There must be 50 ways to stack your martech.

This is the 8th 12 months we’re operating The Stackies. It is an awards system that invitations entrepreneurs to share a solitary slide illustrating their martech stack — the different apps and platforms they use and how they conceptualize them functioning alongside one another.

I’d stimulate you to take part (deadline for entries April 29). It is a excellent way to lead to our community’s knowledge of how martech suits into the perform and circulation of fashionable advertising and marketing.

On the other hand, even if you under no circumstances share your stack outside the walls of your company, illustrating it can be an unbelievably valuable exercise to improved realize it — and be in a position to demonstrate it to other stakeholders.

So what’s the very best way to illustrate your stack?

Turns out there are many methods, each individual bringing a distinct lens. Possessing reviewed hundreds of entries to The Stackies in excess of the decades — here are all of them from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 — I have distilled 10 patterns that I’ve witnessed on their very own and in combination together.

1. Vendor Category Map

Often utilizing the taxonomy from our internet marketing know-how landscape, martech apps are structured into their product categories and subcategories. It demonstrates your stack via the lens of a vendor market place map and identifies the products and solutions you have chosen. This is a good way to look at your total stack inventory and show the span of martech solutions.

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

SAS Martech Stack

2. Consumer Journey Map

An additional prevalent product is to align your martech stack versus distinctive stage of the customer’s journey. Commonly for entries to The Stackies, the journey is simplified into 4-5 stages, this kind of as Find out, Look at, Invest in, Onboard, and Mature.

This marvelous illustration from Juniper Networks and their 2021 Stackie entry illustrates two proportions: the customer journey horizontally and the seller classes used vertically:

Juniper Networks Martech Stack

3. Back again-Stage vs. Entrance-Stage

A further way of on the lookout at your stack is via a theater metaphor: back again-phase and entrance-phase apps and platforms. Front-phase applications immediately contact the client — e.g., net encounters, electronic mail campaigns, social media engagement resources, promoting, and so on. Again-phase apps are utilised to provide inner stakeholders, these as analytics, arranging, asset administration, efficiency, and so forth.

This is an classy example from Red Wing Sneakers and their 2017 Stackie entry, with again-stage to entrance-phase categorization alongside the vertical entry and consumer journey phase along the horizontal axis:

Red Wing Shoes Martech Stack

4. Function or Function-Centered Map

Although martech stacks can be fairly significant, any a single man or woman in the marketing division is unlikely to have to master all of the applications in it. Distinct roles within advertising will use different equipment. So an additional handy way of mapping your martech stack is to team apps by the roles or capabilities that use them. This is reveals the “who” dimension of your stack, which is useful to see the interrelation concerning apps, techniques, and results.

This instance from Bigtincan’s 2019 Stackie entry illustrates a few primary roles: net administration, marketing automation, and content material advertising:

Bigtincan Martech Stack

5. Stage Alternative/System Ecosystem Map

Integration is very important to an successful martech stack. Yet another excellent way to visually assess your stack is to present the platform(s) that are the gravitational heart(s) of your martech stack and which professional apps integrate to each individual of them. It’s an ecosystem look at of your stack.

This illustration from Poly’s 2020 Stackie entry actually captures 5 distinctive dimensions, including relative expenditure, compensated/acquired/owned alternatives, vendor class — and identifies platforms, built-in specialist applications, and stand-by itself place options:

Poly Martech Stack

6. Usage Map (Relative Time in Applications)

Some martech applications are utilized continuously, as an integral section of marketing’s day-to-working day functions. Other applications, having said that, are far more specialized and employed much less routinely. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not valuable. They just have a time and area for their reason. Determining seriously-utilized key applications vs. frivolously-employed instruments specialists can be a different insightful way to comprehend the composition of your stack.

This case in point from Airstream’s 2019 Stackie entry cluster apps principally by their use case — planning, imaginative, engagement, seller channel, and measurement — but the top of the pine tree icons signifies the relative time marketers invest interacting with every device:

Airstream Martech Stack

7. Relative Degree of Automation

Although considering the total of time that people devote engaged with distinctive applications in your stack, it’s an exciting lens to analyze how automatic all those tools are. Which applications are employed generally manually? Which kinds have considerable automations? This perspective can be useful each to have an understanding of the connection in between equipment and promoting procedure and operations. It can also support discover options to automate.

Automation is the major frontier in Major Ops in my viewpoint.

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

Paychex Martech Stack

8. Tempo Layering of Platforms and Apps

Over a ten years in the past, as tech stacks in common — not just martech — ended up growing fast, Gartner proposed a way to arrange them by “tempo layer.” They suggested a few levels: techniques of record, methods of differentiation, and devices of innovation.

Techniques of record should really be pretty secure and have a slow speed of transform. They are the platforms on which other program and services count. Programs of differentiation embody the procedures and ordeals that make your business enterprise unique. They improve more usually, but are however somewhat stable. Systems of innovation are much more experimental, the place where by new capabilities can be designed and piloted immediately.

One particular of the best Stackie entries was this a single from Microsoft in 2017, which mapped resources alongside the infinite loop of client journeys, but then also divided them into Gartner’s three speed layers:

Microsoft Martech Stack

9. Evolution of Martech Tools Over Time

Martech stacks really do not stand still. New tools are additional. Outdated instruments are replaced. This is section of the all-natural evolution of a company as it grows — and as the broader advertising and marketing and martech surroundings continues to change close to it. It can be useful to take a look at your martech stack as a result of the lens of its shifting application inventory around time.

This case in point, despatched in by reader John Schott in 2017, reveals a five-year journey of a tiny money solutions enterprise:

Martech Stack Over Time

10. Associated Capabilities Map

At the intersection of teams and applications, abilities are made. Alternatively than looking at your stack through the lens of seller groups, you can set up a watch about different capabilities, this kind of as marketplaces, consumer-generated written content, information syndication, qualitative and quantitative study, etcetera. Mapping these capabilities in clusters, to show their adjacencies and associations with each other gives you a photograph of the ecosystem close to your stack.

This 2021 Stackie entry from Philips is a wonderful instance:

Philips Martech Stack

Other Methods to Map Your Stack

Of training course, there are a lot of other approaches to visualize other proportions of your stack.

For instance, you might manage it about aggregation systems in your martech stack. How are you horizontally aggregating info, workflow, expertise, and governance across several distinctive applications, info sources, and customer touchpoints? Which applications are you utilizing to vertically combine people layers inside of particular domains, this kind of as CRM?

Alternatively, you may well illustrate your stack to emphasize the diploma of customization in just unique apps and platforms. They may well array of purely out-of-the-box business apps, to packaged merchandise that have been custom made or extended with your own code, to entirely custom made apps that are one of a kind to your organization.

Every single of these distinctive techniques can give you unique insights into the nature of your stack — and support you communicate them to stakeholders throughout your firm.

What does your martech stack appear like?

Reminder: Even if you don’t enter The Stackies by yourself — while we definitely hope you do — really don’t fail to remember to indicator up for the free of charge webinar on #MartechDay, Could 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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