This is the 8th year we’re operating The Stackies. It is an awards plan that invites entrepreneurs to share a solitary slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinctive apps and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them working alongside one another.
I’d really encourage you to take part (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a excellent way to add to our community’s comprehending of how martech suits into the perform and movement of modern day marketing.
Nevertheless, even if you never share your stack outside the house the walls of your enterprise, illustrating it can be an unbelievably helpful workout to greater realize it — and be in a position to clarify it to other stakeholders.
So what’s the ideal way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are a lot of strategies, each and every bringing a distinct lens. Having reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies in excess of the a long time — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I have distilled 10 designs that I’ve found on their individual and in mixture with each other.
1. Vendor Classification Map
Typically applying the taxonomy from our promoting technology landscape, martech applications are organized into their merchandise groups and subcategories. It shows your stack by means of the lens of a seller market map and identifies the products you have chosen. This is a wonderful way to analyze your all round stack inventory and present the span of martech remedies.
Here’s an illustration from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Purchaser Journey Map
An additional typical model is to align your martech stack against different stage of the customer’s journey. Normally for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 phases, this sort of as Learn, Consider, Invest in, Onboard, and Mature.
This fantastic example from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the buyer journey horizontally and the seller categories employed vertically:
3. Back again-Stage vs. Entrance-Phase
An additional way of hunting at your stack is as a result of a theater metaphor: back again-stage and entrance-stage apps and platforms. Front-stage apps directly touch the shopper — e.g., world wide web experiences, email campaigns, social media engagement resources, marketing, and many others. Again-phase apps are utilized to provide inner stakeholders, these types of as analytics, scheduling, asset management, efficiency, and so forth.
This is an exquisite illustration from Purple Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back again-stage to front-phase categorization alongside the vertical entry and buyer journey stage together the horizontal axis:
4. Perform or Part-Dependent Map
When martech stacks can be really big, any one individual in the marketing and advertising office is not likely to have to understand all of the apps inside it. Different roles in just advertising and marketing will use unique tools. So a different beneficial way of mapping your martech stack is to team applications by the roles or features that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is beneficial to see the interrelation amongst applications, techniques, and results.
This example from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few major roles: website management, advertising automation, and content advertising and marketing:
5. Issue Answer/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is essential to an effective martech stack. One more excellent way to visually assess your stack is to show the platform(s) that are the gravitational heart(s) of your martech stack and which expert applications combine to each and every of them. It is an ecosystem look at of your stack.
This illustration from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry actually captures five distinctive dimensions, such as relative investment decision, compensated/acquired/owned answers, seller class — and identifies platforms, integrated expert applications, and stand-by yourself issue options:
6. Usage Map (Relative Time in Equipment)
Some martech apps are made use of continuously, as an integral component of marketing’s day-to-working day operations. Other apps, having said that, are more specialised and utilised fewer routinely. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are not worthwhile. They just have a time and spot for their objective. Figuring out heavily-utilized major resources vs. frivolously-applied instruments experts can be a further insightful way to have an understanding of the composition of your stack.
This instance from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps generally by their use scenario — planning, inventive, engagement, supplier channel, and measurement — but the height of the pine tree icons represents the relative time marketers expend interacting with every software:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
Though thinking about the sum of time that customers invest engaged with unique applications in your stack, it is an fascinating lens to take a look at how automated individuals instruments are. Which tools are made use of generally manually? Which types have considerable automations? This check out can be practical the two to understand the relationship between tools and advertising approach and functions. It can also support discover possibilities to automate.
Automation is the largest frontier in Significant Ops in my impression.
This instance from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech apps on two dimensions: various promoting capabilities and the diploma to which they are automated:
8. Pace Layering of Platforms and Apps
Above a 10 years ago, as tech stacks in standard — not just martech — ended up expanding fast, Gartner proposed a way to arrange them by “speed layer.” They recommended three layers: techniques of record, methods of differentiation, and programs of innovation.
Units of file should really be really stable and have a slow tempo of change. They are the platforms on which other program and companies rely. Programs of differentiation embody the processes and encounters that make your enterprise special. They adjust much more commonly, but are nevertheless reasonably steady. Units of innovation are additional experimental, the location where new capabilities can be made and piloted immediately.
One particular of the greatest Stackie entries was this a person from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped instruments alongside the infinite loop of purchaser journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s 3 rate levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Instruments In excess of Time
Martech stacks really don’t stand continue to. New instruments are added. Outdated equipment are changed. This is component of the all-natural evolution of a small business as it grows — and as the broader internet marketing and martech atmosphere proceeds to improve about it. It can be beneficial to look at your martech stack via the lens of its changing app stock in excess of time.
This case in point, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, displays a five-calendar year journey of a little monetary services enterprise:
10. Associated Capabilities Map
At the intersection of teams and instruments, capabilities are produced. Rather than looking at your stack by way of the lens of seller types, you can arrange a perspective about diverse abilities, these as marketplaces, user-generated articles, information syndication, qualitative and quantitative study, etc. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to display their adjacencies and associations with each other offers you a photograph of the ecosystem all over your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a wonderful example:
Other Ways to Map Your Stack
Of course, there are quite a few other strategies to visualize other proportions of your stack.
For instance, you may arrange it about aggregation systems within your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating data, workflow, knowledge, and governance throughout a lot of unique apps, facts sources, and customer touchpoints? Which applications are you making use of to vertically combine all those levels within just distinct domains, these as CRM?
Alternatively, you may possibly illustrate your stack to emphasize the degree of customization in various apps and platforms. They may possibly range of purely out-of-the-box commercial apps, to packaged products and solutions that have been custom-made or prolonged with your own code, to fully customized applications that are special to your company.
Each of these distinctive strategies can give you unique insights into the nature of your stack — and help you communicate them to stakeholders throughout your firm.
What does your martech stack glimpse like?
Reminder: Even if you don’t enter The Stackies on your own — although we surely hope you do — never ignore to indication up for the free of charge webinar on #MartechDay, Might 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.