Data and Technology

Next-Gen Marketing: Building a Tech Stack for 2024 and Beyond

Erica Dingman

Is Your Tech Stack Future-Proof?

The tech stack is the beating heart of every marketing ecosystem. With its specific combination of capabilities, data, and integrations, a tech stack has the power to either enable or hinder marketers in their chase to engage customers in meaningful ways.

This makes forming a tech stack a make-it or break-it decision, especially in an era of marketing that’s defined by rapid change and technological developments—in other words, all things AI.

Discover how you can optimize your current martech stack and future-proof it to ensure that your campaigns always resonate with ever-changing customers.

The Challenges of Traditional Tech Stacks

When it comes to integrations or new tools, marketers often take the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach. Usually, this is because updating tech stacks can cause major disruptions. Whether it’s phasing out an obsolete tool or adding something new, workflows are often hampered for weeks, or even months at a time.

But if tech stack optimization is put off for too long, marketers will reach a breaking point where they have to scramble for an upgrade, leading to half-baked and unsatisfactory results. Challenging onboarding isn’t inevitable, but the need for optimization is. Otherwise, these problems are sure to arise:

Ecosystem Drawbacks

  • Many marketers rely on one overarching martech solution. While this may serve today’s business needs, having the ability to adapt and add new tools as needed is crucial to long-term success. Without that flexibility, marketers will soon feel stuck when customer needs change but their messaging cannot.

Lack of Real-Time Data

  • Virtually every marketer will agree that data-driven content is non-negotiable. However, if martech stacks aren’t optimized to pull in and activate real-time data from every source, the quality of the content will be severely hindered.

Limited Personalization

How to Build a Next-Gen Tech Stack

Before moving to optimization, marketers first need to take a temp check of their current tech stack: they need to set key priorities, assess what’s going well, and identify their current gaps. Additionally, setting regular intervals for testing and optimization will ensure that the tech stacks are always running like a well-oiled machine.

Need some help with your assessment? Use the checklist in the Start to Finish Guide.

While these processes are critical, they must be coupled with effective martech solutions that are supported by four key components: data, content, delivery, and AI. The combination of these four components will determine the overall stability, adaptability, and success of your next-gen tech stack.

Create a Data Solutions Framework

Data is a critical component in a next-gen tech stack, but the key to success isn’t simply acquiring more data. You’ve probably heard about the mythical 360 degree view of a customer- but more data isn’t always better. Instead, marketers need to hone in on collecting high-quality data, streamlining their disparate data sources, and using it effectively.

When it comes to data collection, most marketers already have a vast amount on hand dispersed across over 20 integrations—the challenge is discerning which data is of the highest quality. Is it new enough? Is it accurate? Can it be used appropriately, without feeling creepy? In most cases, this will be zero- and first-party data.

While sifting through data will locate that gold-nugget information, it will likely reside in multiple places such as loyalty solutions, service portals, and data warehouses, even if you’re using a Customer Data Platform (CDP). In order to actually activate your high-quality data, you’ll need to streamline your data sources for a clear, coherent customer view.

Once quality data is consolidated effectively, marketers can leverage their data for activation, testing and targeting, or even for training AI models. A best-in-class tech stack will make each of these processes seamless through a unified approach to data, meaning that the tech stack will be able to activate diverse data no matter which solution it lives in. This is where the magic of one-of-a-kind personalization comes into fruition.

Transform Raw Data Into Personalized Content

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Automate Content Creation

Marketers are always tasked with generating new and exciting content for customers. But getting the most relevant content in front of customers while managing thousands of assets is a truly herculean task.

One of the best solutions for content creation challenges is automation. While automation isn’t new to marketers, its increasing capacity is. Automating message deployments, generating brandable personalized assets, or copy creation is only the first step, and marketers have the opportunity to go further.

The right content solution should help you get the most out of your content and manage it all in one place. Email and mobile teams often use one-and-done assets, rather than optimizing their time and resources with evergreen creative that can be used cross-channel and adjusted in real-time.

Being able to generate engaging content on the fly helps teams personalize each message while unlocking a new level of scalability. Marketers should also be able to analyze granular data within the content itself to inform how future campaigns are produced, targeted, and deployed. With this creative feedback loop in place, marketers can finally personalize content at scale—producing the most effective campaigns for customers while earning them valuable time back.

Map Solutions To Deliverability

A next-gen tech stack should achieve more than simply delivering an email. In a fast-paced, omni-channel world, marketers need seamless deployment across various channels and the ability to seamlessly deliver experiences in real-time. Your tech stack’s delivery should act as a bridge that facilitates personalization from configuration to deployment, but also encourages integrations with other solutions like mobile apps, SMS, web, and more.

This could look like orchestrating campaigns, deploying customer journeys, and mapping solutions, all powered by adaptable evergreen content that both saves time for the marketer and creates consistency for the customer.

Ultimately, this forward-thinking approach will allow marketers to scale growth across channels and create a unified, cohesive brand experience that’s future-proof.

Set an AI Foundation

A robust AI solution is one of the newest components in a tech stack, but it’s quickly becoming the most important one too. AI is paramount for producing personalized, on-brand content and maintaining a holistic understanding of customers.

As a result, scalable and flexible AI should be woven into every other component of your tech stack—whether delving into generative AI, machine learning, or deep learning, incorporating advanced AI models is critical for maximizing ROI, enhancing system stability, and adapting to evolving market trends.

A brand that is already putting this into practice is Victoria’s Secret. Using AI-powered journeys that are automatically fine-tuned to each customer, Victoria’s Secret sends infinite email variations that are not only personalized, but constantly adapt to customers’ changing preferences and guide them towards the next step in their journey: stronger loyalty and brand affinity.

Victoria's Secret AI Emails

Remember, generative AI is only one piece of the marketing puzzle; the most effective AI will take an ensemble approach that leverages all types of models, such as deep learning, predictive, vision, and more. When several AI models are used together, they drive exponentially greater business results.

Lead the Next Generation of Marketing

Using these tools and techniques, you’ll be ready to future-proof your tech stack. With a diversified, tech-first approach, you can quickly adapt to evolving trends and lead the way in customer engagement with every message.