This is the 8th calendar year we’re jogging The Stackies. It’s an awards method that invites marketers to share a one slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinctive apps and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them working alongside one another.
I’d persuade you to take part (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a excellent way to add to our community’s understanding of how martech fits into the purpose and movement of fashionable marketing and advertising.
However, even if you hardly ever share your stack outside the house the walls of your enterprise, illustrating it can be an incredibly helpful exercising to better comprehend it — and be ready to clarify it to other stakeholders.
So what’s the most effective way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are several methods, every bringing a various lens. Possessing 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 designs that I’ve witnessed on their very own and in mixture with each other.
1. Seller Group Map
Typically working with the taxonomy from our advertising technologies landscape, martech applications are structured into their merchandise types and subcategories. It shows your stack as a result of the lens of a seller current market map and identifies the solutions you’ve picked. This is a great way to analyze your general stack stock and display the span of martech answers.
Here’s an instance from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Client Journey Map
One more typical model is to align your martech stack from unique stage of the customer’s journey. Normally for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 phases, these as Find, Take into account, Purchase, Onboard, and Improve.
This fantastic example from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the client journey horizontally and the seller categories used vertically:
3. Back again-Phase vs. Front-Phase
A different way of looking at your stack is by means of a theater metaphor: back-stage and entrance-stage applications and platforms. Front-phase apps specifically contact the client — e.g., website experiences, e-mail strategies, social media engagement instruments, advertising, etc. Back-phase apps are utilized to serve inside stakeholders, these types of as analytics, organizing, asset administration, productivity, and so on.
This is an elegant case in point from Purple Wing Shoes and their 2017 Stackie entry, with again-phase to entrance-stage categorization along the vertical entry and shopper journey stage alongside the horizontal axis:
4. Purpose or Purpose-Centered Map
Although martech stacks can be quite substantial, any one individual in the advertising and marketing section is unlikely to have to find out all of the apps within it. Diverse roles within marketing will use distinct tools. So another valuable way of mapping your martech stack is to team applications by the roles or capabilities that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is beneficial to see the interrelation concerning applications, skills, and outcomes.
This case in point from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few major roles: website management, promoting automation, and articles marketing:
5. Issue Answer/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is crucial to an effective martech stack. One more excellent way to visually evaluate your stack is to show the platform(s) that are the gravitational centre(s) of your martech stack and which expert apps integrate to each of them. It is an ecosystem watch of your stack.
This instance from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry actually captures five different dimensions, including relative investment, paid/attained/owned methods, vendor class — and identifies platforms, integrated expert applications, and stand-by itself place remedies:
6. Utilization Map (Relative Time in Tools)
Some martech applications are applied regularly, as an integral element of marketing’s working day-to-day operations. Other applications, nonetheless, are a lot more specialized and employed fewer regularly. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not beneficial. They just have a time and spot for their purpose. Pinpointing intensely-utilized most important resources vs. flippantly-used tools professionals can be a different insightful way to comprehend the composition of your stack.
This illustration from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster applications generally by their use case — planning, artistic, engagement, dealer channel, and measurement — but the top of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time entrepreneurs expend interacting with each individual tool:
7. Relative Diploma of Automation
Although thinking of the volume of time that people invest engaged with diverse instruments in your stack, it’s an fascinating lens to examine how automated these applications are. Which instruments are used mostly manually? Which ones have sizeable automations? This perspective can be beneficial each to comprehend the relationship among tools and marketing and advertising system and operations. It can also enable recognize alternatives to automate.
Automation is the most significant frontier in Huge Ops in my viewpoint.
This instance from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two dimensions: different marketing abilities and the degree to which they are automated:
8. Speed Layering of Platforms and Apps
More than a 10 years ago, as tech stacks in typical — not just martech — were being increasing rapidly, Gartner proposed a way to organize them by “speed layer.” They advised a few levels: programs of history, programs of differentiation, and techniques of innovation.
Units of report should be incredibly steady and have a gradual tempo of improve. They are the platforms upon which other software program and solutions rely. Devices of differentiation embody the processes and encounters that make your small business exceptional. They modify far more routinely, but are nonetheless comparatively stable. Techniques of innovation are far more experimental, the position where new abilities can be formulated and piloted quickly.
One particular of the very best Stackie entries was this one from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped equipment along the infinite loop of purchaser journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s three speed layers:
9. Evolution of Martech Applications Around Time
Martech stacks really do not stand nevertheless. New instruments are additional. Old tools are replaced. This is part of the normal evolution of a small business as it grows — and as the broader internet marketing and martech environment carries on to transform all-around it. It can be useful to take a look at your martech stack via the lens of its transforming app inventory over time.
This case in point, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, displays a five-yr journey of a modest monetary providers business enterprise:
10. Associated Capabilities Map
At the intersection of teams and equipment, capabilities are designed. Rather than hunting at your stack as a result of the lens of seller categories, you can organize a look at around unique abilities, this sort of as marketplaces, user-produced articles, content syndication, qualitative and quantitative analysis, and many others. Mapping these abilities in clusters, to present their adjacencies and interactions with each and every other offers you a photograph of the ecosystem close to your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a great example:
Other Methods to Map Your Stack
Of study course, there are several other techniques to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For instance, you could possibly arrange it all-around aggregation systems in your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating knowledge, workflow, encounter, and governance throughout a lot of various apps, facts resources, and client touchpoints? Which applications are you working with to vertically combine those people levels within just precise domains, these as CRM?
Alternatively, you may well illustrate your stack to emphasize the degree of customization inside various apps and platforms. They might vary of purely out-of-the-box professional applications, to packaged items that have been personalized or extended with your very own code, to entirely custom made apps that are exclusive to your enterprise.
Each and every of these diverse strategies can give you distinctive insights into the character of your stack — and enable you communicate them to stakeholders across your firm.
What does your martech stack appear like?
Reminder: Even if you do not enter The Stackies on your own — although we undoubtedly hope you do — really don’t forget to indicator up for the absolutely free 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.