This is the 8th 12 months we’re managing The Stackies. It’s an awards method that invites marketers to share a solitary slide illustrating their martech stack — the diverse applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing work with each other.
I’d persuade you to take part (deadline for entries April 29). It is a excellent way to lead to our community’s comprehending of how martech fits into the function and movement of modern marketing.
Even so, even if you never share your stack outside the house the partitions of your corporation, illustrating it can be an exceptionally valuable work out to superior recognize it — and be capable to describe it to other stakeholders.
So what is the very best way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are several strategies, each and every bringing a distinct lens. Acquiring reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies above the years — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I have distilled 10 patterns that I’ve noticed on their individual and in blend together.
1. Vendor Group Map
Often applying the taxonomy from our promoting technological know-how landscape, martech applications are structured into their products classes and subcategories. It reveals your stack by the lens of a vendor marketplace map and identifies the items you’ve selected. This is a good way to analyze your all round stack inventory and display the span of martech remedies.
Here’s an example from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Buyer Journey Map
Another popular design is to align your martech stack versus various stage of the customer’s journey. Frequently for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 phases, these types of as Find out, Take into account, Invest in, Onboard, and Develop.
This wonderful illustration from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the purchaser journey horizontally and the seller categories used vertically:
3. Back again-Stage vs. Entrance-Stage
Yet another way of searching at your stack is as a result of a theater metaphor: again-phase and entrance-stage applications and platforms. Entrance-stage applications specifically contact the shopper — e.g., website experiences, electronic mail campaigns, social media engagement instruments, promoting, and so on. Back again-phase apps are employed to provide inner stakeholders, these kinds of as analytics, organizing, asset administration, productiveness, and so forth.
This is an exquisite case in point from Red Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back-stage to front-stage categorization alongside the vertical entry and buyer journey stage along the horizontal axis:
4. Operate or Part-Based mostly Map
When martech stacks can be rather large, any a person particular person in the marketing and advertising department is not likely to have to understand all of the apps within it. Diverse roles inside promoting will use distinct applications. So a further helpful way of mapping your martech stack is to team applications by the roles or functions that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is practical to see the interrelation between applications, expertise, and results.
This illustration from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few major roles: website management, marketing automation, and material advertising:
5. Level Solution/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is crucial to an helpful martech stack. An additional wonderful way to visually examine your stack is to display the platform(s) that are the gravitational middle(s) of your martech stack and which expert apps integrate to every of them. It is an ecosystem watch of your stack.
This case in point from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry essentially captures five diverse dimensions, which include relative financial commitment, compensated/acquired/owned options, vendor class — and identifies platforms, built-in specialist apps, and stand-on your own level remedies:
6. Use Map (Relative Time in Resources)
Some martech apps are utilized continually, as an integral section of marketing’s day-to-day functions. Other applications, nevertheless, are a lot more specialised and used less usually. This doesn’t mean they are not valuable. They just have a time and put for their purpose. Identifying intensely-utilized principal instruments vs. lightly-utilised instruments experts can be a different insightful way to fully grasp the composition of your stack.
This illustration from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster applications generally by their use situation — planning, creative, engagement, seller channel, and measurement — but the peak of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time marketers spend interacting with just about every instrument:
7. Relative Diploma of Automation
Whilst thinking about the amount of time that buyers devote engaged with different instruments in your stack, it’s an intriguing lens to study how automated all those applications are. Which applications are made use of largely manually? Which ones have significant automations? This check out can be handy both to have an understanding of the romance involving resources and internet marketing system and functions. It can also assist determine options to automate.
Automation is the most important frontier in Large Ops in my impression.
This case in point from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two proportions: distinctive internet marketing capabilities and the diploma to which they are automatic:
8. Pace Layering of Platforms and Apps
Around a ten years in the past, as tech stacks in typical — not just martech — were growing quickly, Gartner proposed a way to manage them by “speed layer.” They proposed three levels: units of file, units of differentiation, and methods of innovation.
Units of report ought to be pretty secure and have a sluggish tempo of adjust. They’re the platforms upon which other software and services depend. Techniques of differentiation embody the procedures and ordeals that make your company exclusive. They alter much more commonly, but are nonetheless somewhat secure. Programs of innovation are more experimental, the position in which new capabilities can be created and piloted quickly.
A person of the most effective Stackie entries was this just one from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped instruments along the infinite loop of shopper journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s three tempo layers:
9. Evolution of Martech Equipment Around Time
Martech stacks really don’t stand however. New tools are extra. Outdated applications are replaced. This is component of the all-natural evolution of a business enterprise as it grows — and as the broader internet marketing and martech ecosystem carries on to modify all around it. It can be valuable to take a look at your martech stack via the lens of its transforming app stock in excess of time.
This illustration, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, exhibits a 5-year journey of a tiny economical expert services small business:
10. Associated Abilities Map
At the intersection of teams and instruments, capabilities are produced. Fairly than on the lookout at your stack as a result of the lens of seller groups, you can prepare a watch around diverse abilities, such as marketplaces, user-produced content material, content syndication, qualitative and quantitative investigate, and many others. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to present their adjacencies and associations with each other gives you a photograph of the ecosystem all over your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a fantastic illustration:
Other Ways to Map Your Stack
Of study course, there are numerous other means to visualize other proportions of your stack.
For instance, you may possibly arrange it all around aggregation technologies in your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating knowledge, workflow, knowledge, and governance across lots of different apps, information resources, and purchaser touchpoints? Which tools are you making use of to vertically combine those people layers in just particular domains, this sort of as CRM?
Alternatively, you may well illustrate your stack to emphasize the degree of customization in various applications and platforms. They might selection of purely out-of-the-box industrial applications, to packaged merchandise that have been custom made or extended with your very own code, to totally customized apps that are exceptional to your enterprise.
Each individual of these distinctive methods can give you diverse insights into the mother nature of your stack — and assist you connect them to stakeholders across your group.
What does your martech stack glimpse like?
Reminder: Even if you never enter The Stackies your self — while we surely hope you do — don’t ignore to signal up for the free of charge webinar on #MartechDay, May possibly 3. We’ll be unveiling the new 2022 martech landscape, releasing a Point out of Martech report, and celebrating the entrants and winners of this year’s Stackie Awards.