This is the 8th yr we’re working The Stackies. It’s an awards program that invitations marketers to share a single slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinctive apps and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them performing alongside one another.
I’d inspire you to take part (deadline for entries April 29). It is a excellent way to add to our community’s being familiar with of how martech fits into the functionality and move of contemporary advertising.
Nonetheless, even if you never ever share your stack outdoors the partitions of your firm, illustrating it can be an unbelievably beneficial physical exercise to superior understand it — and be able to explain it to other stakeholders.
So what is the ideal way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are quite a few ways, each bringing a different lens. Possessing reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies more than the several years — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I have distilled 10 patterns that I have noticed on their personal and in mixture jointly.
1. Vendor Category Map
Typically working with the taxonomy from our promoting know-how landscape, martech apps are arranged into their product groups and subcategories. It shows your stack by way of the lens of a seller market place map and identifies the solutions you have selected. This is a wonderful way to examine your overall stack stock and display the span of martech methods.
Here’s an illustration from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Shopper Journey Map
Yet another widespread model is to align your martech stack versus distinctive stage of the customer’s journey. Normally for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 stages, these kinds of as Discover, Take into account, Get, Onboard, and Expand.
This great example from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the shopper journey horizontally and the seller types applied vertically:
3. Again-Phase vs. Entrance-Phase
One more way of wanting at your stack is through a theater metaphor: again-phase and entrance-phase apps and platforms. Front-phase apps specifically touch the client — e.g., world wide web experiences, e mail strategies, social media engagement applications, advertising, and many others. Back-phase apps are utilized to serve internal stakeholders, these types of as analytics, scheduling, asset management, productivity, etcetera.
This is an elegant instance from Red Wing Footwear and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back again-phase to entrance-stage categorization alongside the vertical entry and purchaser journey phase together the horizontal axis:
4. Operate or Part-Primarily based Map
While martech stacks can be fairly large, any one particular human being in the marketing and advertising section is unlikely to have to master all of the applications in just it. Distinct roles inside of promoting will use distinctive tools. So another useful way of mapping your martech stack is to group apps by the roles or capabilities that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is handy to see the interrelation among applications, competencies, and results.
This case in point from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few main roles: internet management, internet marketing automation, and written content internet marketing:
5. Level Alternative/Platform Ecosystem Map
Integration is essential to an helpful martech stack. One more fantastic way to visually examine your stack is to exhibit the platform(s) that are the gravitational center(s) of your martech stack and which specialist applications combine to every single of them. It’s an ecosystem perspective of your stack.
This case in point from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry truly captures 5 distinctive dimensions, which includes relative expenditure, paid/acquired/owned remedies, vendor classification — and identifies platforms, built-in professional apps, and stand-by yourself stage methods:
6. Usage Map (Relative Time in Resources)
Some martech apps are employed continuously, as an integral aspect of marketing’s day-to-working day functions. Other apps, however, are more specialised and used significantly less often. This does not signify they’re not useful. They just have a time and position for their objective. Identifying closely-applied most important tools vs. flippantly-made use of applications specialists can be yet another insightful way to fully grasp the composition of your stack.
This instance from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps generally by their use scenario — planning, imaginative, engagement, vendor channel, and measurement — but the height of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time entrepreneurs devote interacting with each and every software:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
Although contemplating the amount of money of time that customers expend engaged with various resources in your stack, it is an fascinating lens to examine how automatic those people equipment are. Which instruments are made use of largely manually? Which kinds have substantial automations? This see can be handy the two to fully grasp the connection between resources and advertising process and operations. It can also help discover prospects to automate.
Automation is the largest frontier in Major Ops in my belief.
This case in point from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two proportions: various advertising capabilities and the diploma to which they are automatic:
8. Pace Layering of Platforms and Apps
In excess of a ten years back, as tech stacks in basic — not just martech — had been growing speedily, Gartner proposed a way to manage them by “speed layer.” They instructed a few layers: techniques of document, methods of differentiation, and systems of innovation.
Techniques of history should be quite stable and have a gradual speed of alter. They are the platforms on which other software program and providers depend. Programs of differentiation embody the processes and activities that make your enterprise one of a kind. They change extra often, but are however reasonably stable. Units of innovation are extra experimental, the spot in which new capabilities can be produced and piloted immediately.
One of the finest Stackie entries was this 1 from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped instruments together the infinite loop of consumer journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s three pace layers:
9. Evolution of Martech Instruments In excess of Time
Martech stacks never stand nevertheless. New applications are included. Outdated resources are changed. This is portion of the all-natural evolution of a small business as it grows — and as the broader promoting and martech environment carries on to adjust all around it. It can be helpful to take a look at your martech stack by way of the lens of its transforming application stock about time.
This illustration, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, demonstrates a 5-calendar year journey of a smaller fiscal solutions enterprise:
10. Similar Capabilities Map
At the intersection of teams and applications, capabilities are formulated. Fairly than on the lookout at your stack as a result of the lens of vendor groups, you can arrange a see all over distinctive capabilities, this kind of as marketplaces, person-produced content, information syndication, qualitative and quantitative study, and many others. Mapping these abilities in clusters, to display their adjacencies and associations with each other presents you a photograph of the ecosystem close to your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a wonderful example:
Other Techniques to Map Your Stack
Of class, there are several other strategies to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For occasion, you may organize it all around aggregation technologies in just your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating details, workflow, practical experience, and governance across several various applications, details resources, and shopper touchpoints? Which tools are you making use of to vertically combine all those levels in just certain domains, these as CRM?
Alternatively, you could possibly illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization within just distinct applications and platforms. They might selection of purely out-of-the-box commercial apps, to packaged goods that have been customized or extended with your own code, to wholly custom made applications that are exceptional to your enterprise.
Just about every of these unique approaches can give you distinct insights into the mother nature of your stack — and assistance you talk them to stakeholders throughout your organization.
What does your martech stack glimpse like?
Reminder: Even if you really do not enter The Stackies your self — even though we undoubtedly hope you do — never fail to remember to indication up for the no cost webinar on #MartechDay, Could 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.