This is the 8th calendar year we’re functioning The Stackies. It is an awards plan that invites marketers to share a one slide illustrating their martech stack — the unique apps and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them functioning together.
I’d motivate you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a fantastic way to contribute to our community’s being familiar with of how martech matches into the purpose and circulation of modern day promoting.
Having said that, even if you in no way share your stack outside the partitions of your organization, illustrating it can be an exceptionally practical training to improved understand it — and be capable to reveal it to other stakeholders.
So what’s the best way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are many strategies, each bringing a unique lens. Owning reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies more than the a long time — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I have distilled 10 patterns that I have seen on their personal and in mix with each other.
1. Vendor Classification Map
Frequently utilizing the taxonomy from our advertising technologies landscape, martech applications are arranged into their product categories and subcategories. It reveals your stack as a result of the lens of a seller market place map and identifies the solutions you’ve selected. This is a excellent way to take a look at your total stack inventory and present the span of martech remedies.
Here’s an instance from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Buyer Journey Map
Yet another frequent product is to align your martech stack in opposition to various phase of the customer’s journey. Commonly for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 levels, this kind of as Find, Look at, Obtain, Onboard, and Improve.
This terrific case in point from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the client journey horizontally and the seller types utilized vertically:
3. Back-Stage vs. Front-Stage
A different way of on the lookout at your stack is by way of a theater metaphor: back again-phase and entrance-stage applications and platforms. Entrance-stage applications immediately touch the client — e.g., web activities, e mail strategies, social media engagement equipment, promoting, and so forth. Back again-phase applications are utilized to provide interior stakeholders, these as analytics, scheduling, asset administration, productivity, and so on.
This is an classy case in point from Crimson Wing Shoes and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back again-stage to front-stage categorization alongside the vertical entry and consumer journey phase along the horizontal axis:
4. Purpose or Purpose-Based mostly Map
Though martech stacks can be fairly substantial, any 1 particular person in the marketing and advertising office is not likely to have to study all of the applications inside of it. Various roles in promoting will use distinctive tools. So another useful 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 handy to see the interrelation between apps, expertise, and results.
This illustration from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates three principal roles: website management, marketing automation, and written content internet marketing:
5. Issue Solution/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is very important to an powerful martech stack. A different great way to visually examine your stack is to display the system(s) that are the gravitational heart(s) of your martech stack and which specialist apps combine to every of them. It’s an ecosystem perspective of your stack.
This example from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry basically captures 5 distinct proportions, like relative financial investment, paid out/gained/owned remedies, seller classification — and identifies platforms, integrated specialist apps, and stand-alone level solutions:
6. Utilization Map (Relative Time in Resources)
Some martech apps are made use of regularly, as an integral section of marketing’s day-to-working day functions. Other applications, nevertheless, are much more specialized and utilized considerably less frequently. This does not mean they are not worthwhile. They just have a time and put for their intent. Determining seriously-used primary resources vs. lightly-utilised applications professionals can be one more insightful way to comprehend the composition of your stack.
This example from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps largely by their use circumstance — planning, innovative, engagement, seller channel, and measurement — but the top of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time marketers invest interacting with every single instrument:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
Even though thinking about the quantity of time that end users expend engaged with diverse tools in your stack, it is an fascinating lens to examine how automated people applications are. Which tools are utilised typically manually? Which types have major automations? This perspective can be useful both to understand the partnership between equipment and advertising and marketing procedure and functions. It can also assist discover prospects to automate.
Automation is the most important frontier in Significant Ops in my impression.
This instance from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two proportions: distinctive marketing capabilities and the degree to which they are automatic:
8. Rate Layering of Platforms and Apps
Over a decade back, as tech stacks in normal — not just martech — ended up increasing rapidly, Gartner proposed a way to organize them by “rate layer.” They advised a few layers: units of record, systems of differentiation, and techniques of innovation.
Programs of history need to be quite steady and have a gradual pace of change. They’re the platforms on which other software package and products and services count. Programs of differentiation embody the processes and experiences that make your organization special. They alter a lot more frequently, but are even now comparatively stable. Techniques of innovation are much more experimental, the put exactly where new abilities can be developed and piloted quickly.
1 of the most effective Stackie entries was this one particular from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped instruments alongside the infinite loop of client journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s three rate levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Applications Above Time
Martech stacks do not stand however. New resources are additional. Old resources are replaced. This is aspect of the natural evolution of a company as it grows — and as the broader advertising and marketing and martech ecosystem carries on to modify around it. It can be practical to study your martech stack by means of the lens of its switching application stock about time.
This example, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, displays a five-year journey of a smaller financial providers business enterprise:
10. Associated Capabilities Map
At the intersection of teams and tools, abilities are designed. Fairly than seeking at your stack by the lens of seller categories, you can set up a look at all over different capabilities, these types of as marketplaces, person-generated content, content material syndication, qualitative and quantitative study, etcetera. Mapping these abilities in clusters, to display their adjacencies and interactions with each individual other provides you a picture of the ecosystem all over your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a terrific case in point:
Other Techniques to Map Your Stack
Of study course, there are a lot of other strategies to visualize other proportions of your stack.
For occasion, you could manage it close to aggregation technologies inside your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating information, workflow, experience, and governance across numerous unique apps, details resources, and shopper touchpoints? Which tools are you utilizing to vertically integrate these levels in distinct domains, these as CRM?
Alternatively, you may possibly illustrate your stack to emphasize the degree of customization in distinct applications and platforms. They may possibly variety of purely out-of-the-box professional apps, to packaged products and solutions that have been tailored or prolonged with your very own code, to fully custom made apps that are exclusive to your business.
Just about every of these different techniques can give you different insights into the nature of your stack — and support you talk them to stakeholders throughout your firm.
What does your martech stack look like?
Reminder: Even if you do not enter The Stackies your self — even though we definitely hope you do — don’t fail to remember to signal up for the cost-free webinar on #MartechDay, May possibly 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.
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