A Growth Marketing Stack for Startups

Ready to build your marketing technology stack? Well, here’s a stack that we actually use at Startups.com (albeit a slightly lighter-touch version). We’ll show you how to think about what tools you need in your stack and how to out them all together. The result will be a marketing infrastructure that enables your startup’s growth!

October 8th, 2020   |    By: Tristan Gillen    |    Tags: Customer Acquisition

Screenshot 2020-10-08 at 10.45.59.png Startups.com marketing technology stack

What is a Martech Stack?

First up, what even is Martech? This is an abbreviation of “marketing technology.” It’s the tools and software you use in your day-to-day sales and marketing.

The reference to the “stack” has been used by developers for years, in reference to the technology and codebases they use within the products they build. Martech Stack references the marketing technologies and tools you use within your marketing infrastructure set-up.

By stacking these tools together and integrating them you create a consistent, automated flow of data between your tools.

The benefits of setting up a Martech Stack

The likelihood is that you already have some form of Martech Stack in place, even without consciously thinking about it. We’d highly recommend spending some time putting some thought and planning into your set-up. Here’s why:

Better conversions

Thinking strategically about a prospect’s journey with you, and building your Martech Stack based on the customer journey, is a sure way to improve conversions across your funnel.

By tracking and nurturing prospects across their interactions with your brand or product you’ll be able to personalize your marketing to them. So selecting the right marketing tools that enable you to do this is important.

Better tracking & understanding

Siloing your customer data in different tools makes analyzing and tracking customer interactions difficult and time-consuming.

At the best of times, analyzing the success of your marketing strategy can be difficult but when your marketing tools don’t integrate with each other it is nearly impossible. By having synchronized dataflows between your marketing tools you’ll have a better idea of what customers are doing, and which campaigns are working best.

Save time

Manually entering data into a CRM or into your email marketing tool can be a time-consuming activity and a totally unnecessary one. In a properly integrated marketing stack, you shouldn’t have to undertake burdensome data cleansing, uploading, and segmentation. By hooking up each tool’s API and setting up various workflows you’ll be able to automate this!

Startups.com Martech Stack

At Startups.com our marketing strategy comprises of these channels:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Paid Social
  • Paid Search
  • Viral Marketing
  • Organic Social

So, based on these channels, we’ve selected the best in class tools and put them together in our integrated marketing stack.


What is this tool? Affiliate partnership management tool

What’s the Unique Selling Point? It has a marketplace of partners who can sign-up for your partner program.

Its place in the Stack Startups.com is a monthly subscription of $29 per month giving startups access to the best tools they need in order to grow. We set-up an affiliate program so startup communities and other partners can re-sell our subscription to their networks. This is an effective channel for growth as it requires limited resources for our own marketing team, and leaves other people to do the heavy lifting.

Within the stack, we chose Partnerstack as our preferred tool as it allows us to easily sign up partners through their marketplace as well as our own partners, plus you can manage and track your partner's activities from within the software.

Within the Stack, we have integrated Partnerstack with Hubspot, our CRM of choice (see below). Partners are creating new customers, so it’s important these customers are tracked and accounted for in Hubspot.

You’ll also need to hook up Partnerstack with your payment system, as Partners need to be remunerated for the customers they sign up. In our stack, we have Stripe as our payment processor.

Integration Partnerstack and Hubspot’s APIs connect up, so if you have a dev team this is an effective way to move data between the 2 tools. If you don’t have a technical team behind you, there is the option of using Zapier to connect the 2 tools.

Partnerstack integrates with Stripe, Chargify, Recurly, ChargeBee, Braintree and PayPal as payment providers, the integration is fairly straightforward (and necessary to set-up Partnerstack).

Check out Partnerstack here.

Facebook & Instagram Ads

What is this tool? Paid Social Advertising

What’s the Unique Selling Point? You can target and re-target specific demographics and customer personas.

Its place in the Stack As a channel for promoting and growing Startups.com customer base, our Facebook and Instagram are controlled through Facebook Business Manager. This is an effective marketing channel for promoting top-of-the-funnel brand awareness, where you can target specific demographics. It’s also a great way to re-target people who have been on your website, to get conversions further down your marketing funnel.

Integration You can quickly and easily connect your Facebook Ads account with Hubspot, which will pull through campaign results and allow you to attribute prospects that convert customers to certain Paid Social Campaigns.

Google AdWords

What is this tool? Paid Search Tool

What’s the Unique Selling Point? It allows you to target high-intent prospects based on certain keywords they are searching for.

Its place in the Stack Google Ads have proved an effective way to generate leads with high intent, as they have

Integration Like Facebook Business Manager you can hook your Google Ads account up to Hubspot, so all leads with the right attribution are passed into the CRM.


What is this tool? Social media post scheduling

What’s the Unique Selling Point? It’s able to automate the scheduling of your social posts across all your channels.

Its place in the Stack Keeping both prospects and customers engaged is important to keeping them aligned with your brand and mission, and adding value to them where possible. Ultimately this helps them with their buying decision and ends up in them sticking around for longer.

Hootsuite enables you to execute on building your organic social audience in an automated way. You can schedule your posts and watch as they boost your organic reach whilst you're busy growing your business!

Integration Hootsuite is one of the tools that doesn’t need to integrate with the CRM system, as there is no direct customer sign up from it. But it is important to track the success of your social posts and campaigns, so we integrate it with our reporting system, DataBox. There is an easy to implement API integration between the 2 tools.

It’s worth noting… if you’re a Startups.com Member you get 50% off Hootsuite! Check it here: https://www.startups.com/products/benefits/hootsuite


What is this tool? Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

What’s the Unique Selling Point? HubSpot has a whole suite of sales and marketing tools, meaning you can minimise the tools you use in the stack.

Its place in the Stack HubSpot is an all-in-one CRM and Marketing Automation tool. It’s got a whole plethora of features, from creating landing pages, to automating customer engagements, to tracking customer behaviours. It’s a super powerful tool that Startups.com uses extensively.

Integration The CRM is so central to the Stack, most of the tools feed their data into it. All inbound leads are automatically being fed into Hubspot, where the marketing automations kick-in.

It’s worth noting… if you’re a Startups.com Member you get 20-50% off Hubspot! Check it out here: https://www.startups.com/products/benefits/hubspot


What is this tool? Customer service tool

What’s the Unique Selling Point? One of the market leaders due to its multi-channel customer service capabilities and easy to navigate backend.

Its place in the Stack In this stack, Freshdesk is used as the customer service system. Customer data flows into Freshdesk when new customers are created, then customers can create tickets if they have queries of need support with any of the Startups.com offerings.

Integration Freshdesk integrates with Hubspot through Freshwork’s app integration marketplace, this enables you to see customer data across both platforms.

It’s worth noting… if you’re a Startups.com Member you get $10,000 free credit on Freshdesk! Check it here: https://www.startups.com/products/benefits/freshworks

Viral Loops

What is this tool? Viral and referral marketing tool

What’s the Unique Selling Point? It’s an out-of-the-box referral and viral marketing tool that is quick and easy to set-up.

Its place in the Stack Evangelical customers are the lifeblood of any good growth strategy. Hopefully, your customers love your brand and appreciate the value you’re adding to their lives. Many of these customers will already be talking about you to their friends creating organic viral loops, but if you really want to make the most of this it’s worth setting up a referral marketing infrastructure that incentivizes and tracks these interactions.

You can encourage customers to spread the word through some well-timed marketing emails via HubSpot, then using the Viral Loops infrastructure you can track and reward referrals.

Integration There is a native integration between Viral Loops and Hubspot, meaning you can easily pass data between the 2 tools. This enables you to track which customers are referring others and how much they’re being rewarded for it.

You can check out Viral Loops here.


What is this tool? Payment processing tool

What’s the Unique Selling Point? Plug and play payment processing tool.

Its place in the Stack Although not technically a marketing tool, and perhaps sits more in the Dev Stack, we thought it’d still be relevant to include as the endpoint of marketing is getting the payment from the customer! And this is what Stripe enables in an easy plug and play fashion.

Integration One of the main benefits of using Stripe as a payment platform is they have built out all the complicated payment processing infrastructure, meaning you can just plug it into your product or website nice and easily. You can integrate Stripe with HubSpot, but the integration is very limited in what information you can bring through into the CRM. So we just use the integration with Databox, so we can keep an eye on actual revenue stats in our reporting.

It’s worth noting… if you’re a Startups.com Member you get up to $10,000 free processing fees! Check it here: https://www.startups.com/products/benefits/stripe


What is this tool? Reporting dashboard tool

What’s the Unique Selling Point? It allows you to have a clear oversight of what you’re spending on your marketing and what your returns and results are.

Its place in the Stack Databox integrates with loads of different tools and is our go-to option for reporting. It allows you to pull together all your data across your various marketing activities to give you clear answers on what’s working (and what’s not!).

Integration Most of the top-of-the-funnel marketing activities are feeding into HubSpot and are then passed into Databox via the CRM. Databox integrates with a whole load of sales and marketing tools so it’s a great choice of platform to handle your marketing reporting.

You can check out Databox here.

How to set up your stack?

Channel considerations

Before running straight into implementing all your marketing tools you’re going to want to think about which marketing channels make up your go-to-marketing strategy.

A framework we use at Startups.com is the Bullseye Framework, which outlines the 19 different marketing “traction” channels you can choose from (these 19 channels form the outer ring of the bullseye). The process starts with hypothesizing which channels we believe have the potential to move the needle for our growth, selecting between 5-6 channels which make up our initial channel mix (the middle ring of the bullseye).

We regularly assess and reassess our strategy based on what channels are performing best and ultimately deciding on which ones make up our channel-mix. Once you have decided on your channel mix, you need to review which tools are going to be the most effective to enable you to grow...

Tool considerations

When considering which tools you want to use there are a host of things to consider, including:

  • Your budget, and therefore the price of the tools
  • The integration capabilities with other tools in your stack
  • Of course, the functionality of the tools you’re choosing

It can be a bit of a tricky job finding the right tools, but we have some of our favorite tools in our Startups Benefits packages. There are also some very good discounts available there, so it’s worth checking out.

We have a Growth Marketing Masterclass event on the last Thursday of every month that goes into more detail on how to put together a go-to-market strategy and how to build out your Martech Stack. If you’re interested click on the button below.

Use the code StartupsInvite to get 90% off!

See our Growth Marketing Masterclass.

About the Author

Tristan Gillen

Tristan is one of our lead Growth Marketers at Startups.com, he’s also the Co-Founder of a growth marketing agency for startups called Growth Division. He’s based in London and after running a startup in the UK and being involved in the startup scene in the city he identified a common challenge startups face in their early stages of growth. He saw startups failing to hit growth targets time and time again, as they failed to execute on rigorous growth experiments. So, he started Growth Division, to enable startups to quickly find channels to market through the use of expert growth marketers.

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