What Advice Can You Give for Integrating New Marketing Tools into Existing Stacks?


    What Advice Can You Give for Integrating New Marketing Tools into Existing Stacks?

    In the dynamic world of digital marketing, effectively adding a new tool to your arsenal can be a game-changer. We've gathered insights from Marketing Managers and Heads of Marketing, offering their top pieces of advice. From accounting for time, money, and resources to thoroughly testing and training your team, discover the eight expert strategies for seamless marketing tool integration.

    • Account for Time, Money, and Resources
    • Assess Fit and Ease of Use
    • Align Tool with Goals and Train Team
    • Define Needs and Pilot Test New Tools
    • Understand Needs and Monitor Performance
    • Educate Stakeholders and Manage Workflow Change
    • Plan Data Flow for Integration
    • Test Thoroughly and Train Team

    Account for Time, Money, and Resources

    This is a big one! In the summer/fall of 2023, we underwent the onboarding of HubSpot at Stay22 for their CRM, website, and email marketing tools. From the perspective of a seven-year-old startup with 40 employees, here are some things to keep in mind:

    Don't underestimate how long this process can take. Not only are you building and deploying an entire suite of tools, but you are also fighting years of bad habits and shortcuts that have been in place internally at your company. You are not starting at zero; you are starting in the red.

    Also, large operations tools are expensive. Not only the licensing fees but also the people you will need to hire or subcontract to get things operational. Be sure to paint this into your cost projections when pitching the project to company executives.

    Additionally, make sure you have enough personnel to work on the project! Even if you hire an onboarding partner, the amount of fine detail and back-and-forth communication is mind-numbing, and an external partner will only be able to take you so far. Also, keep in mind that the real work begins AFTER the go-live date! There will be dozens of hotfixes and adjustments to make once the migration is complete, often resulting in hiring additional personnel to manage it effectively.

    Don't forget to keep your company updated with the project's progress as best you can! You can quickly become an easy target for frustrations during the growing pains. Be honest and sincere, and don't be afraid to ask for help.

    Ryan Sullivan
    Ryan SullivanMarketing Manager, Stay22

    Assess Fit and Ease of Use

    The main question I'd ask is how well it fits into my current processes and systems. I don't think I'd use Clearscope or Surfer for optimization if it didn't have a Google Docs add-on, or if Grammarly didn't have a browser extension that I could use with Gmail.

    If a new tool requires juggling apps, there is a chance the adoption is likely not going to be as high.

    The second thing I'd evaluate is how easy or difficult it is to start using. Notion didn't make sense to me because the learning curve was too steep for me. It definitely works if someone's already got a bunch of templates in, and you just have to move things. But I wouldn't choose it for my tech stack.

    Sneh Ratna Choudhary
    Sneh Ratna ChoudharyContent Marketing Manager, Animalz

    Align Tool with Goals and Train Team

    When integrating a new marketing tool into your existing stack, start by thoroughly researching its capabilities and how they align with your goals. Conduct training sessions to ensure that your team is well-equipped to utilize the tool effectively. Additionally, focus on seamless integration with your current systems to avoid disruptions in workflows. Regularly assess its performance against predefined metrics and KPIs. Solicit feedback from users to identify any challenges or areas for improvement. Stay updated on new features and updates from the tool provider, and assess how they can enhance your efforts. Continuously evaluate the tool's ROI and its alignment with evolving business objectives to ensure its ongoing value to your marketing stack.

    Calan Smidt
    Calan SmidtData Systems Strategist, Strategic America

    Define Needs and Pilot Test New Tools

    In my decade-long career as a marketer, I've seen the dramatic impact that the right tools can have on marketing performance. The key to successfully integrating a new marketing tool into your existing stack is understanding and defining the needs it is supposed to fill.

    For example, at Businessmap, we once had to incorporate a new customer data platform into our stack. The first step was to ensure everyone understood the platform's capabilities and the specific problems it solved.

    Secondly, it's critical to have a well-defined implementation process, which should be gradual and agile, enabling feedback and adjustments. I always advise conducting small pilot runs before full-scale implementation. For instance, we pilot-tested the aforementioned platform with a subset of customer data before using it enterprise-wide.

    Finally, training and support can't be overlooked. Even the best tool would be useless if your team can't properly leverage it. Remember, it's not the tool, but how you use it, that defines your success.

    Pavel Naydenov
    Pavel NaydenovHead of Marketing, Businessmap

    Understand Needs and Monitor Performance

    Integrating a new marketing tool into an existing stack can be challenging, but it poses an opportunity to enhance overall marketing performance. Based on my experience, my number one piece of advice would be to start with a clear understanding of your needs and challenges. Identify what you want this new tool to achieve, align it with your business goals, and how it fits into your current stack.

    For instance, when we adopted a tool for SEO enhancement at BusinessMap, we audited our existing processes, understood gaps, and ensured that this tool would bridge these gaps without disrupting functioning systems.

    Also, never underestimate the importance of staff training. During the integration of a digital marketing technique at BusinessMap, we extensively trained the team, which resulted in seamless implementation and optimal utilization. Lastly, track performance metrics from day one. This allows you to see the actual impact and fine-tune the integration process as necessary.

    So, in short, understanding your needs, comprehensive training, and tracking performance are key to successful tool integration.

    Gabriel Lukov
    Gabriel LukovHead of Inbound Growth, Businessmap

    Educate Stakeholders and Manage Workflow Change

    As an agency leader responsible for designing complex marketing technology ecosystems that enable client performance, I can tell you that seamlessly integrating new solutions demands equal parts platform-capability fluency and workflow-change management finesse. Beyond baseline certification checklists, three pivotal integration keys enable smooth adoption, avoiding business disruption.

    First, stakeholder education cannot start too early, detailing how enhanced capabilities map to roles beneficially rather than positioning solely as a forced new tool. Paint the productivity vision through usage personas and uplifting case studies. Second, transition access and permission plans carefully to prevent visibility or functionality gaps that risk campaign continuity. Phased migration, disciplined by continual validation tracking, prevents go-live regrets.

    Finally, and most critically, reinforce training repeatedly after launch through daily utilization support and incremental power-user coaching. Achieve enough early wins and vocal celebrations reinforcing capability confidence to drown inevitable gripes resisting workflow change. Emphasize the 'why' first, and ease adoption friction second.

    Leslie Gilmour
    Leslie GilmourFounder, BeFound SEO

    Plan Data Flow for Integration

    As marketing experts, our golden rule for integrating a new tool is planning for data flow. Before you hit 'go,' map out how data will move between your existing tools and the new ones. This might involve using pre-built connectors or custom APIs. Think about what data each tool needs to function and how it will be used. A clear data plan ensures all your tools speak the same language, avoiding information silos and keeping your marketing efforts streamlined.

    Fahad Khan
    Fahad KhanDigital Marketing Manager, Ubuy India

    Test Thoroughly and Train Team

    I'd say, don't rush it. When integrating a new marketing tool into your existing stack, take the time to thoroughly test it. In my experience, it's crucial to start with a small pilot group to ensure compatibility and identify any potential issues before rolling it out company-wide.

    Make sure everyone on your team is trained and comfortable with the new tool. Clear communication and solid training can prevent a lot of headaches. Also, monitor its performance closely to make sure it actually improves your processes. If it's not adding value, don't be afraid to pivot or pull the plug. Integrating new tools is all about enhancing efficiency, not complicating things.

    Andrew Lee Jenkins
    Andrew Lee JenkinsOwner, Catalyst RVA Marketing Agency