This is the 8th calendar year we’re managing The Stackies. It’s an awards method that invites entrepreneurs to share a one slide illustrating their martech stack — the different applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them doing the job jointly.
I’d inspire you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It is a fantastic way to contribute to our community’s comprehension of how martech matches into the functionality and move of contemporary advertising and marketing.
On the other hand, even if you under no circumstances share your stack outdoors the partitions of your corporation, illustrating it can be an exceptionally helpful training 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 techniques, each individual bringing a distinctive lens. Possessing reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies above the many years — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I’ve distilled 10 styles that I have viewed on their very own and in blend alongside one another.
1. Seller Classification Map
Normally utilizing the taxonomy from our marketing engineering landscape, martech applications are structured into their merchandise categories and subcategories. It shows your stack through the lens of a seller market place map and identifies the products and solutions you’ve picked. This is a terrific way to analyze your all round stack inventory and present the span of martech answers.
Here’s an instance from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:
2. Buyer Journey Map
A different prevalent design is to align your martech stack towards various phase of the customer’s journey. Usually for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 stages, these types of as Uncover, Look at, Obtain, Onboard, and Increase.
This marvelous instance from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the client journey horizontally and the vendor categories utilized vertically:
3. Again-Phase vs. Front-Phase
An additional way of wanting at your stack is through a theater metaphor: again-phase and front-stage apps and platforms. Front-phase applications specifically touch the shopper — e.g., net experiences, e-mail campaigns, social media engagement equipment, advertising, etcetera. Back-stage applications are made use of to provide inside stakeholders, these types of as analytics, organizing, asset administration, efficiency, and many others.
This is an exquisite example from Red Wing Shoes and their 2017 Stackie entry, with again-phase to front-stage categorization together the vertical entry and consumer journey phase along the horizontal axis:
4. Operate or Role-Primarily based Map
When martech stacks can be fairly large, any a single person in the promoting office is not likely to have to understand all of the applications within it. Diverse roles inside promoting will use unique applications. So yet another 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 helpful to see the interrelation among applications, techniques, and results.
This instance from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates 3 most important roles: world-wide-web administration, advertising and marketing automation, and written content advertising:
5. Stage Answer/System Ecosystem Map
Integration is essential to an successful martech stack. A different fantastic way to visually evaluate your stack is to clearly show the system(s) that are the gravitational heart(s) of your martech stack and which professional applications combine to each individual of them. It’s an ecosystem see of your stack.
This example from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry essentially captures five unique dimensions, like relative expenditure, compensated/attained/owned remedies, vendor class — and identifies platforms, built-in professional apps, and stand-by yourself issue alternatives:
6. Usage Map (Relative Time in Instruments)
Some martech apps are employed continually, as an integral aspect of marketing’s day-to-day functions. Other apps, however, are additional specialized and applied considerably less commonly. This does not indicate they are not beneficial. They just have a time and place for their goal. Figuring out seriously-applied primary tools vs. frivolously-employed tools specialists can be another insightful way to have an understanding of the composition of your stack.
This example from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps principally by their use scenario — planning, innovative, engagement, seller channel, and measurement — but the height of the pine tree icons represents the relative time entrepreneurs spend interacting with every single device:
7. Relative Degree of Automation
While considering the amount of time that consumers invest engaged with distinct equipment in your stack, it’s an fascinating lens to analyze how automated all those applications are. Which equipment are applied typically manually? Which types have major automations? This check out can be helpful the two to have an understanding of the marriage amongst resources and marketing method and functions. It can also aid determine alternatives to automate.
Automation is the largest frontier in Massive Ops in my view.
This instance from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech apps on two proportions: distinctive marketing capabilities and the diploma to which they are automated:
8. Speed Layering of Platforms and Applications
About a 10 years back, as tech stacks in typical — not just martech — have been growing swiftly, Gartner proposed a way to organize them by “pace layer.” They recommended a few levels: systems of history, methods of differentiation, and devices of innovation.
Units of history must be pretty steady and have a slow pace of alter. They are the platforms on which other software program and products and services rely. Devices of differentiation embody the procedures and activities that make your small business special. They transform more regularly, but are nonetheless fairly secure. Systems of innovation are additional experimental, the put in which new capabilities can be formulated and piloted speedily.
1 of the ideal Stackie entries was this a person from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped equipment alongside the infinite loop of customer journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s 3 speed layers:
9. Evolution of Martech Resources Around Time
Martech stacks do not stand nevertheless. New applications are included. Old resources are replaced. This is component of the all-natural evolution of a business enterprise as it grows — and as the broader marketing and martech surroundings continues to alter all around it. It can be useful to study your martech stack by way of the lens of its switching application inventory more than time.
This example, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, demonstrates a five-calendar year journey of a little fiscal solutions business:
10. Linked Abilities Map
At the intersection of groups and equipment, capabilities are designed. Somewhat than wanting at your stack by the lens of vendor groups, you can set up a view around unique capabilities, such as marketplaces, user-produced content, content material syndication, qualitative and quantitative research, etcetera. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to show their adjacencies and relationships with each individual other offers you a photo of the ecosystem about your stack.
This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a terrific illustration:
Other Methods to Map Your Stack
Of program, there are numerous other techniques to visualize other dimensions of your stack.
For occasion, you could possibly organize it close to aggregation technologies in your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating knowledge, workflow, working experience, and governance throughout numerous various applications, details sources, and client touchpoints? Which equipment are you making use of to vertically integrate people levels inside of unique domains, such as CRM?
Alternatively, you might illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization inside of diverse apps and platforms. They might selection of purely out-of-the-box industrial apps, to packaged products that have been custom-made or prolonged with your own code, to completely personalized applications that are exceptional to your small business.
Each of these diverse approaches can give you different insights into the mother nature of your stack — and help you communicate them to stakeholders across your business.
What does your martech stack look like?
Reminder: Even if you don’t enter The Stackies by yourself — though we definitely hope you do — do not forget to signal up for the no cost webinar on #MartechDay, May well 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.
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