This is the 8th calendar year we’re jogging The Stackies. It’s an awards method that invites marketers to share a solitary slide illustrating their martech stack — the diverse apps and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them performing with each other.
I’d stimulate you to take part (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a excellent way to contribute to our community’s knowing of how martech matches into the purpose and stream of contemporary internet marketing.
Nonetheless, even if you never ever share your stack outside the house the walls of your business, illustrating it can be an very beneficial physical exercise to better recognize it — and be able to describe it to other stakeholders.
So what’s the best way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are numerous techniques, every bringing a various lens. Obtaining reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies in excess of the years — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I’ve distilled 10 designs that I’ve witnessed on their individual and in combination collectively.
1. Seller Group Map
Generally making use of the taxonomy from our advertising and marketing technology landscape, martech apps are structured into their solution groups and subcategories. It reveals your stack by means of the lens of a seller current market map and identifies the products and solutions you’ve picked. This is a terrific way to examine your all round stack stock and clearly show the span of martech answers.
Here’s an example from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Consumer Journey Map
A different common product is to align your martech stack versus unique phase of the customer’s journey. Typically for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 levels, this sort of as Discover, Take into account, Get, Onboard, and Develop.
This wonderful case in point from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the purchaser journey horizontally and the vendor types made use of vertically:
3. Back-Stage vs. Front-Stage
An additional way of looking at your stack is as a result of a theater metaphor: back-stage and front-phase apps and platforms. Entrance-phase apps specifically touch the client — e.g., world-wide-web activities, electronic mail strategies, social media engagement applications, advertising and marketing, and so on. Back-stage apps are utilized to serve interior stakeholders, these kinds of as analytics, scheduling, asset management, efficiency, etc.
This is an elegant case in point from Pink Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back again-stage to entrance-phase categorization together the vertical accessibility and consumer journey phase alongside the horizontal axis:
4. Function or Function-Dependent Map
While martech stacks can be rather significant, any just one man or woman in the promoting office is unlikely to have to discover all of the apps within it. Unique roles inside of internet marketing will use unique tools. So one more 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 handy to see the interrelation amongst apps, skills, and results.
This instance from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates three most important roles: internet administration, promoting automation, and content material advertising:
5. Place Solution/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is essential to an efficient martech stack. An additional terrific way to visually analyze your stack is to display the system(s) that are the gravitational centre(s) of your martech stack and which specialist applications combine to each individual of them. It’s an ecosystem check out of your stack.
This instance from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry in fact captures five distinct dimensions, which includes relative financial investment, compensated/earned/owned answers, vendor group — and identifies platforms, integrated professional applications, and stand-by yourself issue answers:
6. Use Map (Relative Time in Resources)
Some martech applications are made use of regularly, as an integral component of marketing’s working day-to-day operations. Other apps, nonetheless, are extra specialised and employed much less often. This does not necessarily mean they are not valuable. They just have a time and spot for their reason. Identifying closely-made use of primary equipment vs. lightly-employed applications experts can be an additional insightful way to understand the composition of your stack.
This illustration from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps mostly by their use situation — planning, imaginative, engagement, dealer channel, and measurement — but the top of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time entrepreneurs commit interacting with every single instrument:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
When contemplating the volume of time that consumers expend engaged with distinctive equipment in your stack, it is an fascinating lens to analyze how automated all those instruments are. Which applications are made use of mostly manually? Which kinds have important automations? This watch can be handy both to comprehend the romantic relationship between equipment and advertising and marketing system and functions. It can also aid detect possibilities to automate.
Automation is the most important frontier in Large Ops in my opinion.
This example from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two dimensions: distinct advertising abilities and the diploma to which they are automated:
8. Tempo Layering of Platforms and Applications
In excess of a ten years back, as tech stacks in standard — not just martech — were growing quickly, Gartner proposed a way to arrange them by “speed layer.” They advised three levels: devices of history, programs of differentiation, and techniques of innovation.
Units of file need to be extremely steady and have a slow tempo of transform. They’re the platforms upon which other application and services rely. Units of differentiation embody the processes and activities that make your business enterprise one of a kind. They modify additional regularly, but are however reasonably steady. Programs of innovation are a lot more experimental, the location wherever new abilities can be developed and piloted quickly.
Just one of the ideal Stackie entries was this 1 from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped instruments together the infinite loop of buyer journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s 3 speed layers:
9. Evolution of Martech Instruments In excess of Time
Martech stacks do not stand even now. New applications are extra. Aged tools are replaced. This is aspect of the natural evolution of a organization as it grows — and as the broader internet marketing and martech ecosystem proceeds to transform around it. It can be useful to study your martech stack as a result of the lens of its transforming app inventory about time.
This illustration, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, exhibits a five-calendar year journey of a tiny economic providers enterprise:
10. Associated Abilities Map
At the intersection of groups and instruments, abilities are formulated. Instead than on the lookout at your stack via the lens of seller classes, you can arrange a watch close to diverse capabilities, such as marketplaces, user-produced content, content material syndication, qualitative and quantitative exploration, and so forth. Mapping these abilities in clusters, to show their adjacencies and associations with just about every other presents you a photograph of the ecosystem all around your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a wonderful illustration:
Other Methods to Map Your Stack
Of program, there are a lot of other means to visualize other proportions of your stack.
For occasion, you may arrange it close to aggregation technologies within your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating knowledge, workflow, knowledge, and governance throughout a lot of different applications, data sources, and purchaser touchpoints? Which tools are you utilizing to vertically integrate those people layers within unique domains, this kind of as CRM?
Alternatively, you could possibly illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization within unique applications and platforms. They may well range of purely out-of-the-box commercial apps, to packaged products and solutions that have been personalized or extended with your have code, to absolutely personalized applications that are exceptional to your company.
Every of these unique approaches can give you diverse insights into the mother nature of your stack — and aid you talk them to stakeholders throughout your business.
What does your martech stack glimpse like?
Reminder: Even if you really do not enter The Stackies yourself — while we unquestionably hope you do — never forget about to sign up for the 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.