Centralizing your Martech stack? Best-of-Breed vs Integrated Approaches
By Toppan Merrill
1 min read | Industry Insights Insights Home

CCS Ebook Blog

Today, 50% of enterprise technology investment outside of IT is estimated to come from marketing. Marketing’s role as a technology buyer and integrator has become more important than ever. Channels are faster and more diverse, teams need to manage and respond to greater volumes of data, dialogue and documents, and customers are demanding more value for their attention. In this environment, software is no longer just the business infrastructure that stores leads or triggers emails; technology has become a driving force behind strategy, content creation, brand identity and creativity. Implementing the wrong technology can compound existing problems for workflow-challenged teams.

With 91% of marketers reporting to Ascend2 that they don't have access to a complete, fully utilized technology stack, one must ask the question: Why are businesses consistently underutilizing their martech stack?

It is essential for businesses to fully understand and utilize their marketing technologies to realize their full potential toward adding value to the business. To assist marketing teams with determining ways to utilize their martech stack better, let's explore two different solutions to solve for centralization.

Choosing between two different centralization approaches —best of breed versus integrated — is similar to planning a vacation. Do you prefer packaged tours (best of breed) or a self-planned itinerary (integrated)?

Pursuing a best-of-breed approach

In the late 1990s, the best-of-breed centralization strategy led the way, until the internet boom came along, paving the way for integrated suites like the Adobe, Salesforce, or Oracle Marketing Clouds. Best of breed is the strategy of choosing a single product (business applications, system, software) that best meets all of your business needs.

  • Best-of-breed pros
    • Meets all of your defined requirements
    • Helps business managers identify previously unrealized optimizations that are widely accepted by other plans
    • Allows for easier updates since the system is geared toward a specific purpose
    • Allows for section updates, including security, patches, upgrades, and additional building blocks, which can roll out without affecting other systems on different release cycles
    • Enables your plan to respond to changes in the market quickly
    • Shorter implementation time given the system's relatively small size
  • Best-of-breed cons
    • Doesn't typically integrate with other products in its environment, or with other systems
    • Sharing data across different systems can be difficult
    • The required management of multi-licensing agreements may eat into your resources
    • Vendors of these solutions are usually small organizations that may not be viable in the long term or may not fully understand the complex requirements of medium, large, or enterprise businesses
    • Can't provide the user's inherent expectation for a common look and feel

Pursing an integrated approach

With an integrated approach to centralization, businesses opt for multiple applications running through a common database and a consistent user interface to give all business-process modules a familiar look and feel.

  • Integrated pros
    • Easier overall integration of your business system based on a single vendor's set-up workflow
    • Straightforward to navigate and administer with a common user interface that flows throughout the suite of products
    • Easier for IT departments to leverage an integrated system, with its more consistent architecture approach
    • Reduced risk by working with only one vendor
    • Encourages the maintenance of longer-term relationships with vendors, which simplifies system sourcing
    • Fewer multi-licensing costs required since vendors often offer volume purchasing
  • Integrated cons
    • You need to adapt your business processes for the missing elements or live with the unavailability of features
    • Volume purchasing (enterprise licensing) leaves you with access to products you may not use or take advantage of
    • Adoption and implementation can be more complex 
    • Can create a "vendor lock-in" feeling
    • Product and feature innovations are dependent on the vendor's pace, which may not align with your business's growing needs
    • More vulnerable to a security breach because flaws or issues are often common across the entire solution

Whether centralizing similar functions or your entire martech stack, centralization helps solve data, compliance and consistency issues by providing health plans with a single source of truth. To learn more about leveraging the power of centralization and automation to improve productivity, deliver consistent messaging and increase revenue by leveraging the power of centralization and automation, download our new eBook today.

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Toppan Merrill


Toppan Merrill, a leader in financial printing and communication solutions, is part of the Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., the world's leading printing group, headquartered in Tokyo with approximately US$14 billion in annual sales. Toppan Merrill has been a pioneer and trusted partner to the financial, legal and corporate communities for five decades, providing secure, innovative solutions to complex content and communications requirements. Through proactive partnerships, unparalleled expertise, continuous innovation and unmatched service, Toppan Merrill delivers a hassle-free experience for mission-critical content for capital markets transactions, financial reporting and regulatory disclosure filings, and marketing and communications solutions for regulated and non-regulated industries. With global expertise in major capital markets, Toppan Merrill delivers unmatched service around the world.


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