6 key issues when deciding to consolidate or upgrade your martech stack

6 key issues when deciding to consolidate or upgrade your martech stack

CFOs are scrutinizing the financial landscape for tech companies more closely, putting significant pressure on marketing departments. The prevailing directive is clear: “Enhance performance with existing tools or reduce expenses to align with current performance levels,” a sentiment echoed by CFOs over the past year.

For marketers, this presents a dilemma: reducing investment in tools could potentially hamper performance. Additionally, legacy marketing automation providers have increased costs for additional contacts and seats, leveraging their entrenched position due to established workflows, integrations and customizations. These providers are often inflexible with terms and offer lackluster roadmaps, raising questions about the value of these partnerships.

The market now offers challengers with superior capabilities, user-friendly interfaces and integrated reporting and analytics at lower costs. While the benefits are evident, the perceived complexity and effort of switching remain primary concerns. Let’s explore the new capabilities and the effort required for the transition.

1. Data integration and management

Data is the cornerstone of marketing automation. When evaluating new platforms, prioritize robust CRM integration and customer data platforms (CDPs). New platforms can offer seamless, intuitive CRM integrations, contrasting sharply with the cumbersome processes of legacy systems. 

Additionally, integrated CDPs in newer platforms streamline data management, reducing errors and saving significant time. This consolidates platforms and enhances insights and market responsiveness.

2. Reporting and analytics

Legacy reporting tools often fall short, necessitating supplementary platforms like Tableau and Looker. The latest marketing automation platforms incorporate advanced reporting and analytics, simplifying data management and analysis. 

These tools are user-friendly, enabling team members to generate insights independently. By consolidating reporting tools into a single platform, switching becomes less daunting, providing immediate, reliable analytics.

Dig deeper: Big players vs. niche specialists: Choosing your martech vendors

3. Enhancing performance with analytics and testing

Due to system complexity, many users of legacy marketing automation systems primarily conduct basic email campaigns. Non-legacy platforms allow marketers to use their customer data to filter and segment their audience from within a journey builder. 

This allows marketers to quickly build behavioral campaigns, conduct A/B testing and make optimizations. When access to data is no longer a bottleneck, marketers can bring their best ideas to life.

4. Future-proofing

Given the long-term commitments required by most providers, assessing their roadmap performance and future direction is crucial. Newer solutions, often built on contemporary stacks, can rapidly incorporate new capabilities based on customer feedback. Features like native customer chat enhance data capture and engagement precision. AI capabilities in these platforms far surpass legacy systems, increasing productivity while improving performance.

Dig deeper: Aligning martech with your business strategy: Your blueprint for success

5. Cost management

Renegotiating with legacy providers can be frustrating due to escalating costs and stringent pricing tiers. In contrast, challengers offer flexible, competitive pricing and benefit from lower operational costs due to cloud architectures.

6. Compliance and security

Compliance is increasingly complex across various levels. A robust provider should natively support stringent compliance requirements. An easy test is to shortlist challengers on some of the most robust requirements, such as HIPAA and SMS workflows. This ensures a strong compliance foundation, simplifying the evaluation process.

Dig deeper: 3 privacy-centric solutions for marketing compliance

Next steps

While each organization will have unique considerations, fundamental aspects such as email deliverability, journey builders, social media integration and more should be evaluated. Platforms like G2 can help identify the most critical features.

The switching costs, though real, are mitigated by the simplicity and enhanced capabilities of recently developed systems. Improved data orientation, integrations and user-friendly interfaces significantly lessen the pain of transition. 

Ultimately, upgrading to a newer platform offers a compelling value proposition: superior performance at reduced costs, enabling reinvestment in programs and events that drive engagement and performance improvement.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

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About the author

Eric Holmen


Eric Holmen has a nearly 30 year career in marketing technology for fast growing startups. He has served as CEO, CMO and CRO for companies that include Silverpop, Airship, Splash and SmartReply. Today he’s advising start-ups and private equity and venture investors on go-to-market plans and operational execution.

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