Every startup today needs to leverage marketing technology to be able to grow, scale, build strong customer relationships and keep up with competitors. However, not every startup has a huge marketing budget, and most can’t afford to spend those dollars on consulting fees and solutions that may not meet their needs in the end.
Curating the most useful martech stack for your startup is essential. With so many options available, though, knowing where to start can feel overwhelming if you’re not familiar with all of the different possibilities.
If you could use some guidance in selecting the right mix of tech tools to strengthen your startup’s marketing efforts, the members of Forbes Agency Council shared their best tips to help you determine where to invest your precious resources.
1. Customer Service Software With NPS Surveys
Using customer service software that includes regular net promoter score surveys is a great way to get customer feedback that can be used for both addressing customer service issues and identifying your brand’s promoters for ambassador programs and more. As more brands look at their marketing model not as funnel but as a flywheel, this kind of engagement is key to growth. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove
2. A Marketing Automation Tool
As a startup leader, you need to make sure that, for every marketing dollar spent, your aim is on target, so “right person, right place, right time” is crucial. Perhaps the most valuable tool to help with that would be marketing automation, which enables you to automate personalized, cross-channel communications that are based on the customer journey stage or triggered by a tracked behavior, such as a form fill. – Greg Salmon, Agent3
3. A Content Marketing Planning Tool
Startups need to tell the right stories. We help our startup clients craft emotionally powerful stories to engage their customers. Each story aligns with one of their core narrative pillars, and they all echo the brand’s master brand story. A critical martech investment is a robust content marketing planning tool to organize all these stories across their channels. – Samantha Reynolds, ECHO Storytelling Agency
4. An Influencer Marketing Platform
Use an influencer marketing platform to identify existing customers with social influence, then provide them with an elevated, VIP customer experience with your startup. Understand which existing customers have the influence to attract other customers to your brand and treat them accordingly. This is something I see marketers wait too long to incorporate into their go-to-market strategy. – Lyle Stevens, Mavrck
5. Social-Media Based Customer Service
Social-media based customer service is no longer considered a perk; it’s now expected by most consumers. This not only includes responding to complaints but also engaging in a natural and genuine way with your followers and supporters when they praise your brand. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions
6. Programmatic Audience Targeting And Automation Technologies
Assuming that a startup knows its target audience, it has to meet them at the right time and in the right place. Plus, it needs automated retargeting to capture its audience as they move around online. Without these various targeting technologies, the startup is going to waste a ton of time and cash in both the short and long term. – Bernard May, National Positions
7. A Customer Relationship Management Platform
For our company, establishing the right CRM that can integrate most everything else we are actively doing or creating has been quintessential to customer and prospect engagement. From there, it’s about training our people on how best to use the platform and letting our marketing and creative folks execute against our agreed-upon strategy. – Dave Oury, Medical Leverage, a communications company
8. A Listening And Feedback Tool
Your startup needs a tool that allows you to listen to those you serve and get feedback from them. Remember that the goal is to communicate with your customers, listen to them and iterate your products in ways that can serve them better. Whichever tool makes this process seamless will be my go-to. – Chude Jideonwo, Joy, Inc.
9. Artificially Intelligent Chatbots
A chatbot—or any type of AI—is a highly critical tool for engaging customers. Employing chatbots as a first layer of customer interaction allows brands to be more responsive to their consumers and provide a higher level of customer service. Beyond that, any interactions with customers can be used to build out a more complete consumer profile and improve advertising efficacy. – Jeremy Fain, Cognitiv
10. Omnichannel Conversation APIs
Omnichannel conversation application programming interfaces can seamlessly provide customers with a personalized experience on their preferred channels. Sophisticated conversation APIs keep track of customer history, enabling brands to create personalized offers based on previous purchases or inquiries. These APIs are integrable with chatbots, creating an always-on, two-way experience wherever (and whenever) consumers need it. – Matt Ramerman, Sinch for Marketing
11. A Web Content Management System
We rely on a tech platform that offers us Web CMS capabilities integrated into the CRM, so we are handling Web, SEO, CRM, content marketing and account-based marketing all from one integrated platform. Yes, on some occasions we are splicing together multiple technologies, but the more we can start with a single point solution, the more effective and cost-efficient we can be. – Dean Trevelino, Trevelino/Keller
12. An Email Automation Platform
Email marketing automation continues to be an important tool in the martech stack, especially as we see a shift from the reliance on third-party data and cookies. With an email automation platform, you can directly and personally reach out to customers in a way that is not only compliant with changing data standards but also segmented according to the unique needs of each person. – Sarah Bird, Moz Group at J2 Global
13. A Lead-Generation Tool
A lead-gen tool can facilitate engagement by identifying website visitors. Warm leads are ideal for sales teams, and if permission is granted, they offer opportunities for engagement through email marketing. These tools range from basic ones that require visitors to fill out a form to more advanced tools that offer automated identification and can gauge the interest level based on site engagement. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing
14. A Social Media Scheduling Tool
In order to keep yourself accountable and your cadence consistent, a social media scheduling tool is a must. There are tons out there, but what you want to look for is solid, reliable scheduling functionality (including Instagram) as well as reporting. This can kill two birds with one stone and help you cultivate consistent engagement. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency