This is the 8th yr we’re managing The Stackies. It’s an awards method that invites entrepreneurs to share a single slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinctive applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing the job alongside one another.
I’d persuade you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a amazing way to contribute to our community’s comprehending of how martech matches into the purpose and flow of fashionable marketing.
However, even if you never share your stack outside the house the partitions of your corporation, illustrating it can be an extremely handy exercising to superior recognize it — and be able to explain it to other stakeholders.
So what is the most effective way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are a lot of ways, each individual bringing a unique lens. Getting 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 designs that I have noticed on their very own and in blend with each other.
1. Vendor Group Map
Often using the taxonomy from our advertising technology landscape, martech applications are organized into their products groups and subcategories. It exhibits your stack via the lens of a seller industry map and identifies the solutions you have picked. This is a good way to look at your all round stack stock and clearly show the span of martech remedies.
Here’s an example from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Purchaser Journey Map
A different common design is to align your martech stack versus diverse stage of the customer’s journey. Commonly for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 stages, these as Learn, Contemplate, Purchase, Onboard, and Develop.
This marvelous example from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the customer journey horizontally and the seller classes applied vertically:
3. Back-Stage vs. Front-Stage
Yet another way of hunting at your stack is through a theater metaphor: again-stage and entrance-stage applications and platforms. Front-phase applications right touch the shopper — e.g., website experiences, e mail strategies, social media engagement equipment, advertising and marketing, and so on. Back-phase apps are used to provide inside stakeholders, this sort of as analytics, preparing, asset administration, productiveness, and many others.
This is an stylish instance from Pink Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back-stage to entrance-stage categorization together the vertical accessibility and consumer journey stage alongside the horizontal axis:
4. Functionality or Purpose-Dependent Map
Although martech stacks can be pretty big, any a single human being in the advertising section is not likely to have to discover all of the apps within just it. Unique roles within advertising and marketing will use diverse instruments. So an additional handy way of mapping your martech stack is to team applications by the roles or capabilities that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is useful to see the interrelation in between apps, expertise, and outcomes.
This example from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few main roles: world-wide-web management, internet marketing automation, and articles advertising:
5. Place Answer/Platform Ecosystem Map
Integration is crucial to an productive martech stack. Another great way to visually evaluate your stack is to clearly show the platform(s) that are the gravitational centre(s) of your martech stack and which specialist applications combine to every single of them. It is an ecosystem view of your stack.
This instance from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry really captures 5 distinct proportions, like relative investment decision, paid/gained/owned methods, vendor category — and identifies platforms, built-in specialist apps, and stand-on your own stage methods:
6. Utilization Map (Relative Time in Resources)
Some martech apps are utilized continuously, as an integral part of marketing’s day-to-day operations. Other applications, having said that, are much more specialized and utilized fewer commonly. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not worthwhile. They just have a time and position for their objective. Figuring out seriously-made use of key instruments vs. frivolously-utilised instruments specialists can be an additional insightful way to recognize the composition of your stack.
This example from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster applications mainly by their use scenario — planning, resourceful, engagement, supplier channel, and measurement — but the peak of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time marketers spend interacting with each individual instrument:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
Even though taking into consideration the total of time that end users expend engaged with various resources in your stack, it is an exciting lens to look at how automated those instruments are. Which resources are used typically manually? Which kinds have sizeable automations? This see can be valuable each to comprehend the romance amongst equipment and internet marketing system and functions. It can also aid determine opportunities to automate.
Automation is the biggest frontier in Big Ops in my opinion.
This illustration from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two dimensions: various advertising and marketing capabilities and the diploma to which they are automated:
8. Speed Layering of Platforms and Applications
Over a decade ago, as tech stacks in general — not just martech — had been growing quickly, Gartner proposed a way to manage them by “speed layer.” They suggested three layers: units of record, devices of differentiation, and devices of innovation.
Devices of report need to be pretty stable and have a sluggish rate of alter. They are the platforms on which other software program and products and services depend. Programs of differentiation embody the procedures and activities that make your enterprise unique. They change extra usually, but are even now reasonably stable. Methods of innovation are much more experimental, the place exactly where new capabilities can be developed and piloted speedily.
One of the finest Stackie entries was this a single from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped applications alongside the infinite loop of shopper journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s three pace levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Applications Over Time
Martech stacks never stand nevertheless. New resources are included. Aged instruments are changed. This is element of the purely natural evolution of a company as it grows — and as the broader promoting and martech setting carries on to adjust around it. It can be valuable to look at your martech stack by means of the lens of its altering application inventory more than time.
This example, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, reveals a five-calendar year journey of a small financial services organization:
10. Relevant Capabilities Map
At the intersection of groups and tools, capabilities are created. Instead than searching at your stack via the lens of vendor categories, you can prepare a perspective all-around distinct abilities, these types of as marketplaces, person-produced written content, articles syndication, qualitative and quantitative research, and many others. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to clearly show their adjacencies and interactions with each individual other presents you a image of the ecosystem close to your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a marvelous example:
Other Means to Map Your Stack
Of course, there are many other means to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For instance, you might organize it about aggregation technologies in just your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating knowledge, workflow, practical experience, and governance throughout several various applications, information resources, and purchaser touchpoints? Which instruments are you utilizing to vertically combine all those layers inside of distinct domains, these as CRM?
Alternatively, you may illustrate your stack to emphasize the degree of customization inside of distinct applications and platforms. They may variety of purely out-of-the-box commercial applications, to packaged solutions that have been custom-made or extended with your have code, to completely tailor made apps that are distinctive to your enterprise.
Each of these diverse techniques can give you unique insights into the mother nature of your stack — and assistance you talk them to stakeholders throughout your group.
What does your martech stack glimpse like?
Reminder: Even if you really don’t enter The Stackies oneself — while we undoubtedly hope you do — do not neglect 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 State of Martech report, and celebrating the entrants and winners of this year’s Stackie Awards.