When do you ditch your out-dated marketing software for the shiny new product everyone’s been tweeting about? How do you choose between two similar tools that both claim to have the same features? What can you do to get the most out of your latest marketing investment?

The marketing tech stack has become crowded. As more companies enter the market each year – some offering a dizzying array of features while others compete on a single feature only – the decision-making process alone could be a full-time job for many marketers.

To get a bird-eye view of the landscape, take a look at the marketing technology landscape supergraphic from chiefmarktec.com below:


If you were able to wrap your head around the 1,876 vendors across 43 categories, you may have noticed one thing: Customer Intelligence is missing. And this is important, for marketing tech as an industry, as well as marketers who want to do their jobs well.

Companies can have the most cutting-edge video marketing software in their stack, as well as a top-of-the-line email marketing tool, social media management system and content marketing software. They might even have the best-of-the-best across all 43 categories in the supergraphic above. However, if they are not connecting their message with their audience, they are not being effective – no matter how many bells and whistles their tools have.

Any company that wants to make the most of its marketing tech stack and the investment they’ve made in their tools must first and foremost understand and connect with their customers.

Customer intelligence is an essential component of marketing tech. It illuminates the “why” in customer behavior: why customers make a purchase, why they click, why they share. It helps deliver a better customer experience: increasing loyalty by leveraging audience insights to delight with above average customer service or highly targeted and valuable content. And it provides real-time feedback from the customers and their actions, to better inform future campaigns.

Without the right tools to provide you with accurate, actionable customer intelligence, the rest of your marketing stack will begin to lose its lustre. After all, even the most sophisticated automation tool cannot target the right audience if you don’t know who that audience is in the first place.

It can be easy to get lost in the weeds when it comes to choosing the right technology for your business. There are hundreds upon hundreds of tools, all claiming to get the job done. And while there is no one-size-fits all solution, none of them will perform to their best ability without the essential foundation of any successful marketing stack: consumer intelligence.