This is the 8th year we’re running The Stackies. It is an awards application that invitations marketers to share a single slide illustrating their martech stack — the various applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them working collectively.
I’d motivate you to take part (deadline for entries April 29). It is a wonderful way to add to our community’s understanding of how martech suits into the perform and circulation of contemporary advertising.
Having said that, even if you by no means share your stack outside the walls of your enterprise, illustrating it can be an unbelievably handy exercise to much better comprehend it — and be equipped to reveal it to other stakeholders.
So what is the greatest way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are lots of approaches, each and every bringing a distinctive lens. Possessing reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies above the many years — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I have distilled 10 designs that I’ve observed on their possess and in mixture with each other.
1. Vendor Category Map
Often making use of the taxonomy from our internet marketing technology landscape, martech apps are organized into their item classes and subcategories. It exhibits your stack via the lens of a vendor marketplace map and identifies the merchandise you’ve picked. This is a excellent way to study your general stack inventory and display the span of martech answers.
Here’s an instance from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Customer Journey Map
An additional frequent design is to align your martech stack in opposition to various phase of the customer’s journey. Usually for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 stages, these types of as Find out, Look at, Obtain, Onboard, and Develop.
This wonderful illustration from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the customer journey horizontally and the seller categories made use of vertically:
3. Again-Phase vs. Front-Stage
A different way of on the lookout at your stack is by way of a theater metaphor: again-stage and front-stage applications and platforms. Entrance-phase applications right contact the customer — e.g., internet experiences, e mail strategies, social media engagement resources, promotion, and so on. Back again-stage applications are utilised to serve inside stakeholders, these as analytics, planning, asset administration, efficiency, etc.
This is an classy illustration from Purple Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back-phase to front-phase categorization together the vertical entry and purchaser journey phase along the horizontal axis:
4. Operate or Purpose-Based Map
While martech stacks can be rather substantial, any a single individual in the internet marketing office is not likely to have to learn all of the apps inside of it. Various roles within just marketing will use distinct tools. So an additional practical way of mapping your martech stack is to team apps by the roles or features that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is helpful to see the interrelation involving apps, capabilities, and outcomes.
This example from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates three most important roles: website administration, marketing automation, and articles advertising:
5. Level Resolution/Platform Ecosystem Map
Integration is crucial to an helpful martech stack. A different great way to visually review your stack is to present the system(s) that are the gravitational heart(s) of your martech stack and which expert apps combine to every of them. It’s an ecosystem see of your stack.
This case in point from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry essentially captures five distinctive dimensions, like relative investment, paid/gained/owned options, vendor category — and identifies platforms, integrated expert apps, and stand-on your own level methods:
6. Usage Map (Relative Time in Applications)
Some martech applications are utilized frequently, as an integral section of marketing’s day-to-working day functions. Other applications, on the other hand, are a lot more specialized and employed significantly less often. This doesn’t mean they’re not worthwhile. They just have a time and spot for their reason. Figuring out closely-applied main resources vs. evenly-utilised resources specialists can be another insightful way to realize the composition of your stack.
This case in point from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps largely by their use case — planning, imaginative, engagement, seller channel, and measurement — but the height of the pine tree icons represents the relative time marketers devote interacting with each tool:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
Even though looking at the total of time that consumers shell out engaged with distinct resources in your stack, it is an intriguing lens to analyze how automatic those tools are. Which equipment are made use of generally manually? Which kinds have major automations? This look at can be helpful both of those to realize the romantic relationship concerning applications and internet marketing system and functions. It can also assist discover prospects to automate.
Automation is the most significant frontier in Major Ops in my opinion.
This example from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech apps on two dimensions: distinct internet marketing capabilities and the degree to which they are automated:
8. Speed Layering of Platforms and Applications
In excess of a ten years ago, as tech stacks in typical — not just martech — had been growing speedily, Gartner proposed a way to manage them by “pace layer.” They recommended 3 layers: methods of report, techniques of differentiation, and programs of innovation.
Devices of history should really be very secure and have a slow speed of alter. They are the platforms on which other software package and companies depend. Systems of differentiation embody the processes and ordeals that make your small business exclusive. They improve more usually, but are nonetheless comparatively stable. Techniques of innovation are a lot more experimental, the location the place new capabilities can be developed and piloted speedily.
Just one of the ideal Stackie entries was this a single from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped instruments along the infinite loop of consumer journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s three pace levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Equipment Above Time
Martech stacks never stand however. New equipment are included. Old instruments are replaced. This is component of the all-natural evolution of a small business as it grows — and as the broader promoting and martech environment continues to alter all-around it. It can be handy to look at your martech stack via the lens of its transforming app inventory above time.
This example, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, demonstrates a five-yr journey of a little money services enterprise:
10. Linked Abilities Map
At the intersection of teams and tools, abilities are created. Somewhat than searching at your stack by the lens of seller categories, you can prepare a view around diverse abilities, such as marketplaces, person-generated information, content material syndication, qualitative and quantitative investigation, etcetera. Mapping these abilities in clusters, to show their adjacencies and relationships with every single other offers you a photo of the ecosystem all-around your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a terrific instance:
Other Methods to Map Your Stack
Of system, there are several other ways to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For instance, you may arrange it all-around aggregation technologies in just your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating facts, workflow, expertise, and governance throughout many various apps, knowledge sources, and consumer touchpoints? Which tools are you employing to vertically integrate those levels within specific domains, these kinds of as CRM?
Alternatively, you could possibly illustrate your stack to emphasize the degree of customization within various applications and platforms. They may array of purely out-of-the-box professional applications, to packaged products that have been customized or extended with your possess code, to fully custom made apps that are one of a kind to your business.
Each individual of these diverse methods can give you unique insights into the character of your stack — and aid you talk them to stakeholders across your organization.
What does your martech stack look like?
Reminder: Even if you don’t enter The Stackies on your own — despite the fact that we definitely hope you do — don’t ignore to signal up for the free of charge webinar on #MartechDay, Might 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.