This is the 8th yr we’re operating The Stackies. It is an awards software that invites entrepreneurs to share a single slide illustrating their martech stack — the unique applications and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them working with each other.

I’d really encourage you to participate (deadline for entries April 29). It’s a fantastic way to contribute to our community’s understanding of how martech matches into the operate and movement of fashionable marketing.

On the other hand, even if you in no way share your stack outside the house the walls of your corporation, illustrating it can be an incredibly handy training to better recognize it — and be capable to reveal it to other stakeholders.

So what’s the most effective way to illustrate your stack?

Turns out there are many ways, each individual bringing a distinct lens. Obtaining reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies more than the yrs — 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 individual and in blend together.

1. Vendor Classification Map

Frequently using the taxonomy from our advertising technological innovation landscape, martech apps are organized into their merchandise types and subcategories. It exhibits your stack through the lens of a vendor market map and identifies the products you have selected. This is a great way to take a look at your overall stack inventory and clearly show the span of martech alternatives.

Here’s an example from SAS and their 2021 Stackie entry:

SAS Martech Stack

2. Client Journey Map

A different frequent model is to align your martech stack from different phase of the customer’s journey. Generally for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 phases, this kind of as Find out, Consider, Buy, Onboard, and Grow.

This great illustration from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two dimensions: the client journey horizontally and the vendor groups made use of vertically:

Juniper Networks Martech Stack

3. Again-Phase vs. Front-Stage

A different way of wanting at your stack is via a theater metaphor: again-stage and entrance-phase apps and platforms. Front-phase applications directly contact the client — e.g., net experiences, e mail strategies, social media engagement tools, promotion, etcetera. Back again-stage applications are utilized to provide interior stakeholders, this sort of as analytics, planning, asset administration, efficiency, and so forth.

This is an stylish case in point from Red Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with back-phase to front-stage categorization together the vertical access and shopper journey stage along the horizontal axis:

Red Wing Shoes Martech Stack

4. Purpose or Purpose-Centered Map

Although martech stacks can be rather significant, any one individual in the marketing section is unlikely to have to find out all of the applications in it. Diverse roles inside of marketing and advertising will use different resources. So a further helpful 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 helpful to see the interrelation concerning applications, skills, and results.

This case in point from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few main roles: world wide web administration, internet marketing automation, and content material marketing:

Bigtincan Martech Stack

5. Issue Alternative/System Ecosystem Map

Integration is very important to an successful martech stack. An additional good way to visually assess your stack is to demonstrate the platform(s) that are the gravitational middle(s) of your martech stack and which expert applications integrate to every single of them. It’s an ecosystem look at of your stack.

This instance from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry really captures five different proportions, such as relative financial commitment, paid out/attained/owned solutions, seller category — and identifies platforms, built-in expert applications, and stand-alone level alternatives:

Poly Martech Stack

6. Utilization Map (Relative Time in Equipment)

Some martech apps are used frequently, as an integral aspect of marketing’s day-to-day operations. Other apps, nonetheless, are extra specialised and employed fewer routinely. This doesn’t suggest they’re not important. They just have a time and put for their purpose. Determining seriously-employed principal equipment vs. lightly-utilised instruments experts can be a different insightful way to fully grasp the composition of your stack.

This illustration from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster applications generally by their use case — planning, imaginative, engagement, supplier channel, and measurement — but the top of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time marketers invest interacting with each and every software:

Airstream Martech Stack

7. Relative Degree of Automation

Even though contemplating the volume of time that buyers commit engaged with different tools in your stack, it’s an fascinating lens to look at how automatic individuals applications are. Which equipment are utilised largely manually? Which ones have sizeable automations? This look at can be useful both to comprehend the partnership concerning equipment and promoting approach and functions. It can also assist discover alternatives to automate.

Automation is the major frontier in Huge Ops in my opinion.

This example from Paychex’s 2019 Stackie entry maps out their martech applications on two proportions: various marketing and advertising abilities and the degree to which they are automatic:

Paychex Martech Stack

8. Speed Layering of Platforms and Applications

Over a decade in the past, as tech stacks in basic — not just martech — were being expanding swiftly, Gartner proposed a way to arrange them by “speed layer.” They prompt 3 layers: devices of history, units of differentiation, and programs of innovation.

Devices of history should really be really steady and have a gradual pace of improve. They’re the platforms on which other program and companies rely. Systems of differentiation embody the procedures and experiences that make your organization one of a kind. They improve more frequently, but are nonetheless fairly steady. Systems of innovation are a lot more experimental, the spot where by new capabilities can be made and piloted rapidly.

One of the very best Stackie entries was this just one from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped equipment alongside the infinite loop of purchaser journeys, but then also separated them into Gartner’s three pace levels:

Microsoft Martech Stack

9. Evolution of Martech Instruments More than Time

Martech stacks don’t stand even now. New instruments are included. Aged tools are replaced. This is section of the all-natural evolution of a business enterprise as it grows — and as the broader advertising and marketing and martech setting carries on to transform close to it. It can be helpful to examine your martech stack through the lens of its changing application inventory above time.

This case in point, sent in by reader John Schott in 2017, demonstrates a 5-year journey of a little fiscal solutions business:

Martech Stack Over Time

10. Related Capabilities Map

At the intersection of teams and applications, abilities are created. Somewhat than on the lookout at your stack by way of the lens of vendor groups, you can organize a look at all over unique abilities, this sort of as marketplaces, consumer-produced material, written content syndication, qualitative and quantitative exploration, and so forth. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to display their adjacencies and interactions with every other gives you a photo of the ecosystem about your stack.

This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a wonderful instance:

Philips Martech Stack

Other Methods to Map Your Stack

Of course, there are numerous other approaches to visualize other dimensions of your stack.

For instance, you may organize it around aggregation systems in your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating info, workflow, encounter, and governance across quite a few distinctive applications, information sources, and shopper touchpoints? Which equipment are you working with to vertically integrate all those layers in distinct domains, these types of as CRM?

Alternatively, you may possibly illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization in just various apps and platforms. They could variety of purely out-of-the-box professional apps, to packaged goods that have been tailored or extended with your very own code, to entirely customized apps that are special to your organization.

Every of these diverse approaches can give you diverse insights into the character of your stack — and assistance you talk them to stakeholders across your corporation.

What does your martech stack look like?

Reminder: Even if you really don’t enter The Stackies by yourself — although we unquestionably hope you do — do not neglect to indicator 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.

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