This is the 8th calendar year we’re managing The Stackies. It’s an awards software that invitations marketers to share a solitary slide illustrating their martech stack — the diverse applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing the job jointly.
I’d encourage you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It is a amazing way to add to our community’s knowledge of how martech matches into the perform and stream of modern-day promoting.
Nonetheless, even if you never share your stack outdoors the partitions of your enterprise, illustrating it can be an amazingly valuable work out to far better realize it — and be equipped to describe it to other stakeholders.
So what is the greatest way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are lots of approaches, each individual bringing a distinctive lens. Obtaining reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies around the a long time — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I have distilled 10 designs that I have observed on their possess and in mix jointly.
1. Seller Classification Map
Usually using the taxonomy from our promoting know-how landscape, martech apps are organized into their solution groups and subcategories. It shows your stack by the lens of a seller marketplace map and identifies the products and solutions you’ve selected. This is a wonderful way to study your overall stack stock and show the span of martech solutions.
Here’s an case in point from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Buyer Journey Map
Another widespread design is to align your martech stack from diverse phase of the customer’s journey. Typically for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 levels, this kind of as Learn, Consider, Obtain, Onboard, and Develop.
This terrific example from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the purchaser journey horizontally and the seller categories used vertically:
3. Again-Phase vs. Entrance-Stage
Another way of hunting at your stack is by a theater metaphor: back-stage and front-phase applications and platforms. Entrance-stage apps instantly contact the customer — e.g., net encounters, e mail campaigns, social media engagement resources, advertising and marketing, and so on. Back-stage apps are utilized to provide internal stakeholders, these as analytics, arranging, asset management, efficiency, etc.
This is an elegant case in point from Red Wing Footwear and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back again-stage to front-phase categorization along the vertical access and client journey phase alongside the horizontal axis:
4. Operate or Job-Dependent Map
Even though martech stacks can be rather large, any 1 particular person in the internet marketing section is unlikely to have to discover all of the apps inside of it. Distinctive roles inside advertising and marketing will use various applications. So a further helpful way of mapping your martech stack is to group applications by the roles or capabilities that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is useful to see the interrelation between apps, abilities, and outcomes.
This illustration from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates 3 most important roles: web management, marketing automation, and material internet marketing:
5. Stage Solution/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is vital to an helpful martech stack. Another terrific way to visually analyze your stack is to present the platform(s) that are the gravitational centre(s) of your martech stack and which expert apps combine to each and every of them. It’s an ecosystem look at of your stack.
This case in point from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry really captures 5 diverse dimensions, such as relative investment decision, compensated/acquired/owned remedies, seller category — and identifies platforms, integrated expert applications, and stand-by itself stage methods:
6. Use Map (Relative Time in Equipment)
Some martech apps are applied continually, as an integral element of marketing’s working day-to-day functions. Other apps, on the other hand, are extra specialised and utilised much less usually. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not worthwhile. They just have a time and position for their objective. Identifying heavily-utilized major resources vs. flippantly-employed resources experts can be a further insightful way to have an understanding of the composition of your stack.
This example from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster applications generally by their use situation — planning, creative, engagement, dealer channel, and measurement — but the top of the pine tree icons represents the relative time marketers expend interacting with each instrument:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
Even though thinking about the amount of time that end users spend engaged with diverse equipment in your stack, it’s an attention-grabbing lens to analyze how automated individuals tools are. Which instruments are utilized typically manually? Which ones have important automations? This see can be valuable the two to have an understanding of the relationship concerning instruments and advertising and marketing course of action and functions. It can also aid recognize chances to automate.
Automation is the major frontier in Massive Ops in my feeling.
This illustration from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two proportions: diverse marketing and advertising capabilities and the diploma to which they are automatic:
8. Tempo Layering of Platforms and Applications
More than a 10 years back, as tech stacks in typical — not just martech — were being expanding fast, Gartner proposed a way to organize them by “tempo layer.” They suggested 3 layers: devices of history, techniques of differentiation, and techniques of innovation.
Methods of history must be extremely steady and have a gradual pace of adjust. They’re the platforms upon which other application and providers rely. Devices of differentiation embody the procedures and encounters that make your enterprise distinctive. They adjust much more often, but are still reasonably secure. Systems of innovation are extra experimental, the location where new abilities can be produced and piloted promptly.
One of the ideal Stackie entries was this just one from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped resources along the infinite loop of customer journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s 3 speed layers:
9. Evolution of Martech Equipment In excess of Time
Martech stacks really do not stand still. New instruments are included. Previous applications are changed. This is portion of the purely natural evolution of a business as it grows — and as the broader advertising and martech setting carries on to transform all over it. It can be helpful to look at your martech stack by the lens of its altering app stock around time.
This illustration, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, displays a five-calendar year journey of a compact financial providers company:
10. Related Capabilities Map
At the intersection of groups and resources, capabilities are produced. Instead than wanting at your stack as a result of the lens of seller groups, you can set up a see all around various abilities, these kinds of as marketplaces, person-created content material, articles syndication, qualitative and quantitative investigate, etc. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to exhibit their adjacencies and relationships with each and every other presents you a photo of the ecosystem around your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a wonderful case in point:
Other Means to Map Your Stack
Of program, there are numerous other approaches to visualize other proportions of your stack.
For instance, you could possibly arrange it all around aggregation technologies in your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating info, workflow, knowledge, and governance across numerous various applications, facts sources, and shopper touchpoints? Which applications are you using to vertically integrate people layers in just unique domains, such as CRM?
Alternatively, you could possibly illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization in just unique applications and platforms. They might variety of purely out-of-the-box commercial apps, to packaged products and solutions that have been customized or extended with your have code, to totally custom apps that are exclusive to your organization.
Each of these distinctive ways can give you unique insights into the nature of your stack — and help you talk them to stakeholders across your corporation.
What does your martech stack look like?
Reminder: Even if you really do not enter The Stackies you — despite the fact that we undoubtedly hope you do — don’t fail to remember to sign up for the cost-free webinar on #MartechDay, May perhaps 3. We’ll be unveiling the new 2022 martech landscape, releasing a State of Martech report, and celebrating the entrants and winners of this year’s Stackie Awards.