This is the 8th 12 months we’re operating The Stackies. It’s an awards application that invites entrepreneurs to share a one slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinctive applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them working together.
I’d inspire you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It is a excellent way to add to our community’s knowledge of how martech fits into the functionality and flow of present day advertising and marketing.
Nevertheless, even if you by no means share your stack outside the house the walls of your business, illustrating it can be an incredibly valuable exercise to greater have an understanding of it — and be able to describe it to other stakeholders.
So what is the greatest way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are many methods, each and every bringing a unique lens. Having reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies about the yrs — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I’ve distilled 10 styles that I’ve observed on their own and in mix with each other.
1. Vendor Group Map
Typically employing the taxonomy from our marketing technology landscape, martech apps are structured into their product categories and subcategories. It exhibits your stack by the lens of a vendor marketplace map and identifies the products and solutions you’ve picked. This is a excellent way to study your all round stack inventory and exhibit the span of martech answers.
Here’s an example from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Customer Journey Map
Yet another widespread design is to align your martech stack towards distinctive phase of the customer’s journey. Typically for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 levels, this sort of as Explore, Take into consideration, Buy, 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 utilised vertically:
3. Again-Stage vs. Front-Phase
A further way of seeking at your stack is by means of a theater metaphor: back again-stage and front-phase applications and platforms. Front-stage apps specifically touch the consumer — e.g., web experiences, email campaigns, social media engagement applications, promoting, and so forth. Back again-phase applications are made use of to provide inner stakeholders, such as analytics, setting up, asset management, productivity, and so forth.
This is an elegant case in point from Purple Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back again-phase to entrance-phase categorization along the vertical obtain and buyer journey stage together the horizontal axis:
4. Functionality or Role-Based Map
While martech stacks can be really huge, any one particular particular person in the marketing and advertising section is unlikely to have to discover all of the applications inside it. Distinctive roles within advertising will use diverse equipment. So one more practical 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 helpful to see the interrelation involving apps, techniques, and outcomes.
This case in point from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates 3 major roles: internet administration, advertising automation, and information advertising:
5. Place Resolution/Platform Ecosystem Map
Integration is vital to an successful martech stack. A further good way to visually review your stack is to display the platform(s) that are the gravitational centre(s) of your martech stack and which professional applications combine to each individual of them. It is an ecosystem watch of your stack.
This case in point from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry really captures five distinctive dimensions, like relative financial investment, compensated/attained/owned options, vendor group — and identifies platforms, built-in expert applications, and stand-by yourself issue remedies:
6. Use Map (Relative Time in Instruments)
Some martech apps are made use of continuously, as an integral aspect of marketing’s working day-to-working day functions. Other apps, on the other hand, are a lot more specialized and applied fewer usually. This does not imply they’re not useful. They just have a time and area for their purpose. Figuring out closely-applied primary instruments vs. flippantly-made use of tools experts can be an additional insightful way to recognize the composition of your stack.
This example from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps mainly by their use case — planning, inventive, engagement, dealer channel, and measurement — but the peak of the pine tree icons represents the relative time entrepreneurs shell out interacting with just about every resource:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
Though thinking of the quantity of time that consumers commit engaged with various tools in your stack, it’s an intriguing lens to take a look at how automated people resources are. Which equipment are used mostly manually? Which types have significant automations? This watch can be helpful equally to fully grasp the marriage concerning equipment and marketing and advertising course of action and functions. It can also support discover opportunities to automate.
Automation is the most significant frontier in Large Ops in my opinion.
This example from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two dimensions: various marketing and advertising capabilities and the degree to which they are automatic:
8. Speed Layering of Platforms and Apps
About a decade in the past, as tech stacks in common — not just martech — have been growing swiftly, Gartner proposed a way to arrange them by “pace layer.” They proposed three levels: devices of report, techniques of differentiation, and methods of innovation.
Programs of document must be pretty secure and have a gradual speed of transform. They are the platforms on which other software program and products and services depend. Programs of differentiation embody the processes and experiences that make your business enterprise unique. They transform far more commonly, but are nonetheless reasonably steady. Techniques of innovation are a lot more experimental, the position where by new abilities can be formulated and piloted rapidly.
One of the most effective Stackie entries was this one from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped resources alongside the infinite loop of buyer journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s a few tempo levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Applications More than Time
Martech stacks never stand continue to. New applications are extra. Old equipment are replaced. This is aspect of the natural evolution of a business enterprise as it grows — and as the broader marketing and martech setting carries on to transform close to it. It can be useful to study your martech stack via the lens of its changing app stock around time.
This example, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, exhibits a five-12 months journey of a compact economic expert services company:
10. Relevant Capabilities Map
At the intersection of groups and resources, capabilities are made. Relatively than looking at your stack as a result of the lens of vendor groups, you can prepare a check out all over distinct abilities, this kind of as marketplaces, person-created material, material syndication, qualitative and quantitative study, etc. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to demonstrate their adjacencies and interactions with every single other offers you a photo of the ecosystem close to your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a wonderful illustration:
Other Strategies to Map Your Stack
Of training course, there are numerous other methods to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For instance, you may arrange it close to aggregation systems in just your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating details, workflow, practical experience, and governance throughout several distinctive apps, information resources, and customer touchpoints? Which tools are you making use of to vertically combine all those levels within just specific domains, this sort of as CRM?
Alternatively, you could illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization within just distinctive applications and platforms. They might selection of purely out-of-the-box industrial applications, to packaged merchandise that have been custom-made or prolonged with your possess code, to absolutely customized apps that are unique to your enterprise.
Each and every of these unique techniques can give you diverse insights into the nature of your stack — and assistance you communicate them to stakeholders throughout your organization.
What does your martech stack seem like?
Reminder: Even if you really do not enter The Stackies yourself — even though we certainly hope you do — never ignore to sign up for the free of charge webinar on #MartechDay, May well 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.