Since I speak to digital marketers and CMOs as part of my job, the one question I always ask them is: “What does your digital marketing stack look like?” I have been surprised by the variance of components of the stack, though I have to say there are a lot of commonalities. Many of our customers have as many as 14 solutions as part of the technology stack; and if you’ve seen the Marketing Technology Landscape by Scott Brinker, you know that selecting the right components of the stack is a daunting task. According to VentureBeat there are about 1,400 marketing-tech vendors touting solutions that can drive ROI, increase visitors, and raise revenue; so even the most experienced, up-to-date marketer gets overwhelmed. On the other hand, what are the most common elements of the digital stack?

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There are 5 common building blocks to enable you to turbo charge your demand generation efforts.

CRM

You have got to have it. C-R-M stands for Customer Relationship Management. At its simplest, a CRM system allows businesses to manage customer relationships and the data and information associated with them. With CRM, you can store customer and prospect contact information, accounts, leads and sales opportunities in one central location,ideally in the cloud so the information is accessible by many, in real time.

Marketing Automation

A recent study found that almost one fifth of companies adopting marketing automation systems boost revenue by 75% or more (source VentureBeat). With those impressive results, it is not surprising to see the phenomenal growth of the marketing automation category (with revenues increasing 40-50% each year). These solutions help organizations nurture leads primarily on email and capture email and web-based interactions.

Content Marketing Tools

We live in a world of ‘content’ and ‘content marketing’ is the present and future of marketing. With the average prospect’s attention span of less than 8 seconds, the question is: how do you offer the right content to the right audience at the right time? Content marketing tools enable the creation and sharing of content for the purpose of promoting a product or service. After all, you need content for lead nurturing, lead scoring and demonstrating thought leadership in your space.

Data Services

Ultimately, it’s all about the data. The “Big Data” revolution spawned a data craze that sent marketers within every organization on a scavenger hunt to collect and cleanse massive data sets. Now, marketers are left with billions of bytes of business data and a challenge to prove the ROI of such massive data acquisition. A wide variety of tools and services help you augment and cleanse your customer and prospect data and they form an important part of your overall digital stack..

Predictive Marketing

Predictive analytics is the practice of extracting information from existing data sets to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends. B2C brands use predictive analytics to understand buyer behavior and help customers find the products they need. For B2B brands, predictive lead scoring helps answer questions like ‘which leads I should focus on? Which deals are likely to close fastest?’ This after all is the holy grail.

In the next few posts, my colleague @Satyakri and I will deep dive into each one of these technologies and also provide a perspective on how ‘social’ is changing the digital marketing landscape by impacting each of these technologies.

So what does your digital technology stack look like? What other technologies would you recommend demand generation managers have in their stack to turbo charge their lead generation efforts?