This is the 8th yr we’re running The Stackies. It is an awards program that invitations marketers to share a single slide illustrating their martech stack — the unique applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing work alongside one another.
I’d encourage you to take part (deadline for entries April 29). It is a wonderful way to lead to our community’s comprehending of how martech fits into the perform and flow of present day marketing and advertising.
However, even if you under no circumstances share your stack exterior the partitions of your business, illustrating it can be an extremely practical workout to superior have an understanding of it — and be ready to demonstrate it to other stakeholders.
So what’s the finest way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are lots of ways, each individual bringing a distinct lens. Possessing reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies over the yrs — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I have distilled 10 styles that I’ve found on their very own and in combination jointly.
1. Seller Class Map
Frequently making use of the taxonomy from our advertising know-how landscape, martech applications are organized into their product classes and subcategories. It shows your stack as a result of the lens of a seller market map and identifies the merchandise you’ve selected. This is a fantastic way to analyze your over-all stack inventory and present the span of martech solutions.
Here’s an example from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Shopper Journey Map
Yet another popular model is to align your martech stack against diverse stage of the customer’s journey. Commonly for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 stages, these kinds of as Uncover, Look at, Invest in, Onboard, and Improve.
This terrific case in point from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the purchaser journey horizontally and the seller groups applied vertically:
3. Back again-Phase vs. Front-Phase
One more way of wanting at your stack is as a result of a theater metaphor: again-stage and front-stage applications and platforms. Entrance-stage apps directly touch the shopper — e.g., net activities, e-mail strategies, social media engagement resources, advertising and marketing, etc. Again-phase applications are made use of to provide internal stakeholders, these types of as analytics, arranging, asset management, productivity, etc.
This is an elegant illustration from Crimson Wing Footwear and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back again-phase to front-stage categorization alongside the vertical accessibility and shopper journey stage along the horizontal axis:
4. Purpose or Position-Centered Map
When martech stacks can be fairly big, any one particular person in the promoting office is unlikely to have to understand all of the applications inside it. Diverse roles inside of marketing and advertising will use unique instruments. So a different handy way of mapping your martech stack is to team apps by the roles or capabilities that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is practical to see the interrelation amongst apps, abilities, and results.
This instance from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few key roles: world wide web management, marketing automation, and content marketing and advertising:
5. Issue Option/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is critical to an powerful martech stack. A further excellent way to visually review your stack is to present the platform(s) that are the gravitational centre(s) of your martech stack and which expert applications combine to just about every of them. It’s an ecosystem check out of your stack.
This example from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry really captures five different proportions, such as relative investment decision, compensated/gained/owned options, vendor classification — and identifies platforms, built-in expert apps, and stand-alone place options:
6. Use Map (Relative Time in Instruments)
Some martech applications are utilized constantly, as an integral element of marketing’s day-to-working day operations. Other apps, on the other hand, are additional specialized and employed considerably less regularly. This doesn’t indicate they are not useful. They just have a time and area for their intent. Identifying greatly-made use of main instruments vs. frivolously-utilized resources professionals can be an additional insightful way to have an understanding of the composition of your stack.
This case in point from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster applications generally by their use situation — planning, innovative, engagement, seller channel, and measurement — but the peak of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time marketers commit interacting with every device:
7. Relative Diploma of Automation
Whilst contemplating the volume of time that consumers spend engaged with different applications in your stack, it is an fascinating lens to analyze how automatic those instruments are. Which tools are utilized generally manually? Which types have considerable automations? This see can be handy both to comprehend the connection involving instruments and marketing and advertising course of action and functions. It can also assist establish possibilities to automate.
Automation is the most significant frontier in Huge Ops in my impression.
This instance from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two dimensions: diverse promoting capabilities and the degree to which they are automatic:
8. Speed Layering of Platforms and Apps
More than a decade ago, as tech stacks in general — not just martech — had been increasing promptly, Gartner proposed a way to organize them by “rate layer.” They proposed 3 levels: programs of document, programs of differentiation, and methods of innovation.
Devices of document need to be incredibly steady and have a slow pace of alter. They are the platforms upon which other software package and providers depend. Methods of differentiation embody the processes and ordeals that make your business one of a kind. They transform more frequently, but are nonetheless fairly steady. Devices of innovation are far more experimental, the place where new abilities can be produced and piloted immediately.
A person of the most effective Stackie entries was this one particular from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped instruments alongside the infinite loop of customer journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s a few rate layers:
9. Evolution of Martech Applications More than Time
Martech stacks do not stand continue to. New equipment are extra. Outdated applications are replaced. This is aspect of the natural evolution of a business as it grows — and as the broader marketing and advertising and martech ecosystem continues to alter about it. It can be beneficial to look at your martech stack as a result of the lens of its modifying app stock in excess of time.
This example, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, shows a five-yr journey of a tiny fiscal solutions business enterprise:
10. Similar Abilities Map
At the intersection of groups and instruments, capabilities are produced. Rather than seeking at your stack by means of the lens of vendor categories, you can organize a check out around diverse capabilities, these kinds of as marketplaces, person-created content, material syndication, qualitative and quantitative investigation, etc. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to display their adjacencies and interactions with each other provides you a image of the ecosystem all over your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a marvelous illustration:
Other Techniques to Map Your Stack
Of course, there are lots of other means to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For instance, you may organize it close to aggregation technologies in your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating details, workflow, working experience, and governance across many various apps, facts sources, and consumer touchpoints? Which tools are you working with to vertically integrate these levels inside of distinct domains, such as CRM?
Alternatively, you could illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization within just diverse apps and platforms. They could variety of purely out-of-the-box commercial apps, to packaged goods that have been tailored or extended with your individual code, to entirely custom made apps that are distinctive to your organization.
Every of these distinct methods can give you unique insights into the nature of your stack — and support you talk them to stakeholders throughout your group.
What does your martech stack glance like?
Reminder: Even if you do not enter The Stackies on your own — even though we unquestionably hope you do — really don’t fail to remember to indication up for the cost-free webinar on #MartechDay, May possibly 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.