This is the 8th yr we’re working The Stackies. It’s an awards program that invitations marketers to share a one slide illustrating their martech stack — the different applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing the job together.
I’d inspire you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a excellent way to contribute to our community’s comprehension of how martech suits into the functionality and stream of modern day advertising.
Nonetheless, even if you hardly ever share your stack outside the house the partitions of your company, illustrating it can be an exceptionally practical training to far better understand it — and be equipped to describe it to other stakeholders.
So what is the best way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are lots of strategies, each and every bringing a different lens. Owning reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies over the years — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I have distilled 10 styles that I’ve observed on their own and in mix with each other.
1. Seller Classification Map
Typically utilizing the taxonomy from our marketing and advertising technologies landscape, martech apps are organized into their merchandise categories and subcategories. It reveals your stack by way of the lens of a vendor sector map and identifies the items you have picked. This is a excellent way to analyze your in general stack inventory and display the span of martech solutions.
Here’s an instance from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Client Journey Map
Another prevalent model is to align your martech stack towards unique phase of the customer’s journey. Generally for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 levels, such as Explore, Look at, Get, Onboard, and Expand.
This great example from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the client journey horizontally and the vendor types utilised vertically:
3. Back again-Stage vs. Entrance-Stage
A different way of searching at your stack is by means of a theater metaphor: back-stage and entrance-phase applications and platforms. Entrance-stage applications straight touch the consumer — e.g., world wide web encounters, email campaigns, social media engagement applications, promoting, and many others. Again-stage applications are applied to provide inner stakeholders, such as analytics, setting up, asset administration, productivity, and many others.
This is an elegant illustration from Purple Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with again-stage to front-stage categorization along the vertical entry and buyer journey phase together the horizontal axis:
4. Purpose or Function-Based Map
Even though martech stacks can be very large, any a single particular person in the promoting department is not likely to have to study all of the applications inside of it. Diverse roles within advertising will use various equipment. So yet another helpful way of mapping your martech stack is to group apps by the roles or features that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is beneficial to see the interrelation among apps, competencies, and results.
This example from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates 3 main roles: website management, promoting automation, and material promoting:
5. Stage Remedy/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is important to an productive martech stack. A different great way to visually examine your stack is to display the system(s) that are the gravitational center(s) of your martech stack and which specialist apps integrate to every of them. It’s an ecosystem see of your stack.
This illustration from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry basically captures five distinctive dimensions, like relative investment, compensated/earned/owned methods, vendor category — and identifies platforms, integrated professional apps, and stand-alone stage methods:
6. Utilization Map (Relative Time in Tools)
Some martech apps are applied regularly, as an integral component of marketing’s working day-to-working day operations. Other apps, having said that, are a lot more specialised and applied considerably less commonly. This does not necessarily mean they are not important. They just have a time and place for their purpose. Pinpointing seriously-made use of most important resources vs. evenly-utilised equipment professionals can be one more insightful way to fully grasp the composition of your stack.
This illustration from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster applications principally by their use situation — planning, inventive, engagement, supplier channel, and measurement — but the top of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time marketers commit interacting with each device:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
Although thinking about the total of time that buyers spend engaged with various equipment in your stack, it is an intriguing lens to analyze how automatic all those instruments are. Which equipment are applied largely manually? Which types have important automations? This view can be useful equally to comprehend the partnership involving resources and marketing and advertising method and operations. It can also aid establish chances to automate.
Automation is the largest frontier in Significant Ops in my viewpoint.
This example from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech apps on two dimensions: different advertising abilities and the degree to which they are automated:
8. Speed Layering of Platforms and Apps
In excess of a 10 years back, as tech stacks in standard — not just martech — have been growing swiftly, Gartner proposed a way to organize them by “pace layer.” They recommended 3 levels: devices of file, methods of differentiation, and techniques of innovation.
Units of report must be incredibly stable and have a sluggish rate of adjust. They’re the platforms on which other program and providers count. Methods of differentiation embody the procedures and ordeals that make your enterprise exceptional. They modify extra usually, but are however relatively steady. Programs of innovation are extra experimental, the position the place new abilities can be created and piloted swiftly.
1 of the most effective Stackie entries was this one from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped instruments along the infinite loop of purchaser journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s three pace layers:
9. Evolution of Martech Resources Above Time
Martech stacks really don’t stand nevertheless. New tools are included. Aged tools are changed. This is aspect of the purely natural evolution of a business enterprise as it grows — and as the broader internet marketing and martech ecosystem continues to adjust all around it. It can be practical to look at your martech stack by way of the lens of its changing app inventory above time.
This example, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, shows a five-yr journey of a small monetary products and services business enterprise:
10. Associated Abilities Map
At the intersection of teams and instruments, abilities are designed. Instead than looking at your stack by means of the lens of seller types, you can prepare a watch all-around diverse capabilities, this sort of as marketplaces, user-created content material, content syndication, qualitative and quantitative research, and so on. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to exhibit their adjacencies and associations with each and every other presents you a photo of the ecosystem about your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a great case in point:
Other Ways to Map Your Stack
Of program, there are many other means to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For occasion, you could possibly arrange it all around aggregation systems inside of your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating details, workflow, working experience, and governance throughout quite a few different apps, information sources, and client touchpoints? Which resources are you using to vertically combine those levels inside of precise domains, these kinds of as CRM?
Alternatively, you may possibly illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization in just unique apps and platforms. They may possibly range of purely out-of-the-box commercial apps, to packaged products and solutions that have been customized or extended with your have code, to entirely tailor made apps that are exclusive to your organization.
Each individual of these distinct ways can give you unique insights into the nature of your stack — and assist you connect them to stakeholders across your firm.
What does your martech stack look like?
Reminder: Even if you really don’t enter The Stackies you — even though we surely hope you do — really do not overlook to signal up for the free of charge webinar on #MartechDay, May well 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.