This is the 8th calendar year we’re running The Stackies. It’s an awards application that invites marketers to share a single slide illustrating their martech stack — the different apps and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing work together.
I’d encourage you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a wonderful way to lead to our community’s knowing of how martech matches into the operate and stream of contemporary promoting.
Nevertheless, even if you never share your stack outdoors the partitions of your company, illustrating it can be an unbelievably valuable work out to greater fully grasp it — and be in a position to demonstrate it to other stakeholders.
So what’s the very best way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are lots of approaches, each and every bringing a various lens. Obtaining reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies over the several years — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I’ve distilled 10 styles that I’ve found on their own and in blend alongside one another.
1. Vendor Group Map
Generally making use of the taxonomy from our promoting technology landscape, martech applications are arranged into their solution classes and subcategories. It displays your stack by means of the lens of a vendor market map and identifies the solutions you have selected. This is a great way to look at your total stack stock and show the span of martech answers.
Here’s an case in point from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Client Journey Map
A further widespread design is to align your martech stack from different stage of the customer’s journey. Typically for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 phases, such as Uncover, Think about, Invest in, Onboard, and Grow.
This fantastic example from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the buyer journey horizontally and the vendor types utilized vertically:
3. Back-Phase vs. Front-Stage
One more way of searching at your stack is through a theater metaphor: back again-stage and entrance-phase applications and platforms. Entrance-stage apps straight contact the customer — e.g., world-wide-web ordeals, electronic mail strategies, social media engagement equipment, promoting, etcetera. Again-phase applications are applied to serve inner stakeholders, these kinds of as analytics, preparing, asset management, productivity, etc.
This is an sophisticated instance from Red Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back-phase to entrance-phase categorization along the vertical obtain and buyer journey phase alongside the horizontal axis:
4. Function or Role-Based mostly Map
When martech stacks can be rather massive, any 1 man or woman in the promoting division is not likely to have to understand all of the apps inside it. Various roles inside marketing and advertising will use distinct equipment. So yet another helpful way of mapping your martech stack is to team applications by the roles or capabilities that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is useful to see the interrelation amongst applications, techniques, and outcomes.
This instance from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates three key roles: website management, marketing and advertising automation, and content material advertising and marketing:
5. Issue Alternative/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is very important to an helpful martech stack. Yet another great way to visually examine your stack is to present the system(s) that are the gravitational middle(s) of your martech stack and which professional apps combine to each of them. It’s an ecosystem view of your stack.
This instance from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry basically captures five distinctive proportions, which include relative investment, compensated/attained/owned options, seller category — and identifies platforms, built-in expert apps, and stand-on your own issue methods:
6. Usage Map (Relative Time in Equipment)
Some martech applications are utilized constantly, as an integral portion of marketing’s working day-to-working day operations. Other applications, having said that, are much more specialised and used significantly less regularly. This does not imply they’re not valuable. They just have a time and position for their intent. Identifying intensely-made use of main equipment vs. evenly-made use of equipment experts can be one more insightful way to have an understanding of the composition of your stack.
This illustration from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps mainly by their use situation — planning, resourceful, engagement, dealer channel, and measurement — but the height of the pine tree icons represents the relative time entrepreneurs expend interacting with every single software:
7. Relative Diploma of Automation
When looking at the amount of time that customers expend engaged with different equipment in your stack, it is an fascinating lens to examine how automatic those instruments are. Which tools are made use of largely manually? Which ones have considerable automations? This perspective can be practical the two to have an understanding of the marriage amongst tools and advertising system and operations. It can also aid discover possibilities to automate.
Automation is the greatest frontier in Significant Ops in my feeling.
This case in point from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two proportions: distinct promoting abilities and the diploma to which they are automatic:
8. Pace Layering of Platforms and Applications
About a decade back, as tech stacks in normal — not just martech — were being growing swiftly, Gartner proposed a way to manage them by “speed layer.” They prompt 3 layers: programs of record, methods of differentiation, and methods of innovation.
Programs of report should really be pretty secure and have a slow pace of change. They are the platforms upon which other application and companies rely. Techniques of differentiation embody the procedures and ordeals that make your company one of a kind. They transform additional often, but are nevertheless fairly stable. Methods of innovation are additional experimental, the location exactly where new capabilities can be produced and piloted immediately.
Just one of the most effective Stackie entries was this one particular from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped equipment alongside the infinite loop of consumer journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s a few pace levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Tools About Time
Martech stacks never stand still. New instruments are included. Aged resources are replaced. This is portion of the organic evolution of a enterprise as it grows — and as the broader internet marketing and martech setting carries on to change about it. It can be practical to analyze your martech stack through the lens of its altering application inventory above time.
This example, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, exhibits a 5-12 months journey of a little fiscal companies small business:
10. Connected Abilities Map
At the intersection of teams and equipment, abilities are developed. Relatively than on the lookout at your stack via the lens of vendor categories, you can organize a look at close to unique capabilities, these as marketplaces, person-produced content, information syndication, qualitative and quantitative investigation, and so on. Mapping these abilities in clusters, to show their adjacencies and relationships with just about every other offers you a photo of the ecosystem around your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a great example:
Other Methods to Map Your Stack
Of program, there are numerous other ways to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For occasion, you may manage it all-around aggregation technologies inside your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating knowledge, workflow, practical experience, and governance across lots of different apps, information sources, and shopper touchpoints? Which instruments are you utilizing to vertically combine these levels within just specific domains, these kinds of as CRM?
Alternatively, you could illustrate your stack to emphasize the degree of customization in distinctive applications and platforms. They could possibly array of purely out-of-the-box professional applications, to packaged goods that have been tailored or prolonged with your possess code, to fully customized applications that are exceptional to your organization.
Each of these distinct approaches can give you various insights into the mother nature of your stack — and support you converse them to stakeholders throughout your corporation.
What does your martech stack glance like?
Reminder: Even if you never enter The Stackies yourself — although we certainly hope you do — never neglect to indication up for the free of charge webinar on #MartechDay, May well 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.