This is the 8th year we’re working The Stackies. It is an awards plan that invitations marketers to share a single slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinctive apps and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them working together.
I’d persuade you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It is a superb way to add to our community’s knowing of how martech suits into the perform and movement of modern day marketing and advertising.
Nevertheless, even if you hardly ever share your stack outside the walls of your firm, illustrating it can be an amazingly helpful workout to better fully grasp it — and be able to reveal it to other stakeholders.
So what is the most effective way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are numerous methods, every single bringing a different lens. Acquiring reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies above the a long time — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I have distilled 10 styles that I have observed on their very own and in combination with each other.
1. Seller Group Map
Normally utilizing the taxonomy from our advertising and marketing technological innovation landscape, martech applications are arranged into their product categories and subcategories. It exhibits your stack by means of the lens of a vendor marketplace map and identifies the goods you’ve selected. This is a excellent way to look at your overall stack stock and demonstrate the span of martech alternatives.
Here’s an case in point from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Consumer Journey Map
A different widespread product is to align your martech stack in opposition to unique phase of the customer’s journey. Generally for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 phases, these as Find, Consider, Obtain, Onboard, and Develop.
This wonderful case in point from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the shopper journey horizontally and the seller types applied vertically:
3. Back again-Phase vs. Front-Phase
Yet another way of wanting at your stack is by means of a theater metaphor: back-phase and entrance-phase applications and platforms. Front-stage apps right touch the purchaser — e.g., web encounters, e-mail campaigns, social media engagement instruments, promotion, and so on. Back-phase applications are utilised to serve interior stakeholders, these as analytics, arranging, asset administration, efficiency, etcetera.
This is an tasteful example from Pink Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with again-phase to entrance-phase categorization together the vertical entry and purchaser journey stage along the horizontal axis:
4. Functionality or Function-Primarily based Map
Whilst martech stacks can be very significant, any one particular man or woman in the advertising and marketing division is not likely to have to understand all of the apps in it. Different roles within just advertising will use distinctive resources. So a further beneficial way of mapping your martech stack is to team applications by the roles or functions that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is valuable to see the interrelation involving applications, expertise, and results.
This instance from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few key roles: world wide web administration, promoting automation, and material marketing:
5. Stage Alternative/Platform Ecosystem Map
Integration is vital to an powerful martech stack. One more great way to visually review your stack is to demonstrate the system(s) that are the gravitational middle(s) of your martech stack and which specialist apps integrate to every single of them. It’s an ecosystem perspective of your stack.
This instance from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry truly captures five diverse dimensions, which includes relative investment, paid/attained/owned remedies, seller category — and identifies platforms, built-in specialist apps, and stand-alone point answers:
6. Use Map (Relative Time in Resources)
Some martech applications are utilized frequently, as an integral component of marketing’s day-to-day functions. Other applications, on the other hand, are additional specialized and made use of a lot less routinely. This does not signify they are not worthwhile. They just have a time and spot for their reason. Pinpointing seriously-employed key instruments vs. evenly-made use of instruments specialists can be a further insightful way to understand the composition of your stack.
This instance from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps mainly by their use circumstance — planning, imaginative, engagement, dealer channel, and measurement — but the top of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time entrepreneurs spend interacting with just about every instrument:
7. Relative Diploma of Automation
Although contemplating the sum of time that users spend engaged with unique resources in your stack, it’s an attention-grabbing lens to look at how automated those people applications are. Which instruments are employed primarily manually? Which ones have major automations? This see can be valuable each to realize the partnership involving resources and marketing and advertising system and operations. It can also assistance recognize alternatives to automate.
Automation is the largest frontier in Large Ops in my feeling.
This instance from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech apps on two proportions: different advertising capabilities and the degree to which they are automatic:
8. Speed Layering of Platforms and Apps
Around a ten years in the past, as tech stacks in general — not just martech — had been increasing promptly, Gartner proposed a way to organize them by “rate layer.” They recommended a few levels: programs of document, units of differentiation, and devices of innovation.
Systems of file ought to be quite secure and have a slow tempo of change. They are the platforms upon which other application and solutions rely. Programs of differentiation embody the processes and encounters that make your organization special. They improve extra routinely, but are nonetheless relatively secure. Methods of innovation are a lot more experimental, the place where new capabilities can be formulated and piloted immediately.
One particular of the finest Stackie entries was this just one from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped applications together the infinite loop of customer journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s 3 speed levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Resources About Time
Martech stacks don’t stand nevertheless. New equipment are additional. Old tools are changed. This is section of the all-natural evolution of a enterprise as it grows — and as the broader marketing and martech environment carries on to transform close to it. It can be practical to examine your martech stack by means of the lens of its modifying app inventory in excess of time.
This illustration, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, exhibits a five-yr journey of a compact fiscal solutions small business:
10. Relevant Abilities Map
At the intersection of teams and equipment, capabilities are formulated. Instead than looking at your stack by means of the lens of seller categories, you can organize a see all around diverse abilities, this kind of as marketplaces, person-produced information, material syndication, qualitative and quantitative research, etcetera. Mapping these abilities in clusters, to present their adjacencies and relationships with every other offers you a photo of the ecosystem close to your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a great example:
Other Strategies to Map Your Stack
Of system, there are several other approaches to visualize other proportions of your stack.
For occasion, you may well manage it around aggregation systems in your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating details, workflow, experience, and governance throughout quite a few diverse apps, knowledge resources, and customer touchpoints? Which tools are you making use of to vertically combine those people levels inside specific domains, these types of as CRM?
Alternatively, you may illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization within unique applications and platforms. They could range of purely out-of-the-box business apps, to packaged merchandise that have been personalized or extended with your individual code, to absolutely tailor made applications that are special to your enterprise.
Every of these distinct approaches can give you various insights into the mother nature of your stack — and assistance you talk them to stakeholders across your business.
What does your martech stack look like?
Reminder: Even if you really don’t enter The Stackies yourself — while we unquestionably hope you do — really do not fail to remember to signal up for the no cost webinar on #MartechDay, May 3. We’ll be unveiling the new 2022 martech landscape, releasing a Point out of Martech report, and celebrating the entrants and winners of this year’s Stackie Awards.