Humanizing the Marketing Stack

by Alan Cassinelli

It’s an exciting yet challenging time for marketing operations. An explosion of new vendors, coupled with an open API ecosystem over the past 10 years has created an enormous splintering in the marketing technology landscape.

As all-in-one marketing “suites” are being replaced by multiple platforms compiled into a “stack,” marketing decision makers must begin to think not just about the integrations that bundle them all together, but also about the humans who actually make them work.

It’s easy to forget in marketing tech that no one platform exists in a silo. The people working together across platforms is what makes the entire marketing process tick. Somewhere along the way we forgot that – instead we focused the conversation and platform buying criteria on the technology and their integration capabilities. But for just the next few minutes, let us consider the people, and the process, that unite it all.

The ever-growing stack

Everyone in marketing and communications has seen the meteoric rise of marketing technology options available in the market. Scott Brinker’s famous Marketing Technology Landscape increased to more than 6,829 marketing technology solutions in 2018 from 6,242 unique marketing technology vendors. A 27 percent increase from 2017’s already crowded landscape.

In 2019 and beyond, you’ll find the modern marketing technology stack includes a number of platform vendors united by their APIs. Such acronyms as SRM, DMP, ESP, DAM and CMS, each claiming to be the epicenter of the ecosystem in their respective flow charts.

“All of the major platform vendors who joined me for [an onstage] fireside chat — Google, Marketo, Oracle, and Salesforce — acknowledged that multi-vendor marketing tech stacks were the reality of the market.”

Scott Brinker, Chief Martech


The complexity of building a brand and engaging with customers – across web, email, social media, events, mobile devices, and a variety of other channels, requires an enormous amount of orchestration. Furthering the entanglement and adding to the existing headache, the execution of marketing campaigns today is regularly performed both inside and outside the brand and coordinated across all geographic areas, splintering efforts and ultimately, effectiveness.

Among all of this, one thing is for certain – marketing will continue to grow in complexity and new platforms will need to be incorporated into the stack as a result.

Integrate the marketer

Most marketing orgs experience team fragmentation across their stack as traditional team silos still exist. Tacking on new tools can only widen the fragmentation, resulting in a point of diminishing returns and potentially erasing any yield.

The future of the martech stack is “the marketer.” Like some unimportant variable in an equation of endpoints, few are considering the marketing team and how they’ll actually need to leverage the platforms. We seem to forget that people are ultimately who make any technology work.

Marketing together across a methodology

How will your team be interacting, collaborating, orchestrating and organizing around your marketing process and what stack will you put in place to facilitate this?

A marketing methodology is a set of repeatable, standardized marketing practices, processes and techniques unified under a framework. Analogous to a product team, one wouldn’t purchase Jira and then decide to adopt an agile methodology. Rather one would first buy-in to the benefits of agile: faster time to market, predictable costs and schedule, flexibility of change, etc., and only then select the appropriate tools that fit within this methodology.

Selecting components of a stack without a methodology is risky.

At Opal, we’re not just building a marketing technology platform, we’re defining a methodology for working better, together. We believe a methodology defines how and why we work as marketers and should inform future decisions when building your stack.

We believe that brands are built on stories. So we built Opal around a methodology and a framework designed to service any brand’s story and we call it StoryFirst. StoryFirst is an evolutionary advancement for marketing teams, that many of the most valuable brands in the world have found invaluable as they embark on this new era in marketing.

About the Author

Alan Cassinelli

Content Marketing Manager

A native of Portland, OR, Alan is a fan of the Portland Trail Blazers, craft beer, and the PDX Carpet.

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