This is the 8th year we’re working The Stackies. It is an awards system that invitations entrepreneurs to share a single slide illustrating their martech stack — the various applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing the job collectively.
I’d encourage you to take part (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a excellent way to add to our community’s knowing of how martech matches into the operate and circulation of contemporary internet marketing.
Even so, even if you hardly ever share your stack outside the house the partitions of your corporation, illustrating it can be an very handy exercise to far better fully grasp it — and be in a position to describe it to other stakeholders.
So what’s the most effective way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are numerous methods, every single bringing a distinctive lens. Acquiring 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’ve observed on their own and in combination jointly.
1. Vendor Group Map
Normally employing the taxonomy from our marketing know-how landscape, martech apps are structured into their product classes and subcategories. It demonstrates your stack as a result of the lens of a seller marketplace map and identifies the products you’ve picked. This is a fantastic way to analyze your all round stack inventory and show the span of martech solutions.
Here’s an case in point from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Customer Journey Map
One more common model is to align your martech stack in opposition to different stage of the customer’s journey. Frequently for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 phases, this sort of as Learn, Take into account, Invest in, Onboard, and Develop.
This fantastic example from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the shopper journey horizontally and the vendor types utilized vertically:
3. Back again-Stage vs. Front-Phase
A further way of wanting at your stack is via a theater metaphor: back-stage and front-stage applications and platforms. Entrance-phase apps straight contact the shopper — e.g., net activities, electronic mail campaigns, social media engagement tools, marketing, and so forth. Again-phase applications are made use of to provide inner stakeholders, these as analytics, scheduling, asset administration, productivity, etcetera.
This is an tasteful instance from Purple Wing Footwear and their 2017 Stackie entry, with again-phase to entrance-phase categorization alongside the vertical access and client journey phase together the horizontal axis:
4. Function or Function-Dependent Map
Although martech stacks can be fairly large, any just one human being in the advertising division is not likely to have to study all of the applications within it. Distinct roles in advertising and marketing will use distinct tools. So one more valuable way of mapping your martech stack is to group applications by the roles or functions that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is valuable to see the interrelation in between applications, capabilities, and outcomes.
This example from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few principal roles: world wide web management, marketing and advertising automation, and information marketing:
5. Position Resolution/Platform Ecosystem Map
Integration is vital to an helpful martech stack. A further good way to visually examine your stack is to display the system(s) that are the gravitational center(s) of your martech stack and which specialist apps integrate to each of them. It’s an ecosystem perspective of your stack.
This instance from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry in fact captures five unique proportions, which include relative financial investment, paid out/earned/owned options, vendor category — and identifies platforms, built-in expert applications, and stand-on your own level alternatives:
6. Usage Map (Relative Time in Equipment)
Some martech apps are used frequently, as an integral component of marketing’s working day-to-working day functions. Other apps, even so, are more specialized and utilized significantly less commonly. This does not imply they’re not important. They just have a time and put for their purpose. Figuring out seriously-applied principal equipment vs. lightly-made use of instruments experts can be an additional insightful way to realize the composition of your stack.
This case in point from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster applications primarily by their use circumstance — planning, resourceful, engagement, supplier channel, and measurement — but the height of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time marketers invest interacting with just about every device:
7. Relative Diploma of Automation
Even though thinking about the amount of money of time that customers invest engaged with different instruments in your stack, it’s an appealing lens to take a look at how automated these equipment are. Which instruments are used mainly manually? Which types have major automations? This perspective can be valuable both equally to understand the relationship in between resources and promoting procedure and functions. It can also assistance recognize alternatives to automate.
Automation is the biggest frontier in Huge Ops in my viewpoint.
This example from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two proportions: diverse advertising capabilities and the degree to which they are automatic:
8. Tempo Layering of Platforms and Applications
In excess of a ten years ago, as tech stacks in common — not just martech — were being growing rapidly, Gartner proposed a way to arrange them by “pace layer.” They instructed a few levels: units of report, techniques of differentiation, and programs of innovation.
Programs of document should really be very secure and have a gradual speed of change. They are the platforms upon which other computer software and products and services depend. Units of differentiation embody the procedures and ordeals that make your company unique. They change additional frequently, but are continue to relatively steady. Techniques of innovation are extra experimental, the spot exactly where new capabilities can be created and piloted promptly.
A person of the very best Stackie entries was this one from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped tools together the infinite loop of buyer journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s three tempo layers:
9. Evolution of Martech Instruments In excess of Time
Martech stacks never stand even now. New resources are included. Aged instruments are changed. This is portion of the organic evolution of a business enterprise as it grows — and as the broader internet marketing and martech natural environment continues to modify all over it. It can be valuable to look at your martech stack by way of the lens of its shifting app stock in excess of time.
This illustration, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, demonstrates a five-12 months journey of a compact economic expert services business enterprise:
10. Similar Capabilities Map
At the intersection of groups and tools, abilities are designed. Relatively than searching at your stack by means of the lens of vendor classes, you can set up a look at around various capabilities, this kind of as marketplaces, person-created content material, written content syndication, qualitative and quantitative investigate, and so forth. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to present their adjacencies and interactions with every other provides you a photograph of the ecosystem about your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a marvelous illustration:
Other Approaches to Map Your Stack
Of course, there are many other techniques to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For occasion, you may well organize it all over aggregation systems in your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating knowledge, workflow, knowledge, and governance throughout lots of different applications, information sources, and client touchpoints? Which instruments are you employing to vertically combine those levels inside unique domains, these as CRM?
Alternatively, you may illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization within just various applications and platforms. They may selection of purely out-of-the-box business apps, to packaged products and solutions that have been customized or extended with your have code, to fully personalized applications that are one of a kind to your company.
Each individual of these different techniques can give you different insights into the mother nature of your stack — and aid you talk them to stakeholders throughout your business.
What does your martech stack seem like?
Reminder: Even if you never enter The Stackies you — even though we undoubtedly hope you do — don’t forget to indication up for the totally free webinar on #MartechDay, May possibly 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.