This is the 8th yr we’re functioning The Stackies. It is an awards system that invitations entrepreneurs to share a solitary slide illustrating their martech stack — the different apps and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing work with each other.
I’d persuade you to take part (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a excellent way to lead to our community’s knowing of how martech matches into the perform and move of contemporary advertising.
On the other hand, even if you hardly ever share your stack outside the house the walls of your firm, illustrating it can be an extremely valuable exercising to superior recognize it — and be ready to clarify it to other stakeholders.
So what’s the best way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are lots of techniques, each individual bringing a various lens. Owning reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies over 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 observed on their have and in blend together.
1. Vendor Classification Map
Frequently employing the taxonomy from our advertising technological innovation landscape, martech applications are arranged into their products classes and subcategories. It demonstrates your stack as a result of the lens of a seller current market map and identifies the merchandise you have selected. This is a good way to examine your all round stack inventory and exhibit the span of martech options.
Here’s an illustration from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Customer Journey Map
One more prevalent product is to align your martech stack in opposition to diverse stage of the customer’s journey. Frequently for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 phases, such as Find out, Look at, Obtain, Onboard, and Develop.
This great illustration from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the client journey horizontally and the vendor groups used vertically:
3. Again-Phase vs. Entrance-Stage
A different way of hunting at your stack is through a theater metaphor: back again-stage and front-phase apps and platforms. Front-phase apps directly contact the purchaser — e.g., net encounters, e mail strategies, social media engagement instruments, advertising and marketing, and so on. Back-stage apps are applied to provide internal stakeholders, this sort of as analytics, preparing, asset administration, productivity, and so on.
This is an sophisticated illustration from Red Wing Footwear and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back-stage to entrance-stage categorization along the vertical entry and buyer journey phase alongside the horizontal axis:
4. Function or Role-Based mostly Map
Although martech stacks can be pretty significant, any just one person in the advertising and marketing division is not likely to have to find out all of the apps in it. Distinctive roles in internet marketing will use different equipment. So a different handy way of mapping your martech stack is to group apps by the roles or functions that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is helpful to see the interrelation between apps, skills, and results.
This illustration from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates 3 main roles: world wide web management, marketing automation, and information promoting:
5. Level Option/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is crucial to an productive martech stack. A different terrific way to visually analyze your stack is to display the system(s) that are the gravitational middle(s) of your martech stack and which specialist apps combine to each individual of them. It’s an ecosystem see of your stack.
This illustration from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry basically captures five distinctive dimensions, which include relative investment, paid out/earned/owned methods, seller classification — and identifies platforms, integrated expert applications, and stand-on your own issue answers:
6. Usage Map (Relative Time in Equipment)
Some martech apps are made use of regularly, as an integral portion of marketing’s working day-to-day operations. Other applications, however, are additional specialized and made use of significantly less usually. This does not indicate they are not worthwhile. They just have a time and put for their objective. Identifying seriously-employed key tools vs. flippantly-employed instruments experts can be a further insightful way to realize the composition of your stack.
This example from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps largely by their use case — planning, creative, engagement, vendor channel, and measurement — but the height of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time marketers devote interacting with each device:
7. Relative Diploma of Automation
Although considering the sum of time that buyers devote engaged with distinct resources in your stack, it’s an attention-grabbing lens to study how automatic individuals instruments are. Which tools are utilized mainly manually? Which types have sizeable automations? This check out can be helpful both to comprehend the romance amongst equipment and advertising and marketing process and functions. It can also support detect chances to automate.
Automation is the largest frontier in Major Ops in my opinion.
This instance from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two proportions: distinct promoting abilities and the degree to which they are automated:
8. Tempo Layering of Platforms and Apps
Around a ten years ago, as tech stacks in standard — not just martech — had been growing swiftly, Gartner proposed a way to manage them by “tempo layer.” They proposed three layers: systems of history, techniques of differentiation, and methods of innovation.
Methods of record should really be incredibly steady and have a slow pace of change. They’re the platforms on which other software program and solutions depend. Techniques of differentiation embody the processes and experiences that make your small business special. They modify far more frequently, but are even now reasonably secure. Units of innovation are a lot more experimental, the location in which new capabilities can be formulated and piloted speedily.
A person of the greatest Stackie entries was this one particular from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped resources together the infinite loop of purchaser journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s three speed layers:
9. Evolution of Martech Tools Over Time
Martech stacks really don’t stand still. New equipment are added. Outdated resources are replaced. This is component of the normal evolution of a company as it grows — and as the broader advertising and marketing and martech natural environment carries on to alter about it. It can be valuable to analyze your martech stack through the lens of its shifting application stock around time.
This illustration, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, exhibits a 5-year journey of a tiny financial companies enterprise:
10. Related Abilities Map
At the intersection of teams and tools, capabilities are made. Alternatively than seeking at your stack as a result of the lens of vendor categories, you can organize a look at about diverse capabilities, these as marketplaces, person-generated material, written content syndication, qualitative and quantitative investigation, etcetera. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to demonstrate their adjacencies and associations with each and every other gives you a photo of the ecosystem all-around your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a wonderful case in point:
Other Methods to Map Your Stack
Of study course, there are many other ways to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For occasion, you could possibly arrange it about aggregation systems within just your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating info, workflow, expertise, and governance throughout numerous distinctive applications, info resources, and customer touchpoints? Which instruments are you applying to vertically combine these layers within just specific domains, this kind of as CRM?
Alternatively, you might illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization inside unique applications and platforms. They could possibly array of purely out-of-the-box commercial apps, to packaged products that have been customized or prolonged with your very own code, to absolutely customized apps that are exclusive to your organization.
Every of these various approaches can give you unique insights into the nature of your stack — and assist you converse them to stakeholders throughout your business.
What does your martech stack seem like?
Reminder: Even if you really don’t enter The Stackies yourself — while we definitely hope you do — don’t ignore to indication up for the totally free webinar on #MartechDay, Might 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.