection of technologies that marketers use to optimize and augment their marketing processes throughout the customer lifecycle. Marketing technologies are used to streamline internal collaboration, analyze the performance of marketing campaigns, and conduct personalized and proactive communication with customers.” – Burke, Zara. “The Ultimate Marketing Technology Stack for 2020.”


Intercom is a marketing technology solutions company that specializes in sales management, marketing campaign management, and additional key business practice support.  Intercom offers technology solutions in the form of a digital management interface for a company to use.  This is the premise of Martech.  A designed, digital technology platform that is meant to be used in aiding or automating a business practice.  Martech can be used by top management executives, branch managers, and just about anyone in a company at any level.  While the number of marketing technologies in a stack varies from business to business, it is not uncommon to large marketing agencies having up to 30 tools in their stack.  Now this may not translate well if a smaller, more local business, tries to implement a stack this big.  It’s important to keep in mind the relative size of your customer base and sales outreach when deciding how many tools you want in your stack.




How do you assemble a Marketing Technology Stack?


Once you have learned everything you can about marketing technologies it’s time to build out your stack.  The term “stack” refers to a collection of marketing technologies.  Every stack is different, it varies across industries as certain business practices are of higher priority than others.  However, one thing is certain, how a business goes about their marketing is a key factor in their success.  The first step in assembling your marketing technology stack is pointing out the goals and values of the small business, you don’t want your stack to offer solutions not in line with your current business practices.  With that now in mind, the ability to create a strategy for what the marketing technology stack will achieve is clearer.  Hubspot is a technology solutions provider specializing in marketing management software platforms, sales campaign planners, and other various service softwares.  A reason for Hubspots market dominance in the Martech vendor space is their ability to uniquely tailor the offered software packages for clients.  Kerri Harrington, a senior Hubspot Marketing Operations Analyst, has worked with many clients consulting on how to build out their first marketing technology stacks.  When in the initial assembling process for the stack, Kerri Harrington always tell her clients this, “If you are still developing your strategy, try drawing out and visualizing your tech stack. This gives you an opportunity to think critically about each tool, the purpose it serves, and where there is any overlap or duplication in your tools.” (Nikolau, 2020)


This idea of an overlap or duplication in a stack’s tools, from Kerri Harrington’s quote (Nikolau, 2020) is an important step in assembling a marketing technology stack.  Whether a large organization or small business is assembling a stack, the idea of increasing efficiency is always present.  The second step in assembling a marketing technology stack is pointing out what tools can be overlapped for a business’s individual practices.  Martech vendors thrive off offering integrated software solutions platforms, and from a sales viewpoint this makes sense for them to do.  A client new to doing digital advertising may use Google Ads because of the “freemium” price-model.  Later, that client may find themselves using other complimentary Google stack tools such as Google Analytics or Google Tag Manger for the integration capabilities.  While Google may have integrated their sales packages and services to attract more customers, a business can still benefit from marketing technology integration.  Keep in mind the six areas of Martech: Advertising & Promotion, Content & Experience, Social & Relationships, Commerce & Sales, Data, and Management (Brinker, 2020).  Content marketing is a good area to look in it for stack overlap, especially for a business creating their initial stack.  Planning, publication, distribution, and measurement of content marketing campaigns can be managed under one roof in the Social Media manger solutions provider, Sprout Social.


In 2016, the Enterprise marketing Survey partnered with R2Integrated to look at a vast sample of 500 US based marketing specialist companies with a minimum of 500 employees.  They looked at what these 500 companies were using in their technology stack comparatively to other technologies.  The survey gave this figure to show the results:

  • PATRUTIU BALTES, Loredana. Marketing technology (Martech)the most important dimension of online marketing. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov Series V: Economic Sciences. 2017.

While this survey is from 2016, the 500 surveyed marketing agencies showed that Web and Marketing Analytics was the most used marketing technology tool.  Customer relationship management software and social community management software are the next most used technologies in the stack.  Seeing what large marketing companies use in their own marketing technology stack can give a smaller business insight on how to assemble a stack of their own.  Being able to properly read and interpret the data from website traffic or social media content can provide a higher chance of a financial return for a business.  This may be a reason for web and marketing analytics tools being the most used tool but large marketing agencies.



Examples of Martech in various Industries


Being able to look at data from a promoted post or a digital ad isn’t necessarily a new technology solution.  But, it has become more accessible for smaller businesses to access Martech software solutions relating to web and marketing analytics.  Digital marketing and advertising giants, Facebook and Google, are a common place for small businesses to run marketing campaigns.  A big part of Google’s success in digital advertising is that their softwares can be free to the customer, not to mention the enormous percentage of individuals using the google search engine.  With this value proposition, the Google marketing stack is made up of Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Google Search Console, and Google Tag Manager.  All of these tools will help a small business run a digital advertisement successfully and hopefully attract new customers.

It was estimated that in 2019 marketers spent over $6 Billion attracting businesses to their websites.  This could be called “engagement” and there are numerous CRM platforms that can aid marketers in converting the web traffic to a website to possible sales.  Intercom was talked about earlier in this paper and should be mentioned again for their customer engagement solutions.  Intercom offers marketing technologies that can aid marketers with targeted outbound messages that can drive revenue by targeting the right potential customers visiting a business’s website.  Another great marketing technology to add in a small business’s stack is Clearbit.  “For many companies, over 90% of their web traffic is anonymous.” (Burke, 2020).  This lack of information on the traffic to a company’s website leaves big holes in what to target in marketing.  Clearbit helps to solve this problem by pulling the “hidden” data and putting an image to it.  This is best described in Zara Burke’s, January 8th, 2020 publication about Intercom’s marketing technology stack:


“To give you one example: let’s say your sweet spot is B2B SaaS companies. By using Clearbit Reveal in tandem with a messaging tool like Intercom, you can have a personalized message that shows up when someone from a B2B SaaS company hits our website (and conversely doesn’t appear for a B2C company who you believe aren’t a great fit).”

  • (Burke, 2020)


The application of Clearbit is precise and in line with what the company’s goals are in this example.  If the company didn’t know what their “sweet spot” might have been, then the application of Clearbit wouldn’t have been as precise and effective.  Driving website engagement is the clear goal here.



Applying your Marketing Stack


Touching back on the first step in assembling a marketing technology stack, knowing the organization’s goals and values is a critical part in creating the proper stack.  Knowing what the organization wants and what the organization needs will better narrow down the choices of marketing technologies available.  After assembling the stack it’s now time to apply it to desired business practices (marketing, communication, management, etc.).  How the technology in the stack is applied is critical in the success a company will see.  If the marketers, senior/executive level down to small teams, using the stack don’t apply the stack properly, success may not be as great.  Highlight the goals of the area for the Martech application.  What does the organization want to accomplish with the aid of having this technology?  More effective returns on marketing campaigns?  Better communication with a business’s customers and employees?

Circling back to the survey done by R2Integrated and Marketing Insights 2016 survey results (Patrutiu, 2017), the data also gave the REASON as to why “Senior Marketers” used the marketing technology in their business practice.  In a multiple-choice question asking the Senior Level marketers why they applied the marketing technology, 62% marked “To better understand customer and prospects” while, 57% marked “To automate processes and reduce time on admin”.

  • PATRUTIU BALTES, Loredana. Marketing technology (Martech)the most important dimension of online marketing. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov Series V: Economic Sciences. 2017.




Businesses rely more and more on technology as the years go by.  Now in 2020, most fundamental marketing practices are done through technology application or assistance which makes it all the more important to have a Marketing Technology Stack. Staying ahead of your competition and being as efficient as possible is always a key business trait for success in the short and long term.  A small business should always keep in mind its goals and standards for what it wants to achieve before assembling a marketing technology stack and once that’s done, it’s time to break down the over 8,000 marketing technology solutions companies that are fighting for your business (Burke, 2020).  Looking at the market growth alone from 2011 to 2020 in the marketing technology market, any organization could realize the importance of having a marketing technology stack.

After the small business has assembled a stack that highlights each of the six main areas, or if not all six which ever are applicable to the organization.  The six main areas were from Scott Brinker’s widely known, Marketing Technology Landscape Infographic (Brinker, 2020) and covered advertising & promotion, content & experience, social & relationships, commerce & sales, data, and management.  Knowing what the marketing technology is intended to suit makes it easier for the small business to consider it for their own stack.  Applying the marketing stack will take some time and a small business, just starting to use their stack, should expect a few speed bumps in the start.  However, for a smaller business having a stack with tools that can overlap onto other business practices is a good way to apply the stack.

Martech isn’t necessarily a new concept in business but, it has emerged as a new age necessity for most small and large businesses.  If a business’s competitors are using a marketing stack, then the business should too.  If a business’s competitors aren’t using or creating a marketing stack, then the business should STILL do it.  Get the upper hand on the competitors and grow the business.  Competition will always be present in business and it there is no sign of it going away.





  1. Brinker, S. (2020, April 23). Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2020): Martech 5000 – really 8,000, but who’s counting? Retrieved from


  1. Burke, Zara. “The Ultimate Marketing Technology Stack for 2020.” Edited by Dee Reddy Podcast Producer et al., Inside Intercom, Intercom, 17 Sept. 2020,


  1. Nikolau L. How to Build a Marketing Stack That Will Grow With You. Published January 20, 2020. Accessed September 30, 2020.



  1. PATRUTIU BALTES, Loredana. Marketing technology (Martech)the most important dimension of online marketing. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov Series V: Economic Sciences. 2017;10(2):43-48.