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Even if you don’t know where your business will be in the future, one thing is sure – you will have to deal with more data and, potentially, more people. The more your business grows, the more complex problems will arise, and you need to find a way to deal with them, especially in your marketing department.
With the changing trends in marketing, and new tools and technologies arising, you need to find a solution to automate tasks, save time and money, and ensure that your marketing efforts bring real value to your business. The answer is marketing technology or MarTech. It helps your team not to waste resources and time on menial tasks. It increases your overall efficiency and performance.
At IntelliSoft, we have extensive experience in developing MarTech stack solutions for our clients. We provide marketing technologies software development services to help our customers integrate third-party MarTech software into their ecosystem. Our MarTech cases include Tracktor.io and Elektro-Material AG.
We developed a SaaS platform for our first client in the e-commerce sector, helping online store owners track in-app user behavior. We integrated an Event Management solution with the marketing department’s SAP Hybris management system for Elektro-Material AG. With our knowledge and skills, our team is ready to help you stay on top of the competition with a new marketing technology platform.
In this article, we will talk about what MarTech is, why marketing agencies need it, and what’s involved in designing and building a custom MarTech platform. Moreover, you will learn about the steps of marketing technology platform development and the team you need to build this tool. Finally, we’ll talk about the ways IntelliSoft can assist you with MarTech development.
Table of Contents
What is marketing technology?
MarTech, or a custom analytics platform, is the tool used in marketing to streamline processes and enhance your digital marketing strategy. This content marketing technology is built specifically for your marketing needs, considering your business processes, employees’ tasks and roles, and the standards of communication and reporting. This is why there is no universal MarTech platform – they vary from business to business according to each company’s needs.
You have probably also wondered what is a MarTech stack. Marketers use this group of technologies to conduct and improve their marketing tasks and activities. They help make difficult processes easier, and help measure the impact of marketing efforts.
Why do you need a MarTech platform?
Let’s take a look at the main advantages of custom marketing technology tools for your business:
- Coverage of all work processes
With custom software, you will forget about continuous adjustments and changes in your business processes to suit the tools you are using. In this case, the tools will be calibrated to your specific needs. Custom MarTech solutions can include all the features you need so you don’t have to use multiple platforms for different tasks.
- Optimization of repetitive tasks
Custom software can help your marketing team save valuable time by automating routine, repetitive tasks. As a result, they will be able to focus on more high-priority tasks, while MarTech tools extract data from multiple sources, data visualization, and report creation.
- Functionality you need
Ready-to-use MarTech tools often have functionality you never use, and you still pay money for them. Moreover, the more features the tool has, the more complex and hard it is to use. Thus, a custom solution will have only the necessary functionality, so you know what you are paying for.
- Full control over data management
Having a custom MarTech platform allows you to have full control over the data. You don’t have to share it with the provider, worry about its security, management, and who can access it. With a custom tool, you control everything, including access, and use the data whenever needed.
- Integration with other services
Custom software can be easily integrated into the existing system and used with other tools and services. It can be done through the use of APIs. For example, you can connect your MarTech platform with social media apps to post quicker, launch new campaigns, and collect valuable data about customer engagement.
- Shallow learning curve
A platform that is built specifically for your company will be easier to use because your employees are already familiar with it having taken part in its development or testing. This helps ensure that the end product is intuitive and easy to use.
Despite the numerous advantages, developing a custom MarTech solution also has its drawbacks, so let’s talk about them.
- Higher upfront costs
Developing a custom solution has always been more costly than using a SaaS platform with different subscription plans. With a SaaS solution, you only need to pay a monthly or a yearly fee and get full access to the functionality. With the custom solution, you need to invest thousands of dollars before you can start using it. It takes time, money, and patience to create a MarTech platform.
However, this investment can greatly benefit your business in the long run, and you only need to invest once and never pay recurring fees.
- Need to divert resources from your primary services
If you need to create a custom MarTech stack, you need a team who has enough experience and expertise in this type of development. If your in-house team does not have this expertise, you need to find a team of software engineers with the right competencies. Finding this team is a tough task on its own, and you also need to manage them, assign tasks, control the process, and ensure that the final product meet all the requirements. However, this is only possible if you have experience with product development. If not, you can hire an outsource development company that will handle all processes from start to finish.
What’s Involved in Designing and Building Custom MarTech Platforms?
There is no universal MarTech platform that will suit all businesses. All of them are unique, with certain features calibrated for a specific company. However, when it comes to developing a custom platform, the tech stack has an established set of options to choose from.
Let’s take a look at a brief overview of the options available when selecting a MarTech project’s tech stack demonstrated in the image below.
How to Build a MarTech Platform: 4 Key Approaches
Building any type of software is not easy as it requires enough knowledge, expertise, and careful planning. Having a great idea is one thing, but bringing it to life is another. Thus, you need to know what steps to take to build marketing technology software, what tools to use, and what partner to choose if you lack expertise in the field.
Developing a MarTech Platform From Scratch
Below, we will describe the steps of building a MarTech platform that will guide you when you decide to create your own software.
Step 1. Define your requirements and shortlist features
First and foremost, you need to clearly define your requirements and the features you need your platform to have. Start by coming up with an idea and visualizing your application. You need to know beforehand how it will help your company’s marketing processes and why you would rather develop a custom solution than a ready-to-use one.
Here’s a set of features that your MarTech platform should have:
- A heatmap to track user’s activity on the site
- User segmentation according to user behavior
- Page ranking feature to track the position of the site in search engine results page
- Event tracking to see what actions users take on the page
- A/B testing to experiment with content items and track results
- Keyword and backlink analysis
- Ad management
- Data standardization
- Dashboard creation to visualize data
- Ability to export data to Excel, Data Studio, and other tools
This is not a complete list of features. You can add as many as you need, but make sure that you add features that you will actually use as this affects the costs of development.
Step 2. Find the team and assign a product owner
Once you have a list of essential features, it’s time to present it to a development team. But first, you need to find the experts who will develop a custom platform for you. Here’s how you ensure that you can trust a team:
- Set criteria for your tech partner
When looking for a tech partner, you need to be very specific about your requirements and expectations. The location of the team, years of experience, successful cases, and the cooperation model matter, so define these in your list of criteria and stick to them when looking for a development team.
- Define a cooperation model
The staff augmentation model is about extending your in-house development team. You may involve third-party experts because of a lack of development time, a specific expert, or attempting to reduce HR expenses. In this case, you will pay the expert for the development hours, but you will have to manage this person.
The managed product development model presupposes using the services of an outsourced team who fully controls the product development process. It is a great choice if you have no internal expertise and can’t manage a team yourself.
- Talk to company representatives and initiate a discovery phase
Let’s say you already have a list of potential tech partners. You can’t just choose any of them; you need to talk to the company representatives personally and discuss important matters. For example, go through their portfolio, ask about successful cases, discuss your requirements, and make sure that the team understands your business vision so that your goals align.
- Assign a product owner
You need to assign a person who will define your product vision and help the development team in case they have any questions about the product. If you have a person like this in your team – great, assign them as a product owner. They should know everything about the platform’s functionality, strategy, costs, design, etc.
However, you often don’t have anyone suitable for this role in your in-house team. In this case, you can hire a product owner for a part-time collaboration.
Step 3. Launch the Discovery Phase
The next step is launching the discovery phase. This provides a detailed analysis by a team of experts that can transform your idea into a clear product. It involves researching, gathering data, and analyzing the market to gain valuable insights into the design preferences, features, and services.
Ready For Project Discovery?
When working with IntelliSoft, you can expect to receive the following Discovery phase deliverables:
- Team composition plan
- Clickable UI/UX prototype
- Technical proposal
- Cost approval with estimates
- Vision and scope document
- High-level project plan
Step 4. Write user stories and acceptance criteria
A user story is a short description of a feature of your product. It is written from the user’s perspective and describes what they need and want. It should contain information about who the user is, what they want, and why they want it.
You can use this template to write user stories:
“As a (user), I (want to), (so that).”
Acceptance criteria are the requirements the user needs to use a certain feature. You need to write acceptance criteria to help the team focus on specific requirements and determine what to prioritize. Acceptance criteria will also help the testing team to ensure all features perform as they should.
Step 5. Develop the MVP
Now it’s time to develop an MVP or a Minimum Viable Product. This is the initial version of your product that is usable and can help you gather feedback for future improvements.
How Much Will Your Project Cost?
The reasons to build an MVP include:
- Idea validation
- Budget optimization
- User feedback
The first working version of your product will solve core problems and have enough features to be valuable to early users. Keep it simple, functional, and easy to use.
Step 6. MVP launch
Typically, the MVP is tested for two to six months, but the time can vary. When launching an MVP, the development team will run user-acceptance tests and correct outstanding issues, work with the client to gather feedback, and provide production support and maintenance.
Step 7. Post-MVP Development
After you release the MVP, the development team will make needed changes to the platform based on the feedback and continue developing the platform by adding new features. Moreover, they will support and maintain the production server, monitor the platform, and respond to emergencies.
Building New MarTech Platforms on Top of Existing Platforms
If you want to build a custom MarTech solution but save on development time and costs, you can build a platform on top of existing platforms.
One of the options is using Beeswax – an AdTech company that offers a programmatic cloud that consists of a Bidder-as-a-ServiceTM (BaaS) platform. The Buzz APIs allow companies to build their own workflows and reporting dashboards from their own user interface.
Another solution is AppNexus – one of the biggest AdTech companies in the world, offering media buyers and publishers advertising-technology solutions. With AppNexus, it is possible to build an advanced reporting and analytics platform, a custom dashboard or Meta-DSP, and a programmable bidder.
Building on Top of Existing Solutions via APIs
Apart from using ready-to-go solutions to build marketing technology platforms, you can also gain more access to data and inventory by integrating with existing vendors.
Here are examples of the types of tools you can build:
- Automated Processes and Workflows
When you integrate your platform with other MarTech platforms, you can improve its productivity by automating processes and workflows. For example, you can create templates to help you manage campaigns quicker and more efficiently.
- Custom Reporting Dashboards
It is possible to create a dashboard that collects data about different campaigns running across various platforms to have an overview of the metrics and stats. By doing this, you can make more informed decisions and react to changes immediately. Furthermore, custom dashboards allow companies to provide their clients with real-time data about the performance of their campaigns.
These two options allow companies to build solutions faster, waste fewer resources and money, and release solutions sooner. Moreover, developing new solutions on top of existing platforms provides more transparency and flexibility when it comes to feature selection.
Expanding Existing Platforms With Custom Integrations
If you are looking to access more inventory and data, there are options where you can integrate existing MarTech platforms with protocols and libraries.
This is a collection of online advertising technology companies from both the buy and sell sides. Below are the specifications of the OpenRTB protocol:
- Deal ID support for private marketplaces
- Geolocation, device, and other definitions
- Bid request and response details
- Support for various ad formats and placement types
- Support for Video Ad Service Templates
Implementation of the OpenRTB Protocol has multiple benefits. First of all, it helps you save maintenance and integration costs. Secondly, it reduces the time to market and improves efficiency by eliminating manual and compute-intensive tasks. However, the OpenRTB protocol requires a large technical commitment to implementing MarTech platforms, as you typically have to restructure the codebase.
The Development Team For a MarTeck Platform
Now that you know how to build a MarTech platform and what to pay attention to, it’s time to find a team. Let’s take a look at the options available.
The first option is working with your in-house team, provided they have enough experience and expertise in developing MarTech platforms. The main advantage of this option is that your team has full accountability for the success or failure of the project. However, working with an in-house team also has its disadvantages:
A lack of skills and knowledge required to develop marketing-technology projects.
It can be expensive to hire a team to work with you on a full-time basis.
It can cause HR-related issues, such as hiring new staff and managing them.
Another option is using the services of outsourcing companies. When you turn to a third-party provider it can help you save money because you work with them only on a specific project. Moreover, there are numerous outsourcing companies available right now, and some of them are cheaper, depending on their location. However, not all companies have enough experience in developing a MarTech stack, so the search for an ideal company can be long and challenging.
A development partner is a company that specializes in a certain area of software development. For example, there are companies that develop MarTech platforms and are able to handle all areas of project development from start to finish. Finding this partner can help you eliminate the disadvantages of working with an in-house team.
Here are the advantages of working with a development partner:
- Access to an experienced team who has enough knowledge of MarTech.
- The team covers all the roles needed to develop a platform from scratch: a project manager, UI/UX designers, front-end and back-end developers, QAs, testers, and DevOps.
- You won’t have to worry about scaling the team up or down, helping you save money and maximize the project’s budget.
- They can collaborate with your in-house team to develop the project faster and release an MVP sooner.
- They handle all technical aspects of the project while you focus on the business side, such as marketing and sales.
- A development partner can work on adding new features to the product later, on its maintenance and support.
The only disadvantage of a development partner is that this option can be a bit more expensive than body-leasing companies. However, taking into account the advantages, it is worth making this investment.
Here’s a comparison of the three options:
How Can IntelliSoft Help?
At IntelliSoft, we provide customer outsourcing Martech development services to help clients efficiently drive their marketing campaigns and reduce MarTech operational costs.
Here’s a list of services we offer:
- Custom Software Development
- Mobile Solutions
- Business Intelligence Solutions
- Cloud Engineering
- Enterprise Application Integration
- Maintenance and Support
When working with IntelliSoft, our clients can streamline their workflows and automate their day-to-day operations, receive centralized data access, gather actionable insights about their customers, and benefit from personalized content and deeper customer engagement.
We offer three main cooperation models:
- Outstraffing: Adding an extra workforce to your in-house team.
- Dedicated teams: You receive a technological partnership with a set of business services.
- Outsourcing: You delegate the business functionality and get the necessary people, processes, and tools.
Building a custom MarTech platform can help you eliminate manual, repetitive tasks by automating them, avoid mistakes and human error, and streamline your processes. The more your business grows, the more data you have to take care of, and it becomes impossible to do it manually. Thus, a custom MarTech platform can help you focus on more important tasks while increasing your productivity and performance. Moreover, it will be tailored to your company’s needs and requirements, no matter how specific they are. If you have been thinking about building a MarTech platform and are looking for an experienced team to help you with this, contact us.
I have 25 years of hands-on experience in the IT and software development industry. During this period, I helped 50+ companies to gain a technological edge across different industries. I can help you with dedicated teams, hiring stand-alone developers, developing a product design and MVP for your healthcare, logistics, or IoT projects. If you have questions concerning our cooperation or need an NDA to sign, contact email@example.com.