This is the 8th calendar year we’re working The Stackies. It’s an awards method that invitations marketers to share a solitary slide illustrating their martech stack — the unique applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing work together.
I’d stimulate you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It is a wonderful way to add to our community’s understanding of how martech suits into the functionality and move of modern day advertising.
However, even if you under no circumstances share your stack exterior the partitions of your business, illustrating it can be an amazingly helpful physical exercise to superior have an understanding of it — and be equipped to reveal it to other stakeholders.
So what is the best way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are quite a few approaches, just about every bringing a distinct lens. Getting reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies in excess of the several years — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I’ve distilled 10 styles that I have observed on their individual and in combination collectively.
1. Vendor Group Map
Frequently utilizing the taxonomy from our advertising know-how landscape, martech applications are structured into their solution types and subcategories. It demonstrates your stack via the lens of a vendor industry map and identifies the items you have picked. This is a fantastic way to examine your overall stack inventory and exhibit the span of martech methods.
Here’s an illustration from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Consumer Journey Map
An additional prevalent design is to align your martech stack from unique phase of the customer’s journey. Generally for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 stages, such as Explore, Take into consideration, Acquire, Onboard, and Expand.
This great example from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the consumer journey horizontally and the vendor classes employed vertically:
3. Back again-Stage vs. Entrance-Stage
A different way of searching at your stack is as a result of a theater metaphor: back-phase and entrance-phase applications and platforms. Entrance-phase applications specifically touch the consumer — e.g., net encounters, email strategies, social media engagement applications, promoting, etc. Back-phase apps are made use of to serve inside stakeholders, these kinds of as analytics, scheduling, asset administration, productiveness, and so on.
This is an sophisticated case in point from Pink Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back-phase to front-stage categorization together the vertical accessibility and shopper journey stage along the horizontal axis:
4. Operate or Position-Based mostly Map
When martech stacks can be really substantial, any 1 man or woman in the promoting division is unlikely to have to master all of the apps within just it. Various roles within advertising will use distinctive equipment. So one more 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 valuable to see the interrelation between apps, skills, and results.
This instance from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates three key roles: world-wide-web administration, marketing automation, and content material marketing and advertising:
5. Issue Alternative/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is essential to an successful martech stack. A different fantastic way to visually evaluate your stack is to clearly show the system(s) that are the gravitational middle(s) of your martech stack and which specialist apps combine to just about every of them. It is an ecosystem perspective of your stack.
This instance from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry truly captures 5 diverse proportions, which include relative investment decision, paid out/attained/owned options, vendor category — and identifies platforms, integrated expert apps, and stand-by yourself issue alternatives:
6. Utilization Map (Relative Time in Instruments)
Some martech apps are used frequently, as an integral part of marketing’s day-to-working day functions. Other apps, however, are more specialised and applied a lot less often. This does not suggest they’re not worthwhile. They just have a time and place for their objective. Pinpointing intensely-applied principal equipment vs. frivolously-utilized equipment professionals can be an additional insightful way to recognize the composition of your stack.
This illustration from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps principally by their use case — planning, resourceful, engagement, seller channel, and measurement — but the peak of the pine tree icons represents the relative time entrepreneurs expend interacting with every tool:
7. Relative Diploma of Automation
Even though considering the sum of time that customers invest engaged with various resources in your stack, it is an attention-grabbing lens to analyze how automated individuals instruments are. Which resources are made use of generally manually? Which types have sizeable automations? This check out can be beneficial each to comprehend the marriage involving applications and promoting system and functions. It can also aid determine possibilities to automate.
Automation is the largest frontier in Major Ops in my belief.
This instance from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech apps on two dimensions: distinct promoting abilities and the diploma to which they are automatic:
8. Pace Layering of Platforms and Apps
In excess of a decade back, as tech stacks in normal — not just martech — have been increasing fast, Gartner proposed a way to manage them by “pace layer.” They instructed 3 levels: devices of record, devices of differentiation, and methods of innovation.
Techniques of history really should be extremely stable and have a slow pace of modify. They are the platforms upon which other program and providers count. Methods of differentiation embody the procedures and activities that make your company one of a kind. They improve additional often, but are even now rather secure. Techniques of innovation are additional experimental, the place the place new abilities can be formulated and piloted rapidly.
One of the ideal Stackie entries was this one from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped equipment alongside the infinite loop of shopper journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s a few tempo levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Equipment About Time
Martech stacks don’t stand however. New tools are added. Outdated tools are changed. This is part of the purely natural evolution of a organization as it grows — and as the broader promoting and martech environment continues to adjust all around it. It can be valuable to take a look at your martech stack as a result of the lens of its switching app inventory above time.
This example, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, reveals a 5-year journey of a small financial expert services business enterprise:
10. Linked Abilities Map
At the intersection of groups and tools, abilities are formulated. Fairly than hunting at your stack via the lens of seller groups, you can prepare a check out about diverse abilities, such as marketplaces, person-produced material, articles syndication, qualitative and quantitative investigate, etc. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to display their adjacencies and relationships with each other offers you a photograph of the ecosystem about your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a wonderful illustration:
Other Methods to Map Your Stack
Of course, there are numerous other methods to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For instance, you could possibly manage it all-around aggregation technologies inside of your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating details, workflow, experience, and governance throughout lots of distinct applications, facts resources, and purchaser touchpoints? Which instruments are you using to vertically integrate those levels within just specific domains, such as CRM?
Alternatively, you may well illustrate your stack to emphasize the degree of customization within just different applications and platforms. They may assortment of purely out-of-the-box business apps, to packaged products that have been customized or extended with your very own code, to absolutely tailor made applications that are exceptional to your small business.
Just about every of these distinctive approaches can give you distinct insights into the character of your stack — and assist you communicate them to stakeholders across your group.
What does your martech stack search like?
Reminder: Even if you do not enter The Stackies on your own — despite the fact that we certainly hope you do — really do not neglect to signal up for the cost-free webinar on #MartechDay, May possibly 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.