This is the 8th yr we’re running The Stackies. It is an awards application that invitations marketers to share a solitary slide illustrating their martech stack — the different applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them working together.
I’d encourage you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It is a excellent way to lead to our community’s knowledge of how martech suits into the perform and flow of modern advertising.
Nonetheless, even if you under no circumstances share your stack exterior the partitions of your organization, illustrating it can be an amazingly helpful training to improved realize it — and be ready to clarify it to other stakeholders.
So what’s the greatest way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are quite a few techniques, every bringing a various lens. Possessing reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies more than the decades — 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 mix with each other.
1. Seller Group Map
Typically making use of the taxonomy from our marketing engineering landscape, martech applications are arranged into their merchandise classes and subcategories. It reveals your stack by means of the lens of a seller industry map and identifies the goods you have picked. This is a wonderful way to look at your general stack inventory and clearly show the span of martech solutions.
Here’s an example from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Customer Journey Map
One more typical product is to align your martech stack in opposition to distinctive phase of the customer’s journey. Generally for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 phases, these kinds of as Uncover, Consider, Get, Onboard, and Improve.
This terrific example from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the buyer journey horizontally and the seller types made use of vertically:
3. Again-Stage vs. Entrance-Stage
A different way of searching at your stack is through a theater metaphor: again-stage and entrance-phase applications and platforms. Entrance-stage apps right contact the client — e.g., net activities, electronic mail strategies, social media engagement applications, advertising and marketing, etcetera. Back-phase apps are employed to provide internal stakeholders, this sort of as analytics, preparing, asset management, productiveness, etcetera.
This is an exquisite case in point from Pink Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back again-stage to front-stage categorization alongside the vertical obtain and buyer journey stage along the horizontal axis:
4. Perform or Job-Primarily based Map
Although martech stacks can be very big, any one particular individual in the advertising and marketing office is not likely to have to understand all of the apps inside of it. Unique roles within internet marketing will use different equipment. So a further 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 beneficial to see the interrelation amongst applications, competencies, and outcomes.
This example from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates 3 most important roles: world-wide-web administration, promoting automation, and content material promoting:
5. Place Resolution/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is crucial to an efficient martech stack. A different wonderful way to visually review your stack is to present the platform(s) that are the gravitational heart(s) of your martech stack and which professional apps integrate to every of them. It is an ecosystem see of your stack.
This example from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry really captures five various proportions, like relative financial investment, paid/acquired/owned alternatives, seller group — and identifies platforms, built-in expert applications, and stand-alone position methods:
6. Utilization Map (Relative Time in Tools)
Some martech apps are utilized constantly, as an integral portion of marketing’s working day-to-working day operations. Other apps, nevertheless, are additional specialized and made use of much less often. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not beneficial. They just have a time and place for their purpose. Figuring out closely-made use of key instruments vs. lightly-utilised applications specialists can be yet another insightful way to fully grasp the composition of your stack.
This illustration from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster applications generally by their use case — planning, creative, engagement, seller channel, and measurement — but the top of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time entrepreneurs devote interacting with just about every instrument:
7. Relative Diploma of Automation
While contemplating the volume of time that customers shell out engaged with unique equipment in your stack, it is an interesting lens to examine how automatic those people instruments are. Which equipment are used mainly manually? Which kinds have substantial automations? This look at can be handy both equally to fully grasp the marriage among equipment and marketing method and functions. It can also enable identify chances to automate.
Automation is the greatest frontier in Huge Ops in my belief.
This case in point from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech apps on two dimensions: distinctive advertising and marketing capabilities and the degree to which they are automatic:
8. Rate Layering of Platforms and Applications
Above a ten years back, as tech stacks in common — not just martech — have been growing swiftly, Gartner proposed a way to manage them by “speed layer.” They prompt a few levels: methods of record, systems of differentiation, and programs of innovation.
Programs of report need to be really secure and have a slow tempo of alter. They’re the platforms on which other software and solutions rely. Units of differentiation embody the procedures and activities that make your small business distinctive. They improve more routinely, but are even now relatively stable. Methods of innovation are additional experimental, the position wherever new abilities can be created and piloted rapidly.
Just one of the best Stackie entries was this one from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped applications together the infinite loop of buyer journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s 3 tempo layers:
9. Evolution of Martech Equipment More than Time
Martech stacks don’t stand nonetheless. New instruments are included. Outdated applications are replaced. This is part of the normal evolution of a small business as it grows — and as the broader marketing and advertising and martech setting proceeds to modify all-around it. It can be valuable to examine your martech stack by the lens of its shifting application inventory over time.
This case in point, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, reveals a 5-yr journey of a little financial expert services business enterprise:
10. Related Capabilities Map
At the intersection of teams and applications, abilities are developed. Alternatively than on the lookout at your stack by way of the lens of seller classes, you can set up a look at all over unique capabilities, these as marketplaces, person-created articles, content syndication, qualitative and quantitative investigate, and so on. Mapping these abilities in clusters, to display their adjacencies and associations with each other presents you a image of the ecosystem all-around your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a marvelous case in point:
Other Strategies to Map Your Stack
Of training course, there are numerous other methods to visualize other proportions of your stack.
For occasion, you may possibly arrange it all around aggregation technologies inside your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating knowledge, workflow, expertise, and governance across lots of unique applications, knowledge resources, and customer touchpoints? Which applications are you making use of to vertically combine people layers inside certain domains, these types of as CRM?
Alternatively, you might illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization within just different apps and platforms. They may well variety of purely out-of-the-box industrial applications, to packaged goods that have been customized or prolonged with your possess code, to fully customized apps that are one of a kind to your company.
Each and every of these different ways can give you diverse insights into the mother nature of your stack — and enable you converse them to stakeholders throughout your organization.
What does your martech stack glimpse like?
Reminder: Even if you never enter The Stackies oneself — although we definitely hope you do — really don’t forget about to indication up for the cost-free webinar on #MartechDay, May 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.