This is the 8th year we’re operating The Stackies. It’s an awards system that invites marketers to share a solitary slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinctive applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing work alongside one another.
I’d persuade you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It is a great way to contribute to our community’s knowing of how martech fits into the function and stream of modern internet marketing.
Even so, even if you under no circumstances share your stack outside the walls of your corporation, illustrating it can be an unbelievably beneficial physical exercise to better understand it — and be equipped to clarify it to other stakeholders.
So what is the best way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are lots of means, each individual bringing a unique lens. Getting reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies in excess of the many years — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I’ve distilled 10 patterns that I have noticed on their possess and in mixture together.
1. Vendor Class Map
Often using the taxonomy from our marketing technology landscape, martech apps are structured into their products classes and subcategories. It reveals your stack by way of the lens of a seller market place map and identifies the products and solutions you have picked. This is a wonderful way to examine your total stack inventory and show the span of martech options.
Here’s an case in point from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Consumer Journey Map
One more frequent product is to align your martech stack in opposition to various phase of the customer’s journey. Generally for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 stages, this kind of as Learn, Think about, Obtain, Onboard, and Expand.
This great example from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the consumer journey horizontally and the vendor categories employed vertically:
3. Back again-Stage vs. Entrance-Phase
Another way of looking at your stack is by means of a theater metaphor: back-phase and entrance-phase apps and platforms. Front-phase apps specifically touch the shopper — e.g., internet ordeals, electronic mail strategies, social media engagement applications, advertising, and many others. Back-stage apps are employed to provide internal stakeholders, these kinds of as analytics, scheduling, asset management, efficiency, and so forth.
This is an stylish instance from Pink Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back again-stage to front-stage categorization alongside the vertical accessibility and client journey phase alongside the horizontal axis:
4. Purpose or Function-Primarily based Map
While martech stacks can be pretty large, any 1 man or woman in the marketing division is not likely to have to learn all of the apps in it. Diverse roles within marketing and advertising will use various resources. So another helpful way of mapping your martech stack is to group applications by the roles or features that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is valuable to see the interrelation concerning applications, abilities, and outcomes.
This instance from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few main roles: web administration, advertising and marketing automation, and articles internet marketing:
5. Issue Resolution/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is vital to an powerful martech stack. An additional terrific way to visually analyze your stack is to show the system(s) that are the gravitational middle(s) of your martech stack and which professional apps combine to each of them. It’s an ecosystem see of your stack.
This instance from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry truly captures 5 distinctive dimensions, including relative expense, paid out/attained/owned solutions, seller category — and identifies platforms, integrated specialist apps, and stand-alone stage solutions:
6. Utilization Map (Relative Time in Resources)
Some martech apps are utilised consistently, as an integral part of marketing’s working day-to-working day operations. Other apps, even so, are a lot more specialised and employed much less often. This does not signify they’re not beneficial. They just have a time and place for their intent. Pinpointing seriously-applied key applications vs. flippantly-made use of applications specialists can be one more insightful way to fully grasp the composition of your stack.
This case in point from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster applications mostly by their use situation — planning, imaginative, engagement, seller channel, and measurement — but the height of the pine tree icons represents the relative time entrepreneurs shell out interacting with every resource:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
Whilst looking at the amount of time that consumers shell out engaged with distinct equipment in your stack, it is an appealing lens to look at how automatic people resources are. Which equipment are used generally manually? Which ones have sizeable automations? This view can be helpful the two to understand the connection among equipment and advertising and marketing system and operations. It can also help detect opportunities to automate.
Automation is the most important frontier in Massive Ops in my view.
This example from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech apps on two dimensions: distinct advertising abilities and the degree to which they are automatic:
8. Pace Layering of Platforms and Apps
More than a decade back, as tech stacks in common — not just martech — were being growing rapidly, Gartner proposed a way to organize them by “tempo layer.” They instructed a few levels: systems of document, systems of differentiation, and techniques of innovation.
Programs of document should really be extremely stable and have a slow pace of alter. They are the platforms upon which other computer software and services count. Methods of differentiation embody the processes and ordeals that make your business enterprise special. They alter far more usually, but are nonetheless reasonably secure. Programs of innovation are more experimental, the position where new capabilities can be designed and piloted swiftly.
One particular of the greatest Stackie entries was this just one from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped applications along the infinite loop of customer journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s three tempo levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Applications Over Time
Martech stacks don’t stand even now. New instruments are extra. Outdated resources are replaced. This is aspect of the pure evolution of a organization as it grows — and as the broader promoting and martech setting carries on to adjust all around it. It can be practical to study your martech stack by the lens of its modifying application stock above time.
This case in point, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, exhibits a 5-year journey of a smaller economical products and services enterprise:
10. Linked Abilities Map
At the intersection of groups and applications, abilities are developed. Rather than hunting at your stack via the lens of vendor classes, you can arrange a look at all over distinct capabilities, this kind of as marketplaces, person-produced articles, content syndication, qualitative and quantitative research, etc. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to clearly show their adjacencies and relationships with each individual other provides you a picture of the ecosystem about your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a terrific illustration:
Other Means to Map Your Stack
Of class, there are many other methods to visualize other proportions of your stack.
For instance, you might organize it about aggregation technologies within just your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating data, workflow, encounter, and governance across a lot of various applications, details sources, and buyer touchpoints? Which tools are you making use of to vertically integrate individuals layers inside of particular domains, such as CRM?
Alternatively, you could possibly illustrate your stack to emphasize the degree of customization in just different applications and platforms. They may well selection of purely out-of-the-box industrial applications, to packaged items that have been custom made or prolonged with your own code, to completely custom applications that are unique to your business.
Just about every of these distinct techniques can give you distinct insights into the nature of your stack — and help you talk them to stakeholders throughout your group.
What does your martech stack look like?
Reminder: Even if you really don’t enter The Stackies you — though we unquestionably hope you do — really don’t neglect to indication up for the totally free webinar on #MartechDay, May perhaps 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.
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