This is the 8th year we’re managing The Stackies. It is an awards system that invites marketers to share a one slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinctive applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing work alongside one another.
I’d motivate you to take part (deadline for entries April 29). It is a great way to add to our community’s comprehending of how martech matches into the function and circulation of fashionable advertising and marketing.
On the other hand, even if you in no way share your stack exterior the partitions of your company, illustrating it can be an amazingly handy work out to improved recognize it — and be able to clarify it to other stakeholders.
So what is the greatest way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are several means, every single bringing a unique lens. Having reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies more than the many years — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I have distilled 10 patterns that I have noticed on their possess and in mix with each other.
1. Vendor Classification Map
Typically applying the taxonomy from our promoting technologies landscape, martech apps are arranged into their product or service categories and subcategories. It demonstrates your stack by the lens of a vendor industry map and identifies the products and solutions you’ve selected. This is a great way to study your general stack inventory and display the span of martech answers.
Here’s an illustration from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Client Journey Map
One more widespread design is to align your martech stack versus various stage of the customer’s journey. Typically for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 phases, this kind of as Find out, Consider, Invest in, Onboard, and Grow.
This wonderful illustration from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the buyer journey horizontally and the seller groups utilized vertically:
3. Back-Phase vs. Front-Phase
A different way of looking at your stack is as a result of a theater metaphor: back again-phase and front-phase apps and platforms. Entrance-stage applications specifically touch the customer — e.g., net activities, electronic mail strategies, social media engagement instruments, advertising and marketing, etcetera. Again-phase applications are made use of to serve interior stakeholders, this kind of as analytics, preparing, asset management, efficiency, etc.
This is an stylish case in point from Pink Wing Shoes and their 2017 Stackie entry, with again-stage to front-stage categorization together the vertical accessibility and client journey phase along the horizontal axis:
4. Operate or Job-Based Map
While martech stacks can be really large, any just one man or woman in the marketing and advertising section is unlikely to have to study all of the apps inside it. Different roles within just marketing and advertising will use different instruments. So one more useful 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 handy to see the interrelation among applications, techniques, and results.
This case in point from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates 3 major roles: net administration, promoting automation, and material advertising and marketing:
5. Position Answer/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is crucial to an helpful martech stack. An additional terrific way to visually examine your stack is to exhibit the platform(s) that are the gravitational heart(s) of your martech stack and which professional apps integrate to each of them. It’s an ecosystem view of your stack.
This example from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry actually captures five distinct proportions, including relative investment, paid/attained/owned solutions, vendor category — and identifies platforms, integrated professional applications, and stand-alone point alternatives:
6. Usage Map (Relative Time in Equipment)
Some martech apps are utilized regularly, as an integral component of marketing’s day-to-day functions. Other apps, however, are extra specialised and applied a lot less commonly. This doesn’t mean they are not worthwhile. They just have a time and spot for their intent. Figuring out intensely-used most important equipment vs. evenly-utilised equipment professionals can be a further insightful way to realize the composition of your stack.
This instance from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps mainly by their use situation — planning, imaginative, engagement, supplier channel, and measurement — but the top of the pine tree icons represents the relative time marketers expend interacting with each instrument:
7. Relative Diploma of Automation
While thinking about the amount of time that people commit engaged with different resources in your stack, it is an exciting lens to study how automated individuals instruments are. Which equipment are utilised largely manually? Which ones have considerable automations? This look at can be handy both to have an understanding of the relationship in between equipment and advertising and marketing approach and functions. It can also support discover options to automate.
Automation is the major frontier in Big Ops in my impression.
This illustration from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech apps on two dimensions: diverse marketing and advertising abilities and the degree to which they are automated:
8. Rate Layering of Platforms and Apps
More than a 10 years back, as tech stacks in common — not just martech — have been expanding promptly, Gartner proposed a way to arrange them by “rate layer.” They proposed three layers: devices of file, programs of differentiation, and techniques of innovation.
Systems of record should really be extremely secure and have a gradual speed of modify. They’re the platforms upon which other software and products and services count. Devices of differentiation embody the processes and activities that make your business enterprise unique. They adjust a lot more usually, but are nonetheless comparatively steady. Systems of innovation are much more experimental, the area exactly where new capabilities can be created and piloted speedily.
One particular of the greatest Stackie entries was this one from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped instruments alongside the infinite loop of buyer journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s a few tempo layers:
9. Evolution of Martech Resources Over Time
Martech stacks really do not stand still. New instruments are added. Outdated equipment are changed. This is portion of the organic evolution of a organization as it grows — and as the broader promoting and martech surroundings proceeds to improve close to it. It can be helpful to examine your martech stack by means of the lens of its shifting application inventory in excess of time.
This example, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, reveals a 5-calendar year journey of a compact monetary services business:
10. Similar Capabilities Map
At the intersection of teams and applications, abilities are designed. Instead than wanting at your stack via the lens of vendor classes, you can arrange a perspective around diverse abilities, this kind of as marketplaces, user-generated information, material syndication, qualitative and quantitative analysis, etc. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to show their adjacencies and relationships with each individual other gives you a image of the ecosystem around your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a marvelous case in point:
Other Techniques to Map Your Stack
Of study course, there are numerous other methods to visualize other proportions of your stack.
For instance, you might arrange it all around aggregation technologies inside your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating information, workflow, experience, and governance across numerous various applications, knowledge sources, and consumer touchpoints? Which equipment are you employing to vertically integrate those levels inside distinct domains, such as CRM?
Alternatively, you may possibly illustrate your stack to emphasize the degree of customization inside unique apps and platforms. They may possibly assortment of purely out-of-the-box professional applications, to packaged products that have been custom-made or prolonged with your possess code, to wholly tailor made apps that are unique to your enterprise.
Each individual of these distinctive approaches can give you diverse insights into the character of your stack — and enable 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 your self — while we undoubtedly hope you do — really do not ignore to indicator up for the no cost webinar on #MartechDay, Could 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.