Customized Technology Solutions

An Introduction to High-Intent Consumer Marketing

You’ve researched up-and-coming marketing trends, and within budget, your marketing seems to be hitting all the right points. You’re sending emails and direct mail, conducting your daily social media activities, attending tradeshows, writing quality content, advertising in the several places, and even noticing some ROI (phew, you’re really doing a lot!). It can feel like the marketing industry gets more and more convoluted every day, with increasingly more avenues and strategies to reach the specific audience(s) you hope to target. With all of these different tactics and shiny new programs, how do you know you’re actually getting to your key audience, one that wants what you have to offer, at the right time? Are you “giving the right people what they want”?

High-intent marketing does just this, in a focused, particular way. One where you’re not just shooting at a broad target, but aiming at the bullseye. You’re probably thinking, “that’s nice, but what exactly is intent marketing?” Don’t worry, we’ll explain.

High-Intent Marketing Explained

High-intent marketing targets a specified end user’s intent – not only what they need (or want), but when they’re ready for it. The most recognizable type of high-intent marketing is search marketing. Users and prospects are targeted based on what they’re searching for right now, and are hit with ads, messages, and other forms of marketing communication to meet their current needs. Again, high-intent marketing differs from simply targeting an audience in that it puts emphasis on the timing of needs. For example, maybe I (the customer) am searching for a bridesmaid dress to wear to a wedding. I’m looking for it now, but I wasn’t last month, and I probably won’t be next month (unless of course I’m “always the bridesmaid, never the bride”).

Prospects have an overload of media and advertising to sort through, so the timing and reactionary nature of your marketing is how you stop them in their tracks. If you’re not combining their demographic with their current desires, you’re losing them. Using high-intent data to strengthen your marketing strategy results in more pointed themes, more precise detail in consumer personas and journeys, and highly effective marketing content, call to actions, and keywords.

What Are Some High-Intent Markets?

If you’re still unsure of what markets would be labeled high-intent, here are a few to think through:

  • Recent college graduates

Ready (or not) to take on the world, college graduates are highly focused on improving their resumes, networking with friends and professionals, and ultimately, finding a job.

  • Expectant & new moms

Nervous and constantly searching for the newest and best newborn knowledge, expectant and new moms can’t stop googling pediatricians and childcare facilities.

  • Newlyweds

Young, middle-aged, or older, many newlyweds are looking for another way to intertwine their lives – buying a home.

  • New movers

This audience base is nothing but uneasy in a new territory. According to recent studies, 40 million people move every year and they’re all looking for a new salon, doctor, favorite restaurant, grocery store, drycleaner, and more. If this is where your marketing needs to focus, take a look at SmartMove, Strata’s robust, multi-channel, multi-touch, new mover marketing program that helps you find the perfect time and place to reach your target audience.

“This Seems Exhausting”

It doesn’t need to be as tough as it sounds to use high-intent marketing. Don’t think of it as an out-of-reach, expensive project. Instead look at it as a continuous system, and an ongoing learning process to get the best return on your investment. Yes, you may spend more time and a bit of money strategizing and acquiring data in the beginning, but you’ll spend less time and money targeting the wrong people, or just as bad, the right people at the wrong times.

What to Do Now?

Start with analyzing keywords associated with your website, and compare these keywords to those that come up offsite. Additionally, get high-intent data from CRM analytics, customer service communication and online company reviews, and social media analytics. The goal is to compile data that establishes your desired buyer’s journey, and more specifically, when they approach, get to, and leave each stage.

Once you feel you have a sufficient amount of data, don’t stop there. It’s important to separate the data into different buyer stages, which can have labels like the “consideration” stage, the “informational” stage, and the “buying” stage. Keywords of these stages often look like the following:

Consideration Stage – “best”, “how to”, “where can I”

Informational Stage – “cost of”, “reviews of” “what people say about”

Buying Stage – “buy”, “shipping”, “coupons for”, “[your company name]”

Marketing to customers when they get to these stages is the bread and butter of high-intent marketing. Add in great content, imagery, and offerings, and you’ve got a proactive customer base. Do you have a high-intent market that you’re looking to target with an Omnichannel campaign similar to SmartMove? Strata can facilitate conversions for your company with high-intent direct mail, digital ads, and emails. Contact us today to learn more.

Rule 5: Pick Tools That Enable Your Strategy – Not the Other Way Around

Welcome back to the final rule to our MarTech Series. Rule 5 highlights several tools that can help enable your strategy – including a few of Strata’s own solutions. Throughout this series we’ve looked at some tips and tricks that any marketing department can implement and we hope that you’ve taken away something that will positively impact your team.  

Integrating your marketing technology stack is key to building an efficient and effective marketing department. These tools should allow you to communicate consistently with customers across every channel and brand experience, and they should easily enable a small team to manage (and master) your marketing resources and customer communications.

If that sounds like a challenge for your marketing department, and not one they were hired to solve, we have the ideal solution for your business: At Strata, we develop easy-to-use, integrated marcom tech solutions to help clients streamline processes and content, overcome operational challenges, and take control of their brand.

MarCom On Demand

MarCom On Demand is a highly customizable and easy-to-implement marketing resource management tool that allows any organization to centrally manage brand resources and marketing workflows through one portal. That includes comprehensive asset management, process automation, content customization, and an intuitive architecture that allows you to bypass some of the headaches of MarTech stack management and put more time into building a winning marketing strategy.


MarCom On Demand is a highly customizable and easy-to-implement marketing resource management tool that allows any organization to centrally manage brand resources and marketing workflows through one portal. That includes comprehensive asset management, process automation, content customization, and an intuitive architecture that allows you to bypass some of the headaches of MarTech stack management and put more time into building a winning marketing strategy.

Custom Portals

When your challenges are specialized and unique, an off-the-shelf tool just won’t cut it. In these cases, we work closely with our clients, taking the time to fully understand their challenges, goals and needs, then craft a solution that’s custom-built from the ground up to suit their business—and help them increase ROI.


These results are based on responses from an online survey of 262 marketers, conducted in March 2020. Of the respondents to this year’s survey, 38% described their companies’ activities as B2B, 20% as B2C and 41% as Both (Figure 9). Respondents reported annual revenue as follows: greater than $100 million (11%); $51 to $100 million (6%); $25 to $50 million (3%); $10 to $25 million (10%); $1 million to $10 million (27%); and less than $1 million (42%) (Figure 10).

We hope you’ve found this series insightful and impactful, and that it’ll help you make future MarTech decisions but if you need a series refresher, click here to read the full report. And, as always, if you’re ready to see how we can help you strategize your MarTech stack, contact us today.

Rule 4: Design Your Stack to Support Omnichannel Marketing

Welcome back to our six-part MarTech2020: 5 Rules for Managing Your Technology and Strategy series. So far, we discussed the following: marketing technology stacks of today, the average MarTech stack used by companies annually, the importance of having your marketing team having the final say in deciding which tools will be included in the stack, and the most used MarTech tools. In this blog, we’ll be taking a look at “Rule 4: Design Your Stack to Support Omnichannel Marketing”.

One of the dangers of focusing too much on your MarTech stack is that so many of the tools only integrate with digital marketing. Not only does this push half of your marketing out of the picture, it can unintentionally pull your marketing strategy more and more toward digital-only marketing.

In a world where even many Millennials prefer direct mail to email, this is a mistake. Your MarTech must empower your entire marketing strategy — online and offline — not skew it to digital.

Yet only 59% of our respondents are using their tech stacks for both online and offline marketing this year, and that’s a concern (Figure 8). You must deliver a consistent brand experience across channels with communication that hits the same notes whether delivered in an email, mobile ad or postcard. By including offline channels as a part of your data-driven, digitally empowered marketing toolset, you can connect with today’s consumers on the level they expect.

Of the 59% who are making offline marketing a priority in their tech stacks, about half are using it for direct mail, flyers and other kinds of print marketing initiatives. Print is important to building connections with a community because it’s a channel your target audience can smell and feel. Those tactile qualities give your brand a more permanent place in their minds and set you apart from online-only brands.

Your MarTech stack can apply the same targeting and personalization to direct mail that it does to digital. For example, one respondent said they intend to use “Direct mail to be customized for specific demographics, skewing toward older consumers that may not use as much technology.” Another planned to use MarTech to enable “specific direct mail campaigns for auto sales and service.”

Some respondents saw a role for MarTech-empowered direct mail as part of their in-person marketing, planning to use MarTech to enable “direct mail marketing, networking groups, seminar attendance and tradeshows.” Another was planning a “digital experience with print using direct mail [that] will play an important part in many industries.”

Keep this in mind as you build your tech stack and make sure the tools you assemble enable all your marketing efforts. This is how you can ensure that your communication is consistent from one channel to another and that you are reaching each customer with their preferred channel.

Check back next week for the conclusion of our series and Rule 5, “Pick Tools That Enable Your Strategy – Not the Other Way Around,” or click here to read the full report now. And, if you’re ready to see how we can help you strategize your MarTech stack, contact us today.

Rule 3: Take Advantage of Technologies That Support More Than One Channel

Welcome to Rule 3 of our six-part MarTech2020: 5 Rules for Managing Your Technology and Strategy series! If this is your first time checking in on this series, in the past we’ve discussed the marketing tech stacks of today, the average MarTech stack used by companies, and the importance of having your marketing team having the final say in deciding which tools will be included in the stack.

Today, we’ll be touching on why it’s important to take advantage of technologies that support more than one channel.

The marketers who answered our survey put their tech stacks together in different ways, but some tools were chosen far less often than others. For example, fewer than a quarter of the respondents brought customer data platforms (CDPs) or other personalization technology into their core tech stacks. Project management, webinar tech and mobile apps were also chosen for fewer than 25% of the tech stacks discussed.

While those are all effective tools with advanced capabilities, they are designed to support more specialized, channel-specific activities. Those are exactly the kinds of technologies that efficient marketers leave to outside partners.

When we look at the systems that are included in most tech stacks, they are the tools that enable the most essential marketing activities and customer data management (Figure 7).

1. Email Marketing: 78%

Since the rise of marketing automation, email marketing has become the backbone of many customer-engagement and lead-nurturing strategies. Once you’ve chosen an email system, deploying them becomes both easy and essential to the marketing workflow. Many companies outsource some of their email marketing, but nearly every brand keeps parts of it inhouse to easily communicate with customers and optimize relationship management.

2. Social Media: 63%

Like email, social media is cheap to deploy (at least in financial terms, not necessarily in workhours) and essential to a flexible communication strategy. Even if a brand outsources regular posting and social engagement activities, they usually maintain access to the account and the systems running it. This allows you to make immediate adjustments and announcements without waiting on an agency to post them for you.

3. CRM: 58%

The CRM is the customer management system of record in many organizations. The marketing department may have an integrated marketing automation and CRM system, or simply work with the sales team’s CRM for a fully integrated, customer-facing communication team. Either way, this system usually remains in-house under the marketing department’s or sales team’s control.

4. Content Marketing: 52%

Only about half of marketers said they invest in a content management system. But for those who do in-house content marketing or other types of thought leadership, these tools are essential for reliably getting blog posts or other types of content onto the website when they need to be there. If the team works with external content creators, especially independent freelancers, a good content management system will help keep the entire engagement machine running smoothly.

5. Web Analytics: 46%

Fewer than half of our respondents consider website analytics to be a part of their martech stack, but that is likely because Google Analytics is a free tool. While GA does not deliver all the capabilities of a dedicated website analytics platform, it is usually enough for in-house analytics and can be supplemented by a more robust tool provided by an external partner. If the site is kept in-house, deeper analytics and data interpretation become necessary for any brand that relies on its website to play a big role in the sales pipeline.

6. Direct Mail: 45%

Direct mail emerged as a major focus for many of our respondents, but often the technical side is left in the hands of the agency, printer or external marketing firm handling the development and deployment of these campaigns. However, direct mail and all your offline marketing must operate at the same level of targeting and personalization as the rest of your marketing. It’s essential to have the tools to align this channel with your digital marketing channels, even if those tools are supplied by your mailing partners.

Check back next week for Rule 4, “Design Your Stack to Support Omnichannel Marketing,” as we near the end to our MarTech series or click here to read the full report now. And, if you’re ready to see how we can help you strategize your MarTech stack, contact us today.

Rule 2: Give Your Marketing Team Final Say Over Their Tools

Welcome back to MarTech2020: 5 Rules for Managing Your Technology and Strategy series! So far, we’ve taken a look at today’s marketing technology stack and the average MarTech used by companies annually. In this blog we’ll be taking a look at “Rule 2: Give the Marketing Team Final Say Over Their Tools”.

Think of the MarTech stack as an extension of the marketing team. The team can only operate efficiently if its stack is built to be efficient in the first place. We asked how many MarTech tools our respondents used each month, and the answers closely mirror the number of tools in their technology stacks (Figure 5). This shows disciplined investment in only the tools the marketing team really needs.

Efficient marketers are not wasting time and money to chase the latest technology; they’re building tech stacks to do exactly what they need to do in the way they need to do it. They recognize that there’s just not room for technologies they aren’t regularly using.

You can’t build that kind of marketing machine if another department is selecting the parts. When asked which departments are responsible for procurement and oversight of marketing technology, the most common responses were the marketing department and marketing operations teams (Figure 6).

The IT department (which sometimes controls a company’s entire technology investment) comes in as only the third most influential party and has a say in only 35% of the MarTech decisions. Keep in mind that this chart asked respondents to select all the departments that play a role, so IT only has a say in 35% of cases, which doesn’t mean its say outweighs the marketing department in any of those.

While it’s important to exercise discipline in building your tech stack, it’s equally important to know how to manage the tools you put into it. Marketers are not only building their own tech stacks but managing them as well. Taking on this responsibility is essential to your success as a marketing leader in 2020, providing yet another reason to keep your tech stack at a manageable size.

Check back next week for Rule 3, “Take Advantage of Technologies That Support More Than One Channel” or click here to read the full report now. And, if you’re ready to see how we can help you strategize your MarTech stack, contact us today.

Rule 1: Keep Your Tech Stack Clean

Welcome back to MarTech 2020: 5 Rules for Managing Your Technology and Strategy. In part one of our series, we saw that the average marketing technology stack may actually be smaller than we might think. In fact, 90% of the marketers we surveyed use fewer than 10 MarTech tools, while most use fewer than five (Figure 1), and two-thirds of our respondents spend less than $100,000 a year on marketing tech (Figure 2).

Comparing annual spending on MarTech with annual marketing budgets (Figure 3), we see that on average, companies spend more on the marketing than the technologies supporting it.

Marketing is still a mostly strategic department. In-house marketing staffs run small, with 80% of companies reporting their in-house marketing departments are no more than 10 people. For two-thirds of respondents, the marketing department is fewer than six people (Figure 4).

Marketing staffs run lean because, for many companies, partners handle a lot of the work. The inhouse team sets strategy and may handle email, social media and a few other channels that closely align with its core mission. But in many cases, a large portion of outbound communication — both digital and print — is handled by specialized agencies, printers or omnichannel marketing companies.

This means that marketers can streamline their MarTech stacks to a few important strategic hubs like marketing clouds and marketing automation systems, freeing up time for the in-house team to focus on how you’re going to reach your brand goals.

Every tool in your tech stack costs money, but it also costs time to install, customize, adjust and learn. The time investment is often a bigger cost factor than the dollar investment. Acquire the tools you need for the channels you use while focusing on building a tech stack that is both efficient and effective.

Check back next week for Rule 2, “Give the Marketing Team Final Say Over their Tools” or click here to read the full report now. And, if you’re ready to see how we can help you strategize your MarTech stack, contact us today.

A Brief Introduction

Marketing technology has done nothing but expand for the past decade. Now in 2020, Chief MarTech’s annual Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic lists more than 7,000 tools across 24 different categories. That is a staggering number of options that has as much potential to overwhelm the people using it as empower them. 

When is enough, enough? Where is the line between building a tech stack that enables your team to do great marketing and throwing a bunch of shiny things on top of each other until they just get in the way of clear strategy and effective multichannel marketing?

How do you integrate offline and online marketing to engage customers in the real world when much of the tech stack is focused only on digital marketing?

Those are the questions we wanted to answer in our MarTech 2020 survey (click here to see the full results). In the responses, we found a real marketing landscape that makes a lot more sense than the out-of-control MarTech super graphics we’ve all seen.

It turns out that most marketers value focus and efficiency in their technology stacks. Rather than building leaning towers of digital interdependency, the marketers who responded to this survey are opting for efficient, focused marketing tech stacks that enable them to market better not just online, but offline as well.

Today’s Marketing Tech Stack

Despite an explosion of new technologies, we found that marketing tech stacks remain small and focused. Marketers are avoiding too many technical investments and are more likely to use stacks that are lean:

1. Most marketers use fewer than five pieces of technology in their tech stacks, and 90% keep it under 10 total tools.

2. Marketers use tools that support multiple channels more than tools that are used for a single channel.

3. The marketing team controls these tools, not the IT department, with 68% of marketing departments responsible for MarTech procurement and oversight.

4. Marketers use the tools in their tech stacks monthly, and very few tools go unused.

5. Most companies use MarTech to support both digital and offline marketing.

The key to an effective marketing technology strategy is keeping your tech stack small, but robust enough to engage customers and prospects both online and offline. Efficient, nimble tech stacks allow marketers to focus on their customers and seamlessly engage them wherever they may be.

Based on this data, we’ve identified five rules that we’ll highlight over the next 6 weeks that marketers can follow to build technology systems that empower marketing departments to operate at peak efficiency, leaving more time for creativity.

Check back next week for more information on Rule 1, “Keep Your Tech Stack Lean” (or click here if you can’t wait). Or if you’re ready to see how we can help you strategize your MarTech stack, contact us today.

How to Know What’s Best for Your Business

Not much about the martech and marcomtech world is black and white. One area that can be especially gray? Facing the decision to purchase an off-the-shelf software solution or to invest in a custom-built system.

Gaining clarity begins with a careful evaluation of processes and workflows to identify major pain points the software needs to address. With a customized solution, software developers will collaborate with you to develop components tailored to any unique aspects of your business. Upfront costs are typically higher than out-of-the-box software (OTBS). In the long term, however, the advantages of a custom build can justify that higher price tag.

It’s also important to recognize when SaaS will do the job. Custom-built software solutions can certainly give you greater agility and business-specific capabilities, but sometimes OTBS makes more sense in terms of less involved implementation and lower initial costs. Keep in mind that you’ll still need to do comprehensive research and evaluation to select the OTBS solution that will best fit your needs.

The points below can serve as a guide to helping you navigate this gray area.

A Fully Custom System May Be Best When…

  1. You’re growing and have evolving needs.
    A growing organization or department will need a solution that’s scalable. Scalability refers to the capability of a system, network, or process to handle a growing amount of work, or its potential to grow to accommodate that growth. While OTBS can offer some level of adaptability via vendor updates and add-ons, a custom design in many cases can be more scalable to your specific changing needs. Developers can build in adaptability so that the software will be relevant and useful even as numbers of users and APIs grow and workflows evolve.
  2. You need seamless integration with existing systems.
    It’s true that many OTBS solutions support integration with commonly used platforms and applications (e.g., Salesforce, HubSpot, Adobe Creative Cloud). However, if you need a solution that will integrate with a more niche program – and this could be a database, an internal application, single sign-on functionality – it will most likely put you in the custom build category.
  3. Data transfer and compatibility is a concern.
    With the colossal increase in data from different sources, as well as structure (or lack there-of), any move to a packaged solution should be carefully thought out. Organizations must know beforehand the potential difficulty of moving their data to the new system, and outlining processes for aligning the two.
  4. Custom development is necessary to solve your most pressing problems.
    You’ve determined that for a martech solution to truly enable your team to work faster, smarter and provide measurable ROI, a custom solution is the only way to go. The gaps are just too wide between your problems and standard features of out-of-the-box software.
  5. OTBS solutions include too many features you wouldn’t use.
    Too many non-valuable features mean you’re only using a small portion of what you’re paying for, which is not the way to prove ROI. While the price point of some packaged solutions may be low enough to negate issues of feature frivolity, it is not always the case and should be calculated before making any final software purchase decisions.

The Takeaway:

The sky’s the limit as far as functionality and capability when it comes to a custom build, as long as you have the budget and time to devote to the project. Involve analysts to help evaluate your current systems and processes and advise on whether custom is the right choice. Keep in mind that speed to market must take into account research, requirements, development and implementation phases (almost certainly more than a month, more often two months or longer depending on the scope of the project).

On the Other Hand, SaaS Can Work When…

  1. You have a fairly common challenge to solve.
    If you need a solution to address a business challenge that most companies face, there’s likely a SaaS solution available. For example, a mid-size retail business seeking a platform to automate an email marketing program will have no problem finding a host of ready-made solutions.
  2. The need for control and ownership is not a priority.
    For some use cases, owning a custom system does not deliver enough value. The business need that the software will fill may have been identified by the business as short-term, and thus long-term ownership is not warranted.
  3. A custom build wouldn’t give you a competitive edge.
    It won’t help you provide a higher quality service or a lower-cost product. In other words, you can execute key business processes and create deliverables without the need for a system with custom-developed functionality.
  4. An off-the-shelf product comes acceptably close to solving your issues.
    You may have a wish list of custom features that will enable a platform to “do it all.” But consider whether those features truly justify a custom build. These gray areas can be hard to judge, but typically, if an out-of-the-box option solves at least 90% of your process issues, it makes sense to forego a custom build. This philosophy applies only if acceptable workarounds exist for the areas the solution doesn’t address. (This point is basically the inverse of number 4 above.)

The Takeaway:

If you have a fairly broad need, you’re likely to find a robust SaaS solution that offers a wide range of functionality. OTBS also tend to evolve over time as they undergo vendor updates to better serve a wide client base – and the allure of receiving new features can definitely drive satisfaction. But if you have a very specific need in terms of processes or deliverables, keep in mind that OTBS software may fall short of expectations.

Making the decision to go custom or out of the box is just the beginning when it comes to selecting and implementing marketing-driven software. For more than 20 years, clients have turned to Strata Company for both custom development and SaaS solutions that deliver optimal value and improve speed and efficiency of business processes.

How to Ensure Optimal ROI for a Marketing Technology Investment

Online media outlet Martech Advisor recently published Strata Company’s unique perspective on ways to strengthen martech ROI. Martech Advisor provides information on products, vendors and industry developments to help marketing and sales professionals research software solutions.

As the pressures mounts for marketing professionals to demonstrate the value their department adds to the bottom line, tying positive ROI to martech investments essential. The article, written by Strata President Jeff Sammak, discusses how marketing leaders can avoid choosing martech solutions that may have all the “latest and greatest” features – but strike out when it comes to meeting their organization’s true needs, thus undermining ROI.

Whether an organization is interested in an off-the-shelf product or a custom-built platform, Sammak advises a strategic approach to martech selection that includes:

  1. Defining the problem
  2. Assessing both measurable and soft benefits
  3. Carefully analyzing usage potential of all features
  4. Ensuring user buy-in through comprehensive training
  5. Taking a long-term view of technology investments

Read the full article, 5 Ways to Ensure Your Martech Platform Delivers Optimal ROI, for further information.

Strata Company, a marketing, communications and technology firm based in Plymouth Meeting, PA, has collaborated with clients to develop customized technology solutions for more than 20 years. We also provide user-friendly, customizable SaaS solutions that deliver high adoption rates and rapid return on marketing investment, Check out our client success stories, or contact us today to discuss your goals and challenges.