The first is the single-vendor approach. Instead of evaluating individual tools or considering building your own, this approach means choosing one of the larger MarTech vendors and using their toolsets.
The upside to this approach is that it’s straightforward. A single vendor handles everything.
The downside is that you’re limited by both the toolsets available and the mindset behind them. If your marketing philosophies differ significantly from the vendor you choose, your priorities may diverge in future. And with a single-vendor approach, you may not have the option of integrating the new tools you need.
The second approach is DIY—an approach commonly taken by giants like Amazon. DIY means building your tools from the ground up. The upside is that you have full control over the toolsets. They match your marketing philosophies and grow with your business.
The downside is that building your own tools means plenty of lead time and ongoing maintenance. It means busy engineering teams and often slower progress than buying an out-of-the-box solution. And sometimes it means falling behind as industry leading platforms grow and outpace your internal teams.
The core question here, according to Widup, is this: Can your team build it better or faster than if you bought it? If so, a DIY approach might be a smart choice.
The third approach, Widup says, is a hybrid approach. You evaluate individual tools and choose to build or buy based on your business goals, culture, and needs.
The upside here is ultimate flexibility. You choose best-in-breed tools not based on which vendor created them but on which meet your needs. You can choose to buy a tool that lets you get up and running quickly or build or extend a tool in-house for special features your team needs.
It’s the best of both worlds—an approach that balances the benefits of out-of-the-box and the benefits of building in-house.
Which is why the third approach is what Tableau took when it recently re-built its MarTech stack.
The center of the stack: Lytics Customer Data Platform
As Tableau started evaluating and re-building its stack from the ground up, the team started with data.
At first, they thought they would purchase a DMP—a technology designed to integrate third-party data into marketing efforts—but soon the team realized that most, if not all, of what they wanted to accomplish could be done using proprietary, first-party data. Data, in other words, that they already had access to from their customers.
And so the priority shifted. The new MarTech stack would be built with a Customer Data Platform—designed to collect and activate on first-party data—at its center.
The company chose Lytics to play this foundational role in their stack.
As Widup explains, “Lytics is at the center orchestrating everything we do…It’s collecting and analyzing and making inferences from the data and [we use it to] control the transactional marketing we’re doing.”
Building the rest of the MarTech stack
To build out the rest of their MarTech stack, Tableau developed a set of rules. They focused on:
:: Finding the balance between tried-and-true solutions and shiny, new ones (“we’re a public company,” explains Widup, “we can’t take too many risks.”)
:: Choosing transparent solutions they could understand
:: Prioritizing self-sufficiency (and not choosing tools that forced them to constantly be reaching out to their vendors)
:: Building only when they could keep up with top tools
:: Focusing on long-term progress, not short-term fixes
:: Choosing tools that fit their business goals
:: Prioritizing customer comfort
:: Skipping new features in favor of reliable ones
:: Ignoring the industry’s shiny objects while they implemented their solutions
:: Putting data at the center of their efforts
Create a vision and stick to it
When asked the toughest part of the process, Widup says it was creating the initial vision and sticking to it. The industry is full of the latest-greatest. But if you chase every shiny object, you’ll never get anything done.
“It takes a few months to think it all through,” Widup elaborates. “We lock[ed] in on what we wanted to do and [put] on blinders to keep from being bothered by [industry] noise and to keep moving forward.”
A Lytics success story
Already, Tableau is reaping the rewards of their new MarTech stack. Widup says they’ve improved customer experience, lowered unsubscribes, improved internal efficiency, gotten more accurate customer journey data through Lytics, improved the quality of their leads, improved targeting through first-party data, and become more self sufficient as a team.
He also says Lytics machine-learning technology is playing a role in their successes: “Lytics sees every interaction we can possibly send to it about our customers and their behavior. One of the main [funnels we have] is that [customers] download a trial, play with it for 14 days and then we want [them] to buy. Lytics is identifying the people in the trial likely to convert based on historical data.”