This is the 8th calendar year we’re running The Stackies. It is an awards application that invitations entrepreneurs to share a single slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinct apps and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them functioning jointly.
I’d really encourage you to take part (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a excellent way to add to our community’s understanding of how martech matches into the operate and circulation of contemporary marketing.
On the other hand, even if you never ever share your stack exterior the partitions of your corporation, illustrating it can be an very beneficial exercising to superior fully grasp it — and be capable to explain it to other stakeholders.
So what is the best way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are lots of techniques, just about every bringing a distinct lens. Obtaining reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies around the yrs — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I’ve distilled 10 designs that I’ve seen on their own and in mix collectively.
1. Vendor Class Map
Typically making use of the taxonomy from our advertising and marketing know-how landscape, martech apps are arranged into their product or service classes and subcategories. It demonstrates your stack via the lens of a seller market map and identifies the solutions you have selected. This is a excellent way to look at your in general stack stock and present the span of martech methods.
Here’s an illustration from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Buyer Journey Map
Another frequent design is to align your martech stack from distinct phase of the customer’s journey. Usually for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 stages, this sort of as Uncover, Consider, Purchase, Onboard, and Expand.
This fantastic illustration from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the buyer journey horizontally and the seller groups applied vertically:
3. Back-Stage vs. Entrance-Stage
One more way of hunting at your stack is by means of a theater metaphor: again-phase and front-phase applications and platforms. Entrance-phase apps instantly touch the client — e.g., world-wide-web encounters, e-mail strategies, social media engagement tools, promotion, and many others. Again-stage applications are made use of to serve interior stakeholders, these as analytics, scheduling, asset administration, efficiency, etcetera.
This is an sophisticated case in point from Crimson Wing Footwear and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back-stage to entrance-stage categorization along the vertical obtain and shopper journey phase together the horizontal axis:
4. Perform or Position-Based Map
When martech stacks can be rather significant, any just one particular person in the advertising office is unlikely to have to understand all of the apps in just it. Unique roles inside advertising will use different tools. So yet another helpful 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 handy to see the interrelation in between applications, skills, and outcomes.
This example from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few major roles: world-wide-web management, marketing automation, and information advertising and marketing:
5. Issue Resolution/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is vital to an productive martech stack. A further great way to visually evaluate your stack is to exhibit the system(s) that are the gravitational center(s) of your martech stack and which expert apps combine to every of them. It’s an ecosystem look at of your stack.
This instance from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry basically captures 5 diverse dimensions, such as relative investment, paid out/gained/owned methods, seller group — and identifies platforms, built-in expert apps, and stand-by yourself place options:
6. Usage Map (Relative Time in Instruments)
Some martech apps are utilized consistently, as an integral part of marketing’s working day-to-working day functions. Other apps, nonetheless, are much more specialized and used significantly less routinely. This doesn’t indicate they are not important. They just have a time and area for their intent. Pinpointing greatly-employed major equipment vs. frivolously-employed tools specialists can be one more insightful way to have an understanding of the composition of your stack.
This illustration from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster applications largely by their use case — planning, artistic, engagement, supplier channel, and measurement — but the top of the pine tree icons represents the relative time marketers invest interacting with just about every software:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
Even though thinking about the amount of time that consumers expend engaged with various resources in your stack, it is an intriguing lens to look at how automated those people equipment are. Which applications are used mostly manually? Which ones have major automations? This perspective can be handy each to have an understanding of the relationship amongst equipment and marketing and advertising system and operations. It can also help detect possibilities to automate.
Automation is the greatest frontier in Significant Ops in my viewpoint.
This instance from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two dimensions: distinct marketing abilities and the degree to which they are automated:
8. Tempo Layering of Platforms and Applications
Above a decade ago, as tech stacks in typical — not just martech — were expanding promptly, Gartner proposed a way to manage them by “speed layer.” They advised three layers: programs of document, techniques of differentiation, and units of innovation.
Methods of report need to be extremely stable and have a sluggish pace of modify. They’re the platforms upon which other software package and companies depend. Programs of differentiation embody the procedures and experiences that make your enterprise exceptional. They change extra commonly, but are continue to somewhat steady. Systems of innovation are much more experimental, the position wherever new abilities can be created and piloted speedily.
One particular of the best Stackie entries was this a person from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped equipment together the infinite loop of purchaser journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s 3 rate levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Instruments About Time
Martech stacks never stand continue to. New instruments are extra. Previous tools are changed. This is element of the organic evolution of a small business as it grows — and as the broader advertising and martech environment continues to adjust about it. It can be helpful to study your martech stack by way of the lens of its shifting app inventory above time.
This illustration, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, displays a 5-yr journey of a modest monetary products and services small business:
10. Similar Abilities Map
At the intersection of groups and equipment, abilities are produced. Alternatively than seeking at your stack by means of the lens of vendor categories, you can set up a perspective about diverse capabilities, these kinds of as marketplaces, user-produced material, material syndication, qualitative and quantitative analysis, and many others. Mapping these abilities in clusters, to display their adjacencies and associations with every single other offers you a photograph of the ecosystem all around your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a wonderful case in point:
Other Strategies to Map Your Stack
Of study course, there are quite a few other methods to visualize other proportions of your stack.
For instance, you may well arrange it around aggregation technologies within just your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating information, workflow, working experience, and governance throughout numerous different applications, knowledge sources, and buyer touchpoints? Which resources are you working with to vertically integrate all those levels in just precise domains, such as CRM?
Alternatively, you could possibly illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization within different applications and platforms. They might selection of purely out-of-the-box professional applications, to packaged merchandise that have been tailored or prolonged with your own code, to absolutely customized applications that are exclusive to your enterprise.
Just about every of these distinct approaches can give you distinct insights into the nature of your stack — and aid you communicate them to stakeholders across your corporation.
What does your martech stack glimpse like?
Reminder: Even if you do not enter The Stackies your self — while we absolutely hope you do — really do not fail to remember to indicator up for the free of charge 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.