This is the 8th year we’re managing The Stackies. It is an awards program that invites marketers to share a one slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinctive applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them working collectively.
I’d stimulate you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a fantastic way to lead to our community’s knowing of how martech matches into the function and stream of modern day marketing and advertising.
Having said that, even if you by no means share your stack outdoors the walls of your company, illustrating it can be an amazingly beneficial work out to greater comprehend it — and be in a position to demonstrate it to other stakeholders.
So what is the best way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are quite a few means, each individual bringing a various lens. Obtaining reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies in excess of the several years — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I have distilled 10 designs that I’ve witnessed on their possess and in blend jointly.
1. Vendor Class Map
Usually utilizing the taxonomy from our advertising technological know-how landscape, martech apps are organized into their product or service types and subcategories. It exhibits your stack through the lens of a vendor market map and identifies the goods you’ve picked. This is a fantastic way to examine your general stack inventory and exhibit the span of martech alternatives.
Here’s an case in point from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Buyer Journey Map
One more popular product is to align your martech stack from unique stage of the customer’s journey. Normally for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 stages, such as Discover, Contemplate, Invest in, Onboard, and Grow.
This marvelous instance from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the consumer journey horizontally and the seller classes applied vertically:
3. Back again-Stage vs. Front-Stage
Another way of looking at your stack is via a theater metaphor: back-phase and front-stage apps and platforms. Front-stage applications directly touch the shopper — e.g., internet ordeals, e-mail campaigns, social media engagement instruments, promotion, etc. Back-stage applications are made use of to provide inside stakeholders, this kind of as analytics, scheduling, asset management, efficiency, and many others.
This is an classy example from Crimson Wing Footwear and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back again-stage to entrance-stage categorization together the vertical accessibility and customer journey stage alongside the horizontal axis:
4. Purpose or Job-Dependent Map
Although martech stacks can be rather massive, any 1 individual in the advertising department is not likely to have to discover all of the applications inside of it. Distinctive roles in marketing will use distinct tools. So another helpful 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 useful to see the interrelation between apps, skills, and results.
This case in point from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few primary roles: world wide web administration, advertising and marketing automation, and written content advertising and marketing:
5. Point Solution/Platform Ecosystem Map
Integration is essential to an efficient martech stack. Another excellent way to visually analyze your stack is to show the platform(s) that are the gravitational heart(s) of your martech stack and which specialist apps integrate to just about every of them. It’s an ecosystem look at of your stack.
This instance from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry in fact captures 5 different dimensions, which includes relative financial investment, paid/earned/owned alternatives, vendor group — and identifies platforms, built-in specialist applications, and stand-by yourself point answers:
6. Usage Map (Relative Time in Equipment)
Some martech apps are utilized constantly, as an integral component of marketing’s working day-to-working day operations. Other applications, nonetheless, are a lot more specialised and utilized significantly less often. This does not mean they’re not valuable. They just have a time and spot for their objective. Pinpointing heavily-applied key equipment vs. flippantly-applied instruments specialists can be yet another insightful way to comprehend the composition of your stack.
This example from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster applications mostly by their use scenario — planning, imaginative, engagement, supplier channel, and measurement — but the peak of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time entrepreneurs shell out interacting with each and every tool:
7. Relative Diploma of Automation
Though taking into consideration the amount of time that end users expend engaged with distinct applications in your stack, it’s an appealing lens to analyze how automated those tools are. Which tools are made use of typically manually? Which kinds have significant automations? This view can be handy the two to comprehend the romantic relationship between resources and marketing and advertising course of action and functions. It can also help identify prospects to automate.
Automation is the largest frontier in Large Ops in my impression.
This example from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech apps on two proportions: different marketing capabilities and the degree to which they are automatic:
8. Pace Layering of Platforms and Applications
About a 10 years in the past, as tech stacks in common — not just martech — had been increasing fast, Gartner proposed a way to organize them by “tempo layer.” They recommended a few levels: devices of file, techniques of differentiation, and programs of innovation.
Programs of document must be pretty secure and have a sluggish tempo of modify. They’re the platforms upon which other computer software and companies rely. Techniques of differentiation embody the processes and ordeals that make your company exceptional. They transform much more regularly, but are nevertheless comparatively stable. Systems of innovation are additional experimental, the spot in which new abilities can be produced and piloted rapidly.
A single of the best Stackie entries was this one particular from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped instruments along the infinite loop of client journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s 3 speed levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Applications About Time
Martech stacks don’t stand nonetheless. New equipment are extra. Aged instruments are changed. This is aspect of the purely natural evolution of a business as it grows — and as the broader promoting and martech environment proceeds to modify all around it. It can be handy to analyze your martech stack by the lens of its switching application inventory about time.
This instance, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, demonstrates a five-12 months journey of a compact fiscal providers enterprise:
10. Relevant Capabilities Map
At the intersection of groups and resources, abilities are designed. Relatively than searching at your stack as a result of the lens of vendor types, you can set up a perspective around distinctive capabilities, these types of as marketplaces, person-produced content, content syndication, qualitative and quantitative exploration, and so forth. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to exhibit their adjacencies and interactions with each other provides you a image of the ecosystem about your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a fantastic instance:
Other Strategies to Map Your Stack
Of course, there are numerous other approaches to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For occasion, you may possibly arrange it all over aggregation technologies within your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating facts, workflow, practical experience, and governance throughout quite a few unique apps, data sources, and buyer touchpoints? Which instruments are you applying to vertically integrate all those layers within just precise domains, such as CRM?
Alternatively, you could illustrate your stack to emphasize the degree of customization in diverse applications and platforms. They might variety of purely out-of-the-box industrial apps, to packaged solutions that have been custom made or prolonged with your possess code, to totally personalized applications that are exceptional to your small business.
Just about every of these unique ways can give you distinct insights into the character of your stack — and assist you converse them to stakeholders across your firm.
What does your martech stack appear like?
Reminder: Even if you don’t enter The Stackies by yourself — whilst we definitely hope you do — really don’t overlook to signal up for the totally free 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.