How to audit your marketing technology stack?

If you are in the process of auditing your marketing technology (MarTech) stack and you feel overwhelmed, we are here to help. Our complete guide will help you through the process and guide you through auditing your marketing technology stack appropriately.

Table of content
  1. What is a marketing technology audit?
  2. Why audit your marketing technology?
  3. Benefits of a martech stack audit
  4. What to include in your marketing technology audit?
  5. When to audit marketing technology stack?
  6. How to conduct a marketing technology audit?
    1. Build the inventory
    2. What data to collect?
    3. How to collect data?
    4. Organizing your martech
    5. The discovery process
      1. Collect information
      2. Ask technology users and stakeholders
      3. Develop a sustainable audit process
      4. Communicate clearly
  7. Plan your martech roadmap
  8. A few marketing technology audit tips

What is a marketing technology audit?

A marketing technology stack audit is the process of developing an inventory of all the tools, platforms, and systems used for business operations by marketing and sales teams.

Why audit your marketing technology?

Keeping a comprehensive audit of your marketing technology ensures all systems are accounted for, categorized, and documented. With your MarTech stack audit, your marketing operations team can monitor and optimize their technology investments.

To effectively use your martech stack and optimize your return on investment, you need to know: what you have, why you have it, what it does and how to use to it. It is necessary to periodically audit your organization’s MarTech Stack to ensure that you are making the best use of your tools and the integrations originally put in place are still functioning.

To audit your MarTech stack effectively, you need to know:

By auditing your MarTech stack periodically, your marketing operations team will be able to:

The audit of your marketing technology will ensure your strategy is on track and that platforms, people, and processes are performing to their highest potential to meet your organization’s business goals.

Auditing your martech stack periodically allows you and your team to review the tools and processes you have in place, uncover existing and new capabilities as the tool evolves, identify overlaps of capabilities across tools, and plan effectively your future Martech strategy roadmap (purchasing new technologies, replacing existing tools, etc.).

By analyzing and understanding all of the functionalities, advantages and disadvantages of each of the technologies in your marketing technology stack, your marketing operations team will develop a better working knowledge of those systems which will translate in an increase in team productivity and efficiency.

Benefits of a martech stack audit

The audit of your marketing technology will ensure your strategy is on track and that platforms, people and processes are performing to their highest potential to meet your organization’s business goals.

Here is an exhaustive list of core benefits:

What to include in your marketing technology audit?

Include any technology used and supported by marketing and sales teams and any tools those teams might be helping other departments with or tools connected or integrated with the MarTech stack. This might include but is not limited to:

You will need to rely on others to identify all the technologies to include in your MarTech stack. We will dive deeper into the actual process and strategy later.

What do you need to perform a MarTech audit?

In this section, we will identify the key components to run a successful marketing technology audit.

  1. Your inventory of technologies

    It may seem obvious, but you will need to list all your marketing and sales teams’ tools. You can use a mix of spreadsheet, tech stack diagrams, stack management tools, and wikis to define all the marketing tools your marketing and sales operation teams use.

  2. A Platform to capture the information

    Spreadsheet, visual charts, tech stack diagrams, stack management tools, wikis, there are many options to choose from. You will need to assess what is the right fit for you, your team, stackeholders and your organization. Jump to this section to find out more about the platforms we recommend.

  3. A solid process

    You will need to map out the process you will need to follow to collect, review and capture information within your organization.

  4. Governance

    Strong governance is vital to make a MarTech audit process successful. You want to assess the data and privacy risks that each tool poses with the help of your IT and legal teams.

  5. C-level support

    Auditing your MarTech stack is a long-term initiative that your executive management team should support. Without C-level buy-in, you will be challenged working with those who don't see the benefit of allocating time for this critical initiative.

  6. Collaboration

    To sustain the audit over time, you must involve all relevant stakeholders in it. Each stakeholder should facilitate knowledge transfer from the subject matter experts.
    You also want to analyze the employee experience to measure your stack's performance, assess its adoption, and your internal training effectiveness.

  7. Patience and perseverance

    Auditing marketing technology takes. Not everyone in your organization will see the benefits and value of spending time auditing technologies they use, so you must ask for everyone's patience until the process is finished.

When to audit marketing technology stack?

Inventorying all your existing marketing technology will seem a lot more daunting at first. With a good process, governance, discipline, and, most importantly, by empowering your team, auditing and documenting your existing MarTech is manageable.

How often you want to audit your MarTech stack depends on your capabilities. You can do it monthly, quarterly, or annually.

With the right marketing technology stack management tool, a simple and sustainable process, and clear governance, your team will be able to capture important information about the tools they use and the vendors they work with effortlessly.

Sync with your team weekly or monthly to discover the subscriptions and contracts's renewal dates with the help of a MarTech stack management platform like MartechGuru and remind technology owners automatically. Create a sense of transparency and build accountability from the technology owners by simply reminding them about the tool.

How often should you run martech audits?

Good documentation lays the groundwork for optimized team productivity and efficiency. If you postpone documentation until later, you may never do it.

How to conduct a marketing technology audit?

Auditing a marketing technology stack takes time and requires governance and a solid process.

Reach out to your team and team leads across your organization to draft an initial list of tools they are using. You can categorize each tool by adding columns to define the costs, features, and uses they give each tool (more on that below). You should build a strong initial inventory based on your own knowledge and your team's.

You may not be able to collect all the tools during the first audit. Remember that some tools are only used once or few times through the year, and your team might not recall initially that those exist.

You will eventually build a more accurate and sturdy list of tools by engaging periodically with your team.

Depending on the structure of your organization and procurement process, working directly with your Finance or Procurement departments can also help identify the tools used.

Here's how you do it:

  1. Build a martech inventory

    You can create a simple Excel file, Google Sheets, or Airtable where every team member adds the tools they use. Choose a tool that aligns with internal business operations, processes, and budget requirements. Make sure to consider your current internal talent and expertise, resources and time allocation, accessibility, and usability of the chosen tool.

    Here are some the tools you can use:

    • Spreadsheets

      Google sheets, spreadsheets of any sort, Airtable, there is a range of options available. If you are looking for a template, you can find Google for "martech stack template" to find a wide range of free templates. However, you will quickly reach functionality and capability limitations using spreadhseets.

    • Visual charts

      "A stack visualization is an effective tool to help evangelize within the enterprise how martech enables capabilities that deliver on customer expectations and drive value." (Gartner)

    • Marketing technology management solutions

      Platforms like MartechGuru offer features and capabilities to not only help you build a centralized source of truth for your team and organization, help you track important information about each tool and vendor and streamline the management of your martech stack.

  2. What information to collect?

    Here are some of the most common information martech stacks collect. However, remember that every organization is different. You should collect any information that is pertinent to your business needs and your organization's overall business and operational needs.

    • Name of vendor
    • Name of tool
    • Business owners
    • Technical owners
    • Billing owners
    • First date of use
    • Why/purpose/benefits/justification/benefits
    • Departments using it
    • Costs
    • Renewal dates
    • Integrations
    • data flows
    • Security requirements
    • GDPR/Data laws/data protection
    • Technilcal documentation
    • Relationship with vendor
    • Vendor contact information
    • What are the benefits of Martech tools

  3. Organizing your martech

    As you build your martech stack, you will have the opportunity to organize the tools and technologies in it. There is no one way to do this. Here are the most common categorization of marketing technology:

    • by category

      You create your own, or rely on the popular categories.

    • by department
    • by marketing function
    • by contract or subscription type
    • by cost type (free, paid)

  4. Discovery process

    The discovery phase with technology stakeholders (business and technology owners, users) brings context to the tools they use and insights on how they use them. During this process, the goal is to collect important information about each tool to help you answer important questions. In order to identify users and business/technical owners, you will either need to reach out to each of the departments' head, your IT department and/or your Finance, Accounting or Procurement department as they might that information on file.

    Here's a sample list of questions to ask your stakeholders. Feel free to adapt them to your exact needs and internal communication methods:

    • What tools they use?
    • How does each tool do?
    • What purpose do they use each one for?
    • What value does the tool bring?
    • What challenges do they face with each one?
    • What works well with each tool?
    • Are there any improvements they would desire to make?
    • How does each tool integrate with other systems and tools?

    Channels of communication

    • Email
    • Meet in person
    • Set up a virtual meeting

    What to use to collect answers

    • Surveys

      You can use tools like SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, or Google Forms. Submissions are private, easy to fill out, and can be submitted from anywhere, including a mobile device. However, the stakeholder might have to submit the form multiple times for each of the technologies they are responsible for.

    • Worksheets

      Use a spreadsheet or Google sheet to list all of the fields/questions you are looking to get answers for.

  5. Develop a sustainable process

    Make sure to foster strong communication and transparency by:

    • Reaching out to department leads or information architects
    • Providing access to the audit or platform you are using
    • Creating a sustainable process (keep in mind time and resource scarcity)
    • Collaborating with every company stakeholders
  6. Communication

    • Reach out to departments leads or information architects
    • Provide access to the audit or platform you are using
    • Create a sustainable process (keep in mind time and resource scarsity)
    • Collaboration, work with company stakeholders

Plan your martech roadmap

During the audit process, you might identify technologies your team is not satisfied with. When that happens, you want to start thinking about their replacements and build a roadmap that specifies the timeline and alternatives that will help implementing new technologies and retiring existing ones. That includes:

Because many tools are tightly integrated in a marketing stack, you need to work with IT and other stakeholders to ensure technologies are disconnected from the stack before replacing them. You also want to ensure a successful transition to the new ones.

A few marketing technology audit tips

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