In-Ear Insights: Changing Your MarTech Stack

In this episode of In-Ear Insights, the Trust Insights podcast, Katie and Chris discuss changing your MarTech stack and how to thoughtfully add new marketing technology to your existing tech stack. They talk through the importance of gathering requirements upfront to ensure you select tools that solve your specific business needs. Katie asks questions to understand the impact of adding a new email marketing platform on their overall data strategy. Chris stresses taking a methodical approach to integrating new systems to avoid creating data silos. They explain the value of mapping where all your data resides to enable accessing the right information. Katie and Chris urge doing the planning work before implementation to prevent buyer’s remorse down the road. They emphasize considering the people and process changes required, not just the technology itself.


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In-Ear Insights: Changing Your MarTech Stack

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.

Christopher Penn 0:00

In this week’s In-Ear Insights, let’s talk about adding to your marketing tech stack.

So your Mar tech stack is the collection of tools, software, services, things like that, that power, your marketing.

And lots of companies have lots of technology.

But not lots of companies have good governance around it.

In fact, even though the CMO spends more on technology services than the CIO does, the marketing function when it comes to technology tends to be a little disorganized.

And as a result, companies can end up spending a lot more and having lesser results from their marketing tech than they do the regular it.

In fact, a few years ago, Katie, you and I were working on a client, where they had, we had purchased three different instances of Salesforce that were not connected together, and were conflicting with each other.

And they lost like the a billion and a half dollars of pipeline was missing.

So we’re talking about changing up our own tech stack here at Trust Insights.

So Katie, you said you have some questions? What kinds of questions have you got?

Katie Robbert 1:06

Well, before I get into the specifics, you know, I think that one of the things that a lot of companies, you know, and you know I include us in this conversation can potentially do wrong, is just stacking, literally stacking more tools on top of the stack.

And so you get all of these layers of tools.

And then within them, you’re like, I don’t know, what does, you know, what does what so in this instance, we are talking about changing our email newsletter provider to a different piece of tech from our existing piece of tech.

And my question to you was, well, do we keep do we retain the old tech? And you said, yes.

So of course now in my brain, let me sort of put this into more specifics.

So we’re using Hubspot as our CRM, we’re using Mautic as our marketing automation and email software.

And now we want to add another piece of software on top of those two, which would be sub stack for our newsletter.

So my brain starts to draw this convoluted map of, well, the contacts get into Hubspot, and then we have to get them into Mautic.

And now we have to get them into sub stack.

And how do we make sure that all three systems are talking to each other? Because when someone unsubscribes, they unsubscribe through Hubspot, not through Mautic.

So now how do we make sure that substack has all of that information, like, my brain starts ping ponging around to these three systems.

And so does adding another piece of tech make it harder or easier for you to run your business?

Christopher Penn 2:44

Well, I guess the place to start would be as a marketing technologist, I need to dramatically streamline the performance of our email marketing software, so that I’m not spending three to five hours a month maintaining our software I that’s that’s not a good use of time, the only good use of my time.

And there are plenty of solutions out there like substack, that will do that.

So that’s from that was sort of what started this whole thing off was looking at the amount of time I spend maintaining that system for email marketing, specifically, and going this is not a good use of time.

Particularly around magic stuff like unsubscribes, and things, it’s just not a good use of time.

Secondarily, as a marketer, I want to promote our email newsletter in a place where other people are reading email so that I can accelerate the growth of our list.

One of the key things that substack does that our current system does not do is that substack is also a social network for email newsletters, it encourages other people to find you to subscribe to you to add to organically grow your list.

In fact, I also run the sub stack for a few other things like my lunchtime pandemic newsletter, and 25% of the subscribers to that newsletter come from the substack app, just organically recommending it I’m like, this is stupid to not take advantage of free audience from this platform.

So those are the two use stories that really motivated me to say, this is something I want to do.

It was not just a whim, this is something that, you know, thinking about, for example, the purpose the people, the process platform and the performance.

The for us that purpose really is efficiency of marketing, but also better performance of marketing.

Katie Robbert 4:34

Is it more efficient when you now have three different places that you have to manage your contacts?

Christopher Penn 4:41

That’s a very good question.

The answer is maybe, and it depends.

And the the specific answer is it depends if there’s any kind of glue that needs to be in place and how does that glue work? For the volume of business? We do? If we could get away with a $20 month paid Zapier account to justice to sync up those three databases to keep them sort of glued together and in line with each other.

Mautic does have a built in integration with Hubspot.

So that integration is already working.

substack does not have integrations with CRM, so we would need to use Zapier to glue that together.

And then if SAP if if Mautic talks to Hubspot house button model Aaron sorry if substack talks to Hubspot, Mautic and Hubspot already talked to each other.

So we don’t need an integration for that.

So it’s it’s just syncing up sub stacks on subscribes with hub spots.

Katie Robbert 5:44

I would imagine that part of the process needs to be QA to make sure that those you’re calling them glue.

But basically, they’re API connections between the different databases.

How do you check that? How do you know that the data that’s in Hubspot is the same as the data that’s in Mautic is the same.

That’s the data in substack.

Christopher Penn 6:05

One of the easiest ways to do that is to do a manual export in this case is the Do Not contacts from each system.

They shouldn’t be identical lists.

If they’re not identical lists.

I mean, you can do that in Excel.

If they’re not identical lists, then you know, something’s not working.

The other way to do that is set up a dummy profile, for example, and Hubspot, like you know, don’t email [email protected].

And that’s your, your contact and Hubspot, and then see if, after the synchronization stuff runs for 24 hours, whatever, if it’s if that is not in substack as like, Hey, don’t email this person that you know, the integration did not work.

Katie Robbert 6:41

Now, it sounds like substack is going to become, you know, its own separate database if I’m if I’m following all of this correctly.

And so typically, we’ve been using Hubspot as our primary database for all of our prospects and contacts.

And so now, if I’m, if I’m finding the inbox insights newsletter, but I’m not subscribed, and I subscribe to inbox insights, do I go into substack? Or do I go into Hubspot?

Christopher Penn 7:15

You initially go into substack.

And then our one of our tasks is to do the Zapier integration to say okay, if you show up in substack, should you well, so this is this is a, this goes in the process P of the five P’s.

Should that email go into Hubspot is the big question it because and this is a B2B marketing thing.

Just because someone signs up for your newsletter does not mean they’re a buyer.

Absolute does not mean that you should be calling them and saying, hey, buy our stuff, right? No one likes and yet they do.

And yet they do.

And so a valid question then for us is from a process perspective.

Should that be the case that Hubspot is the central system of record for everyone we have access to? Or should Hubspot be the place for only the place where people who have demonstrated actual intent to buy this should that be what it’s for so what is the purpose of Hubspot is actually the question.

Katie Robbert 8:14

And so I think if while I don’t love the idea of having three separate databases, I would love to rather have segmentation in one database.

I do think it’s an opportunity to redefine the reason for using each individual piece of technology and the data that exists within it.

But again, that’s an exercise that, as you’re adding a new piece of tech to your stack, you really need to be going through, it’s not enough to just say, Alright, we’ve outgrown this marketing automation tool, so let’s just add sub stack and like, it’s the end of the day, because you know, we’re a small company, and so we know where all of our data lives.

But if you’re a larger organization, or even an organization that’s just been around for a long time, there’s likely other places where you have, you know, customer or potential customer or prospect contact data, you may have switched CRMs at one point, this may not be your first time switching marketing automation software.

And so do you have a handle on where all of that data lives? And that’s where you go back to the five Ps? To make sure you know, okay, at one point, we were using Constant Contact, and then we decided, you know, Survey Monkey, and then we decided this and then we decided that and then we just went back to Excel.

Do you know where all of those pieces live? And has all of that data been properly moved securely into where whatever the system is that you’re currently using? Because that’s one of the risks with adding more tech is forgetting about the legacy pieces.

Christopher Penn 9:57

And that’s for systems you have control over that.

process is even more important.

We ran into this last week actually trying to get demographic data.

And you wanted to get data out of Universal Analytics, the former version of of Google Analytics.

And you know, GA four has its own data and you want to go back further than GA four went back, but not far enough that Universal Analytics ran out of coverage.

And so even in that case, there’s no way for us to within the tool, so those datasets together, nor can you because they’re different scope differently scope.

So even that’s an instance where you need that governance to say, here is where the all this data lives, and almost like a flowchart.

Like I’m looking for data from the founding of Trust Insights, okay, well, then you gotta go to Universal Analytics, because that lives there.

Katie Robbert 10:43

And I think that that’s a really interesting exercise.

Because, you know, when we talk about data governance, a big part of data governance isn’t just keeping your data secure.

It’s knowing where the heck it lives.

And so if someone has a question, they you need to be able to say, Okay, your question is about data prior to July 1 2023.

Let me get it from this system versus your date.

Your question about data is from September of this year, let me get it from this system.

And of course, the question of like, Oh, can I do year over year, you need also need to be able to answer that question.

And right now, the answer is no, you can’t do that.

Because of the different systems.

And that’s, you know, that goes back to the five P’s.

And so when we’re talking about different pieces of tech, so let’s say, you know, just hypothetically, Chris, let’s say we say alright, substack, is what we’re going to do for email marketing newsletter, and then three months, and we’re like, this isn’t working, let’s find a different thing.

So now we’re adding yet another piece of tech, even though, you know, conversationally, we’re like, okay, we’re not going to use this one that we introduced, let’s just switch to this one over here, we still have to go through this process.

Because substack spent three months collecting data for us, we need to do something with that data and migrate it to Mautic, migrate it to Hubspot, migrate it to the new, you know, email, tech, and so that in and of itself becomes yet another part of the process where we have to start over again with the five P’s.

Christopher Penn 12:18

And you’re talking about something that a lot of people don’t do, and a lot of people don’t do well, I don’t do well, which is requirements gathering.

And being clear upfront, here’s why we’re doing this thing.

You know, for example, I’m also looking at moving the almost timely newsletter over sub stack, there’s a very specific requirement of that.

And that is, I’m running out of disk space on the server hosted on, it just consumes in the ignored amount of time to maintain a database that largest a quarter million people.

So there’s a very clear reason for that use case, we don’t have the same level of urgency for the Trust Insights newsletter for inbox insights.

But there are other there’s other considerations, the requirements like reducing the amount of time spent with administration having a mobile app for our newsletter, because the substack app provides a mobile app for your newsletter, having good analytics, having referral features, so that was one that is important, we have always wanted to do and there is a way to do it in Mautic, but it’s really, really, really a pain in the butt.

Whereas in substack, that promotional tool is so important.

So for example, you can set tiers of referral.

So Katie, if you were on the inbox, insights newsletter, and you referred 25 new subscribers, you might get an exclusive PDF or your first 100 subscribers, you might get a free 30 minute call with Trust Insights, just to do some consultations.

And so those referral rewards to me, again, that’s a feature that is not built into the systems we currently have.

But that requirements gathering is is important to know a What are you getting? And to your point B, what are you giving up? And see what is the cost to make that change the because that change cost is important.

The other thing I wanted to go back to what you were saying is there should be somewhere in your organization, if you’ve got a lot of data, a chart that looks a little bit like this.

Now this one’s for AI specifically.

But the in the hideous orange column is is sort of the purpose what purpose you try and achieve.

And in the blue column is the platform.

So here’s where you if you want to do this, you have to do this here.

If you want to do this, you have to do this here.

So even for us like

Katie Robbert 14:27

I you if you’re not watching this on video, I am struggling to read this because he wasn’t kidding about the orange color.

I can’t read the white text on the orange with the watermark behind it like I’m finding it very difficult.

Christopher Penn 14:42

So good thing we have a design intern.

Katie Robbert 14:46

But that’s why I’m making faces.

Christopher Penn 14:48


But even just something as simple as a two column spreadsheet saying here’s where this data lives, right, here’s what it is, here’s where it lives, and would be a useful tool to have for your own governance.

It’s like this is not a complicated system.

This is just a two column chart.

And having that kind of governance alone can help the transition when you need to make changes, like, Okay, we do email marketing.

Now we’re gonna say now you have to log into substack, as opposed to log into Mautic.

Katie Robbert 15:17

So let me ask you the million dollar and I do probably mean million dollar question.

Instead of having three tools, could we have one tool that does all of the things?

Christopher Penn 15:29

You can? Yes, such a thing does exist.

Hubspot? Does that, you know, if you are willing to just repeatedly swipe the credit card over and over and over again, it would approximately 5x Our costs, which is why it was the million dollar question exactly.

Hubspot has moved into the category away from small business into reassuringly expensive enterprise tool.

And the same is true, you could do the same with Salesforce, you could take Salesforce by Salesforce marketing cloud and get all these features, we are still not at a point where I feel like we will see a strong enough return on investment from that, particularly when substack is migrating its subsets roadmap is to become a revenue generating publishing tool, they take a slice of revenue generate, so you would create a newsletter that would have free versions, and then paid versions, and then they make their money by taking us a 10% of the transaction fee for all the paid versions.

And it’s focused on creators, which means that for the way we do our content marketing, we are very much creator level marketing, as opposed to like, corporate business, right, we have the voice and the tone and the tactics and strategies of creators.

And so it’s a good fit strategically for us right now.

But to your point, you know, that could change in two years, like, Hey, we’re not making enough money on this, we need to pivot.

So that’s something we have to keep in mind and see if our five P’s drift away from theirs over time.

Katie Robbert 17:03

It I mean, it’s interesting, because, you know, you’re talking about how tools that historically had catered to small businesses had free versions are migrating away.

And so that leaves a lot of, you know, independent businesses solopreneurs, you know, small companies, sort of in the lurch of, you know, what do we do, there’s lots of tools out there, you know, we’re just sort of picking on some of the bigger name ones.

But there’s a lot of tools out there that do a lot of what you need.

And that goes back to making sure that you have done the five P’s and your user stories to really understand what it is that you need.

So, you know, if we go back in time, five and a half years, we didn’t do this exercise.

When we chose Hubspot.

We said oh, hey, Hubspot, that does a thing.

And so we didn’t go through the exercise of saying what is it that we need today? And what is it that we think we might need six months from now 12 months from now, five years from now, because we’re at that five year point, and what we need from Hubspot, you know, again, just sort of picking on them a little bit.

We love Hubspot.

We love all the people over there.

It’s not doing what we need.

Because we didn’t do our work.

It’s not because Hubspot isn’t doing things because we the users didn’t do the exercise didn’t do the requirements gathering to say this is what we think we’re going to need.

This is what we need today.

And so for a while we were trying to fit our needs into a tool that wasn’t the right tool.

And that’s not a unique problem to us, that just happens to a lot of companies.

Because they say, Well, we already have five years worth of data in this, it’s going to be a pain in the butt to migrate to something else.

So let’s see if we can just make it work versus going through a five p exercise to say, forget the tool for a second.

What is it that we actually need to run the business and then figure out which tools hit the mark, which tools are going to actually do the thing that we need, and then put a plan together for data migration to make it Yeah, so that part is going to be painful.

But it’s short term, it’s temporary.

The longer term goal is that when you’re looking at your tech stack, you’re like I have the right tools that do the right things.

Versus I have a bunch of tools that I chose, and now I’m trying to make them all work together.

Christopher Penn 19:29


And if you do that audit, one of the things you’ll probably find is you have at some point duplicate tools, you know, for example, we have Canva.

We also have Adobe Express, because two of us have Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

So we have these and one of us doesn’t work.

That might change.

And so you have these two key tools, they’re competing with each other on feature set.

However, this is an interesting quandary for Ken over the price for Canva is relatively close for businesses relatively close to the price for Creative Cloud, you get Canva heyde, which has a bunch of features, where you get the entire Adobe Creative Suite, including Adobe Express for roughly about the same amount of money.

So you get like 22 apps for the same price as one.

So even in that case, you again, you have to pull up the five P’s and say, okay, in the processes and in in the people where someone like you, Katie, you might not get a ton of benefit from Adobe Audition or Adobe XD or Adobe InDesign, right? These are tools that you’re probably not going to install.

But if at some point you wanted to, or they get so good that you have to that that’s part of that requirements gathering, and it’s part of that performance stack.

Did you do the thing, Adobe Premiere just released a whole new thing for us creators, that does things like takes up awkward pauses in videos, and takes out filler words.

And so I’ve actually tried that with this episode of the show, just to see what it looks like when it’s done.

But that’s part of requirements gathering.

And so when you do your martech stack audit, you may find Yeah, we have duplicate tools.

Okay, now of these duplicate tools, which one? Should we should we say, Yeah, this is the one to keep, and this is the one to let go.

Katie Robbert 21:24

I want to get to the sort of migration point of when you make those choices.

But before that, I’ve seen versions of video videos that are edited when you take out the stop and it becomes very Max Headroom, because the edits are so choppy.

jumpy, yeah.

And so I would say, you know, proceed with caution when using those tools, make sure it’s you’re getting the output that you want.

Because sure, it’s nice that you’re removing the US and, and so, but there may be a good reason to leave those in, because then all of a sudden, your video is very jumpy, and very Blair Witch and makes the people watching it very nauseous.

But in the point of something like Adobe versus Canva, I can absolutely on paper, see the value of you know, switching from one system to the other.

But but then when I start to go through the requirements, while we have you know, templates that are built specifically for Canva, we have people who need to be trained.

And so figuring out all of those costs associated with redoing templates, so they’re no longer appropriate for Canva.

So they’re appropriate for Adobe instead, getting whoever’s going to use Adobe now who’s probably never used it before.

getting trained up on that, what does that look like? What is the process? So there’s, again, this goes back to adding new tech to your stack.

There’s training associated, there’s cost, besides just the subscription cost of migrating things from one system to the other.

And, you know, Chris, to your point, when you have those duplicate tools, it’s not just as simple as that.

Alright, great, we’ll just shut that one off, you’re not going to use that anymore.

There’s probably legacy information in there that you at least want to make sure that you’re looking at to be like, do I need this? Or can I just recreate it here, but you want to go through that exercise first.

Because what you don’t want to have happen is six months from now, you’ve shut down one system and someone goes, Oh, hey, I need that thing.

You know, like, great, we no longer have access to it.

So good luck making that decision.

Christopher Penn 23:27

If I could summarize everything we’ve talked about so far up to this point, it is requirements gathering is the antidote to buyer’s remorse.

Katie Robbert 23:34

Yes, that is exactly it.

And you know, we’ve talked about this before.

And I’ll say it again, people hate doing requirements gathering, because it’s not that instant gratification.

It’s not the do it.

Yeah, Chris is raising his hand, it’s not the taking action part.

It’s the planning part.

And you sort of have that split, there’s two kinds of people, you have the people that are planners, and that’s me, and then you have the people who are impulsive doers.

That’s Chris.

And if you’re lucky enough to put those people together in a business, then you might stand a chance to make some good decisions.

The problem is no, and this is going to be picking on me as well.

The problem is if you have one or the other is that the planner tends to be very hesitant to make the decision, whereas the impulsive person makes a decision but doesn’t have the plan.

And so you need those two sides of the conversation to come together to make the decision and do the thing.

Christopher Penn 24:35



So, in the few minutes we have left, let’s talk about migration.

What’s assumed that we’ve done the requirements, like okay, substack we’re gonna go ahead now.

Katie Robbert 24:47

So, we have to start going through the five P’s.

Again, you know, what is the purpose of migrating the data? What is the purpose, you know, what do we want the end user experience to be so You know, is the delivery address for the email going to change? Because it’s on a different system from Mautic to substack? Do we need to let people know, some sort of communication plan that we’re changing so that they can whitelist? us instead of just going to their spam folder? You know, there’s a lot of different pieces.

Think about it as starting a brand new email newsletter, what are the steps that you would have to go through, even though you have a five year old, existing newsletter, treat it like it’s brand new, and some of the tasks you might be able to check off really quickly? Like, okay, great, that’s done.

That’s done, that’s done.

But there are things that you will need to do to let your end user know, because ultimately, that’s the goal is a really good smooth and user experience.

Yes, it saves us some production time.

But there’s no point in producing it if nobody’s going to read it.

Christopher Penn 25:51


And so this is where process is going to be the biggest port part.

So everything from doing your deliverability DNS stuff, we just had a client do switch their platform, and they didn’t switch to the DNS and wonder of wonders their entire mailing went to spam, because they didn’t do that part.

But even stuff as simple as hoarding the contents of your welcome page, your unsubscribe page, or about this newsletter page, those are all things that you need to think through that are part of the process.

And if they, in our case, it’s a five year old list, and a five year old newsletter, you may have say like, Hey, you know, this thank you page to sign up for the user is really old and isn’t us anymore, let’s let’s change that.

For bigger companies, you may have a people problem as well, the person who set up a lot of stuff may not even be at the company anymore.

So now you have to say, Okay, who are the people internally at our company that can can do this.

And oh, by the way, we probably should write down setup.

So we’re not going Hey, Bob left, oops.

Because I have a tendency to be very platform focused and say, Okay, well, I can make the tools do this.

But the obstacles are always the people in the process.

Like even I’m going to be migrating the almost timely newsletter.

There’s a lot of process stuff I probably shouldn’t think through, before I move a quarter million person list to a different service.

Katie Robbert 27:14

You should, I don’t know that you will.

But you should.

But I’m happy to help if you decide that that’s something that you want to do.

And if you know, you want to reach me at trust Chris, you can fill out our form there.

And you can find me and I will help you move your systems by helping you with the people in the process.

Christopher Penn 27:36

Well, the people is pretty easy, the process is going to be the hardest.

Katie Robbert 27:39

I wouldn’t say that that people on that side of the fence are easy.

I kid

Christopher Penn 27:50

and so stay tuned.

We may end up doing a live stream with one maybe both of these migrations because I think there’s a lot of parts that do need to happen that might be instructional for folks do that.

If you’ve done a migration like this or you’re thinking about doing a migration and you want to share your experiences rapa into the free slack go to trust for marketers, where you have over 3500 other marketers are asking and answering each other’s questions every single day.

And wherever it is you watch or listen to the show.

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Thanks for tuning in.

We’ll talk to you next time

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