This is the 8th year we’re jogging The Stackies. It is an awards program that invitations marketers to share a one slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinctive apps and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them working collectively.
I’d stimulate you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It is a amazing way to add to our community’s comprehension of how martech matches into the perform and movement of modern day advertising.
Nonetheless, even if you under no circumstances share your stack exterior the partitions of your business, illustrating it can be an unbelievably valuable exercise to much better recognize it — and be in a position to make clear it to other stakeholders.
So what is the best way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are lots of approaches, just about every bringing a distinctive lens. Having reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies over the a long time — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I’ve distilled 10 patterns that I have seen on their very own and in mix with each other.
1. Vendor Category Map
Often utilizing the taxonomy from our promoting technology landscape, martech applications are arranged into their product or service classes and subcategories. It exhibits your stack by way of the lens of a seller market place map and identifies the products you have picked. This is a wonderful way to examine your general stack inventory and clearly show the span of martech options.
Here’s an example from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Consumer Journey Map
Yet another prevalent product is to align your martech stack from different stage of the customer’s journey. Normally for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 levels, these types of as Find out, Take into account, Buy, Onboard, and Improve.
This great example from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the purchaser journey horizontally and the vendor categories employed vertically:
3. Again-Phase vs. Front-Stage
A further way of wanting at your stack is through a theater metaphor: again-stage and entrance-stage apps and platforms. Entrance-phase apps specifically touch the purchaser — e.g., net activities, email strategies, social media engagement resources, promoting, and so forth. Back-phase apps are utilized to provide interior stakeholders, these as analytics, organizing, asset management, productiveness, and many others.
This is an tasteful case in point from Red Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back-phase to front-phase categorization along the vertical access and client journey phase together the horizontal axis:
4. Operate or Part-Centered Map
Though martech stacks can be rather massive, any a person man or woman in the advertising office is not likely to have to understand all of the applications inside of it. Various roles in just marketing and advertising will use diverse instruments. So an additional beneficial way of mapping your martech stack is to group apps by the roles or features that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is beneficial to see the interrelation between applications, capabilities, and results.
This case in point from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates three primary roles: net management, advertising and marketing automation, and material marketing:
5. Position Solution/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is essential to an helpful martech stack. Another excellent way to visually review your stack is to present the platform(s) that are the gravitational heart(s) of your martech stack and which specialist apps combine to every single of them. It’s an ecosystem check out of your stack.
This example from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry actually captures 5 different proportions, such as relative investment decision, compensated/acquired/owned solutions, vendor classification — and identifies platforms, integrated specialist applications, and stand-by itself place answers:
6. Utilization Map (Relative Time in Equipment)
Some martech applications are made use of consistently, as an integral part of marketing’s working day-to-day operations. Other apps, however, are additional specialized and applied significantly less frequently. This does not suggest they are not important. They just have a time and location for their intent. Determining greatly-applied key equipment vs. flippantly-made use of tools professionals can be a further insightful way to realize the composition of your stack.
This illustration from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps mostly by their use case — planning, artistic, engagement, supplier channel, and measurement — but the top of the pine tree icons represents the relative time entrepreneurs devote interacting with every single instrument:
7. Relative Diploma of Automation
While thinking of the total of time that customers shell out engaged with different applications in your stack, it is an exciting lens to take a look at how automatic individuals resources are. Which applications are made use of typically manually? Which types have major automations? This see can be valuable each to comprehend the relationship involving equipment and marketing and advertising approach and functions. It can also aid determine alternatives to automate.
Automation is the biggest frontier in Large Ops in my impression.
This example from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech apps on two proportions: unique marketing abilities and the diploma to which they are automatic:
8. Tempo Layering of Platforms and Apps
Above a 10 years ago, as tech stacks in basic — not just martech — have been growing promptly, Gartner proposed a way to manage them by “pace layer.” They instructed 3 layers: techniques of history, devices of differentiation, and programs of innovation.
Methods of file need to be very stable and have a sluggish speed of change. They are the platforms on which other software and solutions depend. Systems of differentiation embody the processes and experiences that make your business special. They modify additional often, but are nonetheless comparatively stable. Units of innovation are extra experimental, the position exactly where new abilities can be created and piloted promptly.
Just one of the very best Stackie entries was this one particular from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped applications alongside the infinite loop of customer journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s 3 speed levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Tools Above Time
Martech stacks really don’t stand continue to. New equipment are included. Outdated tools are replaced. This is element of the natural evolution of a enterprise as it grows — and as the broader marketing and martech ecosystem continues to transform close to it. It can be beneficial to study your martech stack via the lens of its changing app inventory above time.
This case in point, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, reveals a five-yr journey of a small money solutions business:
10. Linked Capabilities Map
At the intersection of groups and equipment, capabilities are made. Somewhat than searching at your stack through the lens of vendor categories, you can set up a perspective about different capabilities, these types of as marketplaces, person-produced information, material syndication, qualitative and quantitative analysis, and so on. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to exhibit their adjacencies and associations with every single other presents you a photograph of the ecosystem all over your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a wonderful example:
Other Methods to Map Your Stack
Of class, there are quite a few other ways to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For instance, you may arrange it around aggregation technologies within just your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating details, workflow, working experience, and governance throughout a lot of distinctive apps, info resources, and client touchpoints? Which resources are you working with to vertically integrate people levels within just certain domains, these as CRM?
Alternatively, you may well illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization within diverse apps and platforms. They might variety of purely out-of-the-box industrial apps, to packaged items that have been personalized or extended with your have code, to fully custom applications that are exclusive to your small business.
Just about every of these unique methods can give you distinctive insights into the character of your stack — and aid you converse them to stakeholders throughout your group.
What does your martech stack appear like?
Reminder: Even if you really don’t enter The Stackies by yourself — although we certainly hope you do — really do not fail to remember to sign 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.