This is the 8th year we’re jogging The Stackies. It’s an awards program that invitations entrepreneurs to share a solitary slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinct applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them working collectively.
I’d persuade you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a amazing way to add to our community’s comprehending of how martech suits into the operate and movement of fashionable marketing and advertising.
However, even if you under no circumstances share your stack outside the house the walls of your business, illustrating it can be an incredibly beneficial workout to far better comprehend it — and be equipped to explain it to other stakeholders.
So what is the finest way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are quite a few means, each bringing a different lens. Obtaining reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies in excess of the decades — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I’ve distilled 10 patterns that I’ve found on their have and in mixture together.
1. Vendor Group Map
Normally using the taxonomy from our advertising technology landscape, martech applications are arranged into their merchandise groups and subcategories. It demonstrates your stack through the lens of a vendor market map and identifies the products and solutions you have chosen. This is a wonderful way to analyze your total stack inventory and display the span of martech alternatives.
Here’s an example from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Buyer Journey Map
A different common design is to align your martech stack from various stage of the customer’s journey. Frequently for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 phases, these as Discover, Consider, Buy, Onboard, and Increase.
This great case in point from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the purchaser journey horizontally and the vendor types made use of vertically:
3. Back again-Phase vs. Front-Phase
A further way of wanting at your stack is as a result of a theater metaphor: back-stage and entrance-phase applications and platforms. Front-phase apps specifically contact the shopper — e.g., website encounters, electronic mail campaigns, social media engagement resources, advertising, etc. Back again-phase applications are utilised to serve inside stakeholders, this kind of as analytics, preparing, asset management, efficiency, and so on.
This is an stylish illustration from Pink Wing Footwear and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back again-stage to entrance-phase categorization alongside the vertical entry and shopper journey stage alongside the horizontal axis:
4. Operate or Function-Primarily based Map
When martech stacks can be pretty large, any one person in the advertising and marketing section is not likely to have to study all of the applications in it. Unique roles within marketing and advertising will use diverse resources. So one more beneficial way of mapping your martech stack is to team applications by the roles or features that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is useful to see the interrelation in between apps, expertise, and results.
This illustration from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates 3 most important roles: net management, advertising and marketing automation, and content marketing and advertising:
5. Issue Resolution/Platform Ecosystem Map
Integration is important to an effective martech stack. Yet another great way to visually evaluate your stack is to show the platform(s) that are the gravitational middle(s) of your martech stack and which expert applications combine to every of them. It is an ecosystem perspective of your stack.
This case in point from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry actually captures five distinctive dimensions, including relative financial investment, paid/acquired/owned options, vendor category — and identifies platforms, built-in professional apps, and stand-by itself level answers:
6. Usage Map (Relative Time in Instruments)
Some martech apps are utilized continually, as an integral element of marketing’s working day-to-day operations. Other apps, on the other hand, are a lot more specialized and employed much less routinely. This doesn’t imply they are not beneficial. They just have a time and put for their intent. Figuring out greatly-applied primary instruments vs. lightly-utilized instruments professionals can be an additional insightful way to recognize the composition of your stack.
This illustration from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps largely by their use scenario — planning, creative, engagement, dealer channel, and measurement — but the top of the pine tree icons represents the relative time entrepreneurs devote interacting with just about every device:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
Although looking at the volume of time that customers shell out engaged with different applications in your stack, it’s an fascinating lens to take a look at how automated those people instruments are. Which equipment are employed generally manually? Which kinds have significant automations? This see can be practical each to have an understanding of the partnership between applications and promoting approach and operations. It can also aid establish possibilities to automate.
Automation is the most significant frontier in Big Ops in my feeling.
This instance from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech apps on two proportions: distinctive marketing and advertising abilities and the degree to which they are automated:
8. Tempo Layering of Platforms and Applications
In excess of a ten years back, as tech stacks in normal — not just martech — were being growing speedily, Gartner proposed a way to manage them by “pace layer.” They suggested a few layers: techniques of report, devices of differentiation, and devices of innovation.
Devices of record should be really steady and have a slow rate of improve. They’re the platforms on which other computer software and companies count. Programs of differentiation embody the processes and activities that make your company exclusive. They alter extra usually, but are even now relatively stable. Units of innovation are far more experimental, the put the place new capabilities can be created and piloted immediately.
One of the very best Stackie entries was this one particular from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped resources alongside the infinite loop of purchaser journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s a few speed levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Tools Around Time
Martech stacks don’t stand still. New tools are additional. Old applications are replaced. This is part of the organic evolution of a business as it grows — and as the broader advertising and martech ecosystem continues to transform all around it. It can be helpful to study your martech stack via the lens of its changing app inventory above time.
This case in point, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, displays a 5-calendar year journey of a modest economic services small business:
10. Relevant Abilities Map
At the intersection of groups and tools, capabilities are created. Somewhat than on the lookout at your stack as a result of the lens of seller groups, you can organize a look at all around diverse capabilities, this kind of as marketplaces, user-produced content, information syndication, qualitative and quantitative study, and many others. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to display their adjacencies and associations with just about every other presents you a picture of the ecosystem close to your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a wonderful instance:
Other Techniques to Map Your Stack
Of study course, there are several other ways to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For occasion, you may well organize it all over aggregation technologies in just your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating information, workflow, knowledge, and governance throughout quite a few unique applications, details resources, and purchaser touchpoints? Which applications are you employing to vertically combine those people layers within certain domains, this sort of as CRM?
Alternatively, you could illustrate your stack to emphasize the degree of customization within just different applications and platforms. They may possibly array of purely out-of-the-box commercial apps, to packaged goods that have been custom-made or prolonged with your individual code, to wholly customized applications that are unique to your business enterprise.
Just about every of these different ways can give you distinct insights into the mother nature of your stack — and assistance you converse them to stakeholders across your organization.
What does your martech stack seem like?
Reminder: Even if you really do not enter The Stackies by yourself — although we unquestionably hope you do — don’t overlook to indication up for the absolutely free webinar on #MartechDay, May well 3. We’ll be unveiling the new 2022 martech landscape, releasing a Condition of Martech report, and celebrating the entrants and winners of this year’s Stackie Awards.