Here at Percolate, we’re well-documented fans of the best-of-breed martech approach (we even wrote a book about it). There are a lot of reasons we believe best-of-breed is the right choice for most marketing organizations, but if we had to choose just 3? Integrations, business needs, and specialization.

Integrations are increasingly vital to martech success. Without robust integrations between different systems, a martech stack is essentially just a collection of silos. This might make single-vendor martech stack seem like a slam-dunk – after all, if all the components are from the same company, then they have to integrate well with each other, right?

Not necessarily. A lot of all-in-one software suites weren’t actually built together – many are built through acquisition. Two systems might have the same logo on the box, but if they weren’t actually developed in the same company they may have completely different code bases. 

With best of breed martech stacks, you know your tools have different code bases – but if you choose solutions with strong APIs, that’s not a problem. The APIs can enable the different parts of your martech stack to work smoothly together. And if a solution doesn’t have the API capabilities you need? In a best of breed stack, you’re free to replace it with one that does. In a single-vendor solution, you’re limited to whatever integrations do or don’t exist between the vendor’s offerings.

Business needs are different for every organization. Sure, pretty much every business has the same overall goals – increase customers and revenue – but the path to get there can vary by market and industry. The perfect martech stack for one marketing organization might not be right for another.

If you’re using an all-in-one suite, then you don’t have a lot of options here. Maybe one part of the suite is a great choice for you, but another part isn’t a good fit at all. In that situation, you’re likely to just have to make it work. In an single-vendor tech stack approach,  you take the tool that your vendor offers, regardless of whether it’s really the best fit for your business. 

With a best-of-breed approach, however, you can select each part of your stack individually. You aren’t limited by what’s available from a particular vendor, so you can evaluate and choose each part of your stack based on your organization’s unique criteria. 

Specialization is sometimes underappreciated as a solution provider strength, but it’s in martech that it can really shine. The martech field is continually expanding in both scope and complexity (the latest count was roughly 7000 providers in the space). It’s a lot for anyone looking to keep up with all the latest trends and tools available to them as marketers. Now imagine trying to keep up with all that functionality as a provider.

Here, the limitation isn’t on the marketer – it’s on the all-in-one suite vendor. There’s just so much to martech these days, even the most high-powered tech company would be hard pressed to deliver a top-shelf product in every category. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. 

And of course, it’s not as simple as just “delivering a product” and calling it a day. Markets and technology are both changing fast, and today’s cutting-edge innovation is tomorrow’s table stakes. To stay at the top of their category, technology providers must keep their offering constantly updated. This introduces yet another strain on all-in-one martech vendors trying to compete in all categories. 

The thing about those 7000 providers, however, is that many of them only do one thing, or a set of things within similar categories. That allows those martech companies to focus on continuously delivering an excellent product within their area of focus, instead of spreading their energy and resources trying to provide a product for everything. As the name implies, a best-of-breed martech stack lets you assemble the best from each category, to build the martech stack that’s really right for you.

This does mean that putting together a best-of-breed martech stack is more work than just signing the dotted line with a single vendor. Down the line, though, when your team is empowered by the right tech with the right capabilities? That extra time investment is usually well worth it.