This is the 8th year we’re working The Stackies. It is an awards method that invitations marketers to share a single slide illustrating their martech stack — the distinct apps and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing the job alongside one another.
I’d persuade you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a amazing way to add to our community’s knowing of how martech suits into the operate and flow of present day advertising.
On the other hand, even if you never share your stack exterior the partitions of your firm, illustrating it can be an very handy exercise to far better recognize it — and be equipped to describe it to other stakeholders.
So what is the best way to illustrate your stack?
Turns out there are quite a few means, every bringing a different lens. Obtaining reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies around the years — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I have distilled 10 patterns that I have seen on their very own and in mixture jointly.
1. Seller Category Map
Generally utilizing the taxonomy from our internet marketing technological know-how landscape, martech apps are structured into their product types and subcategories. It demonstrates your stack by way of the lens of a seller market place map and identifies the items you’ve picked. This is a great way to study your general stack stock and present the span of martech answers.
Here’s an instance from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Shopper Journey Map
A different popular design is to align your martech stack in opposition to diverse phase of the customer’s journey. Frequently for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 levels, these types of as Learn, Contemplate, Invest in, Onboard, and Develop.
This wonderful instance from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the purchaser journey horizontally and the seller groups made use of vertically:
3. Again-Stage vs. Front-Stage
Yet another way of on the lookout at your stack is by means of a theater metaphor: again-phase and entrance-phase apps and platforms. Entrance-phase apps right touch the buyer — e.g., net experiences, e mail strategies, social media engagement tools, advertising, etcetera. Back-stage apps are utilized to provide internal stakeholders, this kind of as analytics, preparing, asset administration, productivity, etc.
This is an exquisite illustration from Red Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back-phase to front-stage categorization along the vertical obtain and buyer journey phase alongside the horizontal axis:
4. Perform or Position-Dependent Map
Though martech stacks can be pretty large, any just one particular person in the promoting section is not likely to have to discover all of the apps within it. Unique roles inside of marketing and advertising will use unique tools. So an additional 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 useful to see the interrelation in between applications, abilities, and outcomes.
This case in point from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates three most important roles: web administration, advertising and marketing automation, and content advertising and marketing:
5. Place Option/Platform Ecosystem Map
Integration is important to an powerful martech stack. One more wonderful way to visually review your stack is to clearly show the system(s) that are the gravitational centre(s) of your martech stack and which specialist applications integrate to each of them. It’s an ecosystem view of your stack.
This example from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry actually captures five distinct dimensions, together with relative financial commitment, paid/acquired/owned options, vendor class — and identifies platforms, built-in specialist applications, and stand-by yourself issue methods:
6. Utilization Map (Relative Time in Tools)
Some martech apps are applied continuously, as an integral section of marketing’s working day-to-day functions. Other apps, on the other hand, are extra specialized and utilised significantly less routinely. This does not imply they’re not precious. They just have a time and position for their function. Identifying seriously-utilised most important equipment vs. flippantly-used equipment experts can be another insightful way to understand the composition of your stack.
This example from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps primarily by their use case — planning, inventive, engagement, vendor channel, and measurement — but the height of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time marketers spend interacting with every single device:
7. Relative Diploma of Automation
Whilst thinking of the total of time that buyers devote engaged with distinctive applications in your stack, it is an exciting lens to study how automatic all those tools are. Which applications are utilized generally manually? Which kinds have considerable automations? This perspective can be practical the two to understand the connection amongst instruments and advertising course of action and functions. It can also help discover chances to automate.
Automation is the most significant frontier in Massive Ops in my feeling.
This instance from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech apps on two dimensions: diverse advertising abilities and the diploma to which they are automatic:
8. Rate Layering of Platforms and Applications
More than a 10 years in the past, as tech stacks in typical — not just martech — have been growing swiftly, Gartner proposed a way to manage them by “speed layer.” They suggested a few layers: devices of document, devices of differentiation, and techniques of innovation.
Devices of history ought to be very secure and have a gradual speed of improve. They’re the platforms upon which other software package and expert services rely. Units of differentiation embody the processes and ordeals that make your business exceptional. They transform more frequently, but are even now comparatively secure. Methods of innovation are far more experimental, the area exactly where new abilities can be created and piloted rapidly.
A person of the very best Stackie entries was this one particular from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped instruments together the infinite loop of customer journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s three pace levels:
9. Evolution of Martech Instruments Above Time
Martech stacks never stand continue to. New tools are added. Old equipment are changed. This is part of the purely natural evolution of a business enterprise as it grows — and as the broader marketing and martech natural environment proceeds to transform all over it. It can be helpful to study your martech stack by way of the lens of its switching app inventory around time.
This illustration, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, demonstrates a 5-yr journey of a little economic products and services business:
10. Linked Abilities Map
At the intersection of groups and tools, capabilities are produced. Fairly than on the lookout at your stack through the lens of vendor groups, you can organize a see all around distinctive abilities, this kind of as marketplaces, user-generated written content, content syndication, qualitative and quantitative analysis, and so on. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to display their adjacencies and relationships with each and every other offers you a photo of the ecosystem all-around your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a wonderful instance:
Other Ways to Map Your Stack
Of course, there are several other techniques to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For occasion, you could possibly arrange it around aggregation technologies in just your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating facts, workflow, knowledge, and governance across a lot of various apps, data resources, and consumer touchpoints? Which tools are you working with to vertically integrate people levels within just precise domains, this sort of as CRM?
Alternatively, you may possibly illustrate your stack to emphasize the degree of customization inside of various applications and platforms. They may array of purely out-of-the-box business apps, to packaged merchandise that have been custom-made or prolonged with your personal code, to entirely custom made apps that are special to your small business.
Each and every of these unique ways can give you various insights into the mother nature of your stack — and enable you talk them to stakeholders across your business.
What does your martech stack appear like?
Reminder: Even if you really do not enter The Stackies you — even though we definitely hope you do — do not ignore to sign up for the free webinar on #MartechDay, Could 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.
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