This is the 8th 12 months we’re managing The Stackies. It is an awards method that invites entrepreneurs to share a single slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinctive applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing the job jointly.
I’d motivate you to take part (deadline for entries April 29). It is a great way to add to our community’s knowledge of how martech fits into the operate and move of modern day marketing.
Having said that, even if you hardly ever share your stack outside the walls of your corporation, illustrating it can be an incredibly helpful exercise to much better realize it — and be capable to reveal it to other stakeholders.
So what’s the most effective way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are numerous approaches, each individual bringing a different lens. Owning reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies more than the many years — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I’ve distilled 10 designs that I’ve witnessed on their have and in combination collectively.
1. Seller Category Map
Typically employing the taxonomy from our marketing technological innovation landscape, martech applications are structured into their products groups and subcategories. It demonstrates your stack by the lens of a vendor industry map and identifies the solutions you’ve selected. This is a good way to study your total stack inventory and clearly show the span of martech options.
Here’s an case in point from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Consumer Journey Map
One more popular design is to align your martech stack against unique stage of the customer’s journey. Usually for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 levels, these as Discover, Think about, Invest in, Onboard, and Improve.
This fantastic case in point from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the shopper journey horizontally and the seller categories utilized vertically:
3. Back-Stage vs. Entrance-Phase
Another way of searching at your stack is through a theater metaphor: back again-phase and front-phase applications and platforms. Entrance-phase apps immediately touch the purchaser — e.g., internet activities, e-mail strategies, social media engagement resources, promotion, and many others. Back-stage applications are employed to provide interior stakeholders, these types of as analytics, setting up, asset administration, productivity, and so forth.
This is an elegant case in point from Pink Wing Footwear and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back again-stage to front-phase categorization alongside the vertical entry and purchaser journey stage along the horizontal axis:
4. Function or Part-Primarily based Map
When martech stacks can be quite significant, any one individual in the marketing and advertising division is unlikely to have to find out all of the apps inside of it. Diverse roles within promoting will use various resources. So yet another useful way of mapping your martech stack is to group applications by the roles or features that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is useful to see the interrelation involving apps, techniques, and results.
This example from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few main roles: website management, advertising and marketing automation, and content material advertising and marketing:
5. Position Answer/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is very important to an powerful martech stack. An additional excellent way to visually assess your stack is to demonstrate the platform(s) that are the gravitational middle(s) of your martech stack and which professional apps combine to each individual of them. It is an ecosystem watch of your stack.
This instance from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry basically captures 5 distinctive dimensions, which includes relative financial investment, paid out/attained/owned remedies, vendor group — and identifies platforms, integrated specialist apps, and stand-by yourself place answers:
6. Usage Map (Relative Time in Applications)
Some martech apps are used constantly, as an integral portion of marketing’s day-to-day operations. Other apps, even so, are a lot more specialised and made use of less frequently. This doesn’t suggest they’re not important. They just have a time and area for their goal. Identifying intensely-employed key instruments vs. flippantly-used instruments experts can be a further insightful way to fully grasp the composition of your stack.
This instance from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps primarily by their use scenario — planning, inventive, engagement, dealer channel, and measurement — but the height of the pine tree icons represents the relative time marketers spend interacting with every single tool:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
Whilst considering the total of time that customers spend engaged with unique tools in your stack, it’s an intriguing lens to take a look at how automatic these resources are. Which tools are utilized largely manually? Which kinds have substantial automations? This perspective can be helpful both equally to realize the partnership amongst instruments and promoting procedure and functions. It can also aid establish options to automate.
Automation is the biggest frontier in Big Ops in my impression.
This case in point from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two proportions: distinct internet marketing capabilities and the diploma to which they are automated:
8. Rate Layering of Platforms and Applications
Around a decade ago, as tech stacks in normal — not just martech — have been expanding promptly, Gartner proposed a way to organize them by “pace layer.” They suggested a few layers: devices of report, devices of differentiation, and devices of innovation.
Units of report should really be extremely stable and have a sluggish tempo of alter. They’re the platforms on which other program and services rely. Systems of differentiation embody the procedures and ordeals that make your business special. They improve a lot more often, but are still fairly steady. Units of innovation are far more experimental, the spot exactly where new abilities can be formulated and piloted promptly.
Just one of the greatest Stackie entries was this 1 from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped equipment along the infinite loop of buyer journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s three tempo levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Tools More than Time
Martech stacks really don’t stand even now. New applications are added. Outdated equipment are changed. This is component of the natural evolution of a business enterprise as it grows — and as the broader marketing and advertising and martech surroundings continues to transform all over it. It can be helpful to analyze your martech stack as a result of the lens of its switching app inventory above time.
This case in point, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, displays a 5-year journey of a small money products and services company:
10. Associated Abilities Map
At the intersection of groups and tools, abilities are formulated. Instead than looking at your stack by the lens of seller categories, you can organize a perspective all-around unique capabilities, these kinds of as marketplaces, consumer-produced content, information syndication, qualitative and quantitative investigation, and so on. Mapping these abilities in clusters, to clearly show their adjacencies and interactions with every single other offers you a photograph of the ecosystem close to your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a marvelous illustration:
Other Ways to Map Your Stack
Of program, there are numerous other techniques to visualize other proportions of your stack.
For instance, you may arrange it around aggregation technologies inside of your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating data, workflow, experience, and governance across a lot of distinct applications, facts sources, and purchaser touchpoints? Which resources are you making use of to vertically integrate those people layers within just certain domains, such as CRM?
Alternatively, you could possibly illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization inside distinctive apps and platforms. They might array of purely out-of-the-box business applications, to packaged items that have been custom made or prolonged with your possess code, to totally tailor made applications that are exclusive to your business enterprise.
Just about every of these diverse approaches can give you diverse insights into the nature of your stack — and help you communicate them to stakeholders throughout your firm.
What does your martech stack search like?
Reminder: Even if you really don’t enter The Stackies oneself — even though we surely hope you do — really do not fail to remember to signal up for the cost-free webinar on #MartechDay, Could 3. We’ll be unveiling the new 2022 martech landscape, releasing a State of Martech report, and celebrating the entrants and winners of this year’s Stackie Awards.