Building a modern marketing tech stack: essential tools and tips

Jun 28, 2024


Crafting a well-structured marketing technology (MarTech) stack can be daunting. 

There are so many tools to choose from today, so many marketers rush to add solutions without a clear strategy. Marketing team members end up working less efficiently because they don’t know how to use each new tool. 

Our advice? Less is more. You don’t need every new platform on the market. 

To help you navigate this complex marketing technology landscape, we've compiled recommendations for essential tools and criteria to consider when selecting specific solutions. These suggestions are based on our experience and insights from Austin Hay , a MarTech leader and co-founder of Clarify

Let's dive in.

MarTech stack cheat sheets

For busy marketers who want a quick reference, we've distilled Austin’s top suggestions for B2B and B2C MarTech tools:

CRM: Keeps track of customer interactions and data

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is the central hub for managing customer information and interactions across the customer lifecycle. It stores contact details, tracks touchpoints (like calls, emails, and meetings), manages the deal flow, and provides reporting on sales activities. Some key CRM features to look for:

  • Contact management 

  • Sales activity tracking that surfaces pipeline trends and forecast revenue

  • Workflow automation (e.g., lead assignment, task alerts) 

  • Customizable reporting and dashboards

  • Mobile access for on-the-go sales teams

When evaluating CRM solutions, consider how well each option would integrate with your other marketing software to provide a unified view of customer interactions. You want a CRM that can quickly pull data from multiple sources (like marketing automation, customer support, and billing systems) to provide a 360-degree view of the customer. For example, a B2B SaaS company could sync Salesforce with Marketo and Zendesk to track the customer journey across touchpoints.

Pro tip: Look for integration features

Austin notes that CRMs can become overwhelming for teams because they store so much information and often involve manual steps to access the data you need. For example, if you're prepping for a sales meeting, you likely need to pull up the CRM and search for the prospect you're speaking with (along with potentially some Googling about their company). 

Austin recommends finding CRMs that can integrate with other tools so you can quickly access customer information. Some CRMs connect with Slack and email providers, so marketers can pull data while messaging co-workers and customers.

Recommended CRMs

  • Salesforce is the industry CRM leader with a comprehensive feature set and extensive integrations. It's a good fit for larger, complex organizations.

  • HubSpot CRM offers an intuitive user experience and seamless integration with HubSpot's marketing and service hubs. It's well-suited for SMBs or companies already using HubSpot.

  • Clarify is a modern, intelligent, and flexible alternative for small businesses and founder-driven sales teams. It’s best for teams that are tired of the stodgy and overwhelming experiences that traditional CRMs provide and who are looking for something new, fast, and intuitive.

CDPs: Collects and integrates data from different sources

A customer data platform (CDP) ingests data from your marketing tools, links it to persistent customer profiles, and makes those profiles available to other systems for activation. The tool is user-friendly for non-technical marketers, so the whole team can use the CDP to pull up-to-date customer information and build personalized campaigns. 

 Key CDP capabilities include:

  • Data collection and integration from online and offline sources

  • Identity resolution and cross-device stitching

  • Flexible audience segmentation

  • Real-time data streaming to engagement, analytics, and reporting tools

Recommended CDPs and reverse ETLs

  • Amplitude is an ideal CDP for early startups and other SMBs. The platform's native integration with its primary product analytics tool is a significant perk, allowing teams to centralize customers' behavioral data easily. 

  • Segment is the most well-known CDP. It has many advanced data management features, including a built-in reverse ETL tool (more on that in the next section). 

Pro tip 

Look for CDPs and reverse ETLs with solid data governance features to maintain data quality and ensure the security of sensitive customer information. Examples of features to look for include: 

  • AI-driven data quality issue flagging and suggested fixes

  • Data access controls

  • SSO sign-on

  • Change approval workflows

  • Audit logs

Data warehouses: Stores structured and unstructured data

A data warehouse is a centralized repository that companies use to store and analyze large amounts of data (both structured and unstructured).

Unlike a CDP, a warehouse stores all business data, not just customer information. It’s designed for technical users who must know how to read data attributes and write SQL code to access information.  

Modern cloud-based data warehouses typically offer:

  • Scalability with usage-based pricing

  • Stores structured and semi-structured data

  • Integrations with other marketing tools

  • Supports SQL for querying 

  • Robust security and backup recovery

According to Austin, data warehouses are best for teams with engineering resources since the tool requires technical knowledge. A team that does a lot of modeling in dbt is a clear sign of an advanced data engineering culture. If your team doesn't have this technical expertise, Austin recommends using a CDP with third-party tool integrations. 

Recommended data warehouses (and reverse ETLs)

  • Snowflake is the most popular data warehouse, known for its scalability and robust security features. However, it is typically more expensive than competitors.  

  • Amazon Redshift has fewer features than Snowflake, but it’s typically more cost-effective if you run many queries. 

  • Hightouch is a reverse ETL platform that can send data from warehouses to over 200 tools. Its interface is user-friendly, so non-technical employees can also use it. 

Pro tip

Austin recommends pairing your data warehouse with reverse ETL, a tool that moves all business data (not just customer information) from your warehouse to individual tools. Some CDPs have built-in reverse ETL capabilities, but there are also standalone ETL platforms. This integration enables your engineers to send your warehouse’s trustworthy data back to the marketing tools your team uses, empowering them with reliable information. 

Marketing automation: Streamlines repetitive tasks

This type of tool automatically completes marketing activities, whether that’s sending email marketing or segmenting a group of leads. The tool knows how to handle these tasks using AI and user-set rules. Common features include:

  • Visual campaign builders (email, landing pages, forms)

  • Lead scoring models 

  • List segmentation 

  • Cross-channel campaign orchestration 

  • Native CRM integration options 

To select the right marketing automation tool, first map out your critical use cases. Which marketing tasks are simple and repetitive yet time-consuming? Where are these activities happening (i.e., what marketing channels)? 

Use these answers to prioritize the automation platforms that can handle the most time-consuming tasks and channels. The tool ideally integrates with your whole tech ecosystem, but it must connect with your CRM.

Recommended marketing automation solutions

  • is a budget-friendly marketing platform that can automate SMS, email, push notifications, and in-app messages. It’s an ideal starter solution for SMBs. 

  • Braze offers more advanced engagement features, including AI-driven customer preference predictions, personalized messages, and automatic campaign content creation. This platform is more expensive than, so it’s best for large companies.

Pro tip 

Prioritize marketing automation platforms that can pull real-time data for timely customer interactions. For instance, a brand could trigger hyper-personalized mobile messages by having its mobile automation platform pull the latest customer information from its CDP and analytics tools.

Attribution: Breaks down the customer journey

Touch-based attribution tools illuminate the digital touch points that happen in the path to conversion, whether that’s an ad click, email open, social media click, or a website interaction.

While touch-based attribution is helpful for understanding customer journeys, it isn't the best methodology for assessing your campaign performance.

  • It's structurally biased against indirect response digital marketing and fails to account for the impact of offline channels. 

  • Privacy changes—like the demise of third-party cookies, URL tracking restrictions, and regulations like GDPR and CCPA—have made touch-based attribution even less reliable.

  • Touch-based attribution doesn't address the key question on every CMO's mind - incrementality. It tracks detectable touches in the customer journey but doesn't prove the causal relationship between a touch and a conversion.

Based on these factors, we recommend just using attribution tools to learn how customers engage with each channel (rather than measuring ROI). 

Recommended attribution tools

  • Branch is a leading attribution provider that helps marketers track and optimize marketing campaigns across the web. The platform monitors ad conversions across platforms and devices to paint a complete picture of the customer journey.

  • AppsFlyer is a top mobile attribution platform that’s ideal for tracking customer engagement and conversions if your brand has an app. 

Pro tip

When evaluating attribution tools, look for platforms that have adapted their attribution mechanisms to account for privacy updates. For example, AppsFlyer built its Aggregated Advanced Privacy in response to Apple's iOS 14.5 update, which requires user consent for tracking. This solution uses aggregated data to provide probabilistic attribution insights while maintaining user privacy. By choosing attribution tools with privacy-centric features, you can continue learning about your customer journey even as data privacy regulations evolve.

MMM + Incrementality Testing: Estimate each channel’s incremental impact

Marketing mix modeling (MMM) uses statistical analysis to estimate the correlation between each marketing channel and your business outcomes. Incrementality Testing uses geo- and user-based tests to understand the incremental contributions from any channel or campaign.

Both these methodologies leverage data from channel-level reporting tools to assess marketing performance. For example, a model might access Facebook Business Manager's data on impressions, engagement, and spend.

Teams can build their own models with an open-source MMM library or work with a measurement partner that can build and maintain their MMM for them. Learn more about how Paramark simplifies MMM for clients. 

Recommended analytics tools

  • We're obviously biased here! Paramark builds and maintains MMM and Incrementality Testing for both B2C and B2B brands, tailoring each model to clients’ unique needs and offering marketing budget recommendations based on its data analysis.  

  • If you haven't already, check to see if your current channels offer built-in reporting (most do). Use those built-in reports, in addition to Paramark, for intra channel optimization.

Pro tip

Before investing in MMM, make sure your marketing team has enough data to build a reliable model. We generally recommend at least a year of data on a daily aggregation. Check out this resource for more information on assessing your data for MMM.

Web & App experimentation: Test and optimize web experiences

Web & App experimentation platforms enable marketers to test different variations of owned campaigns and customer experiences. It compares a test group with a control group, typically with multivariate or A/B testing.

When assessing experimentation tools, consider:

  • Ease of use for marketers to set up and analyze tests

  • Flexibility to test across channels and touch points

  • Dashboards to view and understand test results

Recommended experimentation solutions

  • Optimizely is a market-leading platform with low-code test design tools, content templates, collaboration settings, and dashboards to learn from experiments.

  • is an excellent tool for AB testing, low code experiment design, and feature flagging. 

  • VWO supports testing across websites and apps. 

Pro tip

Even with web & app experimentation tools, it's often tough to ensure test and control groups are properly randomized and sized to detect meaningful differences. Many brands choose to work with a measurement partner specializing in experimentation that can help you set up a testing strategy and generate reliable results.

Future-proof your marketing technology stack

Assembling a set of high-performing tools requires a solid marketing strategy. There's no one-size-fits-all approach—the optimal mix of tools will depend on your business’s unique needs and resources. 

Don’t just focus on platforms with advanced features. Prioritize ones that integrate well with existing systems and support the organization's strategic objectives. 

One critical aspect of this alignment is ensuring you have effective measurement tools to understand your marketing’s true impact. We help marketers achieve this at Paramark through MMM and Incrementality Testing. Our platform: 

  • Uses rigorous statistical methods to quantify ROI

  • Integrates data from online and offline sources

  • Provides actionable insights to optimize marketing spend. 

Ready to confidently measure your marketing’s ROI? Sign up for a demo today

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