Announcing The Stackies & Hackies Awards for MarTech San Francisco 2017

MarTech Stackies & Hackies 2017

I’m excited to kick off the third year of The Stackies, which will culiminate in an opening awards ceremony at the MarTech conference in San Francisco, May 9-11, 2017.

Of course, like all good agile marketers, we believe in improving with each iteration. So we’ve tweaked and expanded the competition this year.

But first, new readers may be wondering, “What the heck are The Stackies?” They’re a friendly competition where marketers send in a single 16:9 slide that illustrates their marketing stack — the collection of marketing tools and technologies that they use to make marketing magic in a digital world.

We then openly publish all of the entries — check out the 21 marketing stacks from 2015 and the 41 marketing stacks from 2016. In contrast to typical vanity awards programs — nice for the winners, but rarely helpful to anyone else — we designed The Stackies to be a vehicle for sharing industry insights among peers. By looking at the creative ways so many different marketers conceptualize their stacks, everyone can draw learning and inspiration from them.

The New and Improved Stackies & Hackies Awards for 2017

This year, we’re expanding our awards program and making it even better, in three ways:

#1. 2 WAYS TO PARTICIPATE AND WIN — STACKIES & HACKIES. In addition to The Stackies — single slide illustrations of marketing stacks — this year we’re also running a new contest in parallel called The Hackies. To enter The Hackies, you submit a 600-2,400 word essay that teaches readers an important concept or insight at the intersection of marketing, technology, and management. We’ll publish all qualified entries here on and MarTech Today, and the winners will be chosen by the community through “votes” via social shares.

Like The Stackies, the goal of The Hackies is to share knowledge and inspiration with each other.

Girls Who Code

#2. EVERY ENTRY CONTRIBUTES TO CHARITY. Last year, we donated $5,000 to charities — each of the 5 winners of The Stackies could pick a charity they wanted us to donate $1,000 to in their name. This year, we’ve decided to focus on one charity — Girls Who Code — and make a $100 contribution for every valid entry submitted to The Stackies or The Hackies, up to a grand total of $10,000.

If we hit our goal, we will all get to learn from 100 or more martech stacks and essays! (If any marketing technology vendors would like to pledge “matching” donations — e.g., for every entry in The Stackies that features your product, you’ll also donate $100 to Girls Who Code — we’ll be glad to promote your booster support. Reach out to let me know.)

As a “thank you” for your contribution and support for this cause, everyone who enters either The Stackies or The Hackies will also receive a special discount code to the upcoming MarTech Conference in San Francisco.

#3. MARTECH OPENING NIGHT AWARDS CEREMONY. This year, we’ll really celebrate the contributions to The Stackies & Hackies. The opening night of MarTech in San Francisco, May 9, will launch with an awards ceremony for the finalists that will include groovy trophies and an open bar. That way we can properly toast the winners and raise our glasses to everyone who participated.

2016 MarTech Stackies Winners

How to Enter & Win The Stackies

The MarTech Stackies 2017

So what do you need to do to enter The Stackies?

  1. Create a single 16:9 slide that visually represents the way you think of your marketing stack. You might illustrate it as a value chain, a technical architecture, a customer journey map, a process flow diagram, a market strategy, a capabilities matrix — or your own original view on how marketing technology is orchestrated in your organization. You can annotate the slide with as much explanatory text as you like, but its strength should be in its visual presentation. Check out last year’s winners for some starting inspiration.
  2. Set up your user profile and submit your stack here as a hi-resolution image, a PDF, or a PPTX file any time before midnight Friday, March 31 (Pacific time). You will be asked to grant us permission to publicly share your entry. You may optionally include a paragraph or two that describes the rationale behind the way you organized your stack and any guiding principles that you feel are important in its architecture.

The judging committee, which will consist of editorial staff from and MarTech Today, as well as several independent industry experts, will select the five best entries as the winners. Entries will be judged on the following five criteria, in this order of importance:

  • Alignment — how well-aligned is your stack with your business
  • Concept — how insightful is the conceptual organization of your stack
  • Clarity — how easy is it for a reader to understand your stack
  • Design — the aesthetics of your slide and its visual appeal
  • Detail — more detail is generally better, within reason for a single slide

A note about “detail.” We prefer that entries in The Stackies include the specific products that are being used. This isn’t for the sake of endorsing vendors — although I’m sure they will all appreciate it! — but to help us collectively see examples of where specific products fit out in the wild.

However, this is not a requirement. If you don’t wish to disclose a particular vendor, simply put a generic placeholder label for that product in your stack (e.g., “Data Management Platform”). A entry in The Stackies that has anonymous product placeholders can still win. But if you are willing to name names, we’d greatly appreciate it, as it does make these marketing stack visualizations considerably more tangible.

How to Enter & Win The Hackies

The MarTech Hackies 2017

More of a writer than a slide designer? Then consider entering The Hackies:

  1. Write a 600-2,400 word essay that teaches a clever marketing technology “hack” — an innovative approach to marketing technology management that readers can adopt to improve their own organizations and digital customer experiences. It can include illustrations, images, or screenshots — in fact, we encouraged you to have some visual element to your article — as long as you can assign us the rights to freely publish it (so probably no stock photography).
  2. Set up your user profile and submit your article here as a Microsoft Word file any time before midnight Friday, March 31 (Pacific time) — or until we run out of publishing slots (see below). You will be asked to grant us permission to publicly share your entry.

We will publish qualified entries across, MarTech Today, and the MarTech Conference site as they come in, up through April 21, space permitting. The winners will be determined by “people’s choice” through social media. The top three articles with the highest number of social media shares by May 1 will each be given an award at the MarTech opening ceremony. In addition, we will also give an additional “editor’s choice” award for the article that we believe makes the greatest contribution to the community

We will also compile all of those qualified entries into a “Hacking MarTech” ebook that will be freely distributed as a resource for the community at large.

A “qualified entry” must be well-written and on topic within the realm of marketing, technology, and management — which is still a vast subject area, but luckily excludes political op-ed polemics. It must teach the reader something meaningful. And, most importantly, it must not be a thinly veiled (or outright naked) sales pitch for a particular vendor’s product or service. Our editorial staff reserves the right to determine whether an article qualifies as a matter of judgment.

If you’re already thinking about how to hack The Hackies, you will realize that articles that are published earlier are more likely to collect more social media shares by May 1. And, since we will publish no more than one entry per day, in the order in which they are submitted, late entries may run out of slots in which they can be published. So get crackin’, er, hackin’.

The (Push the) Envelope Please…

Ready to share your insights and experience with your peers? Contribute to learning across the martech community? Help raise money for a terrific charity? And perhaps even bask in the glory of receiving an award for your contribution at MarTech in San Francisco?

Then please participate in The Stackies & Hackies — we’re really looking forward to learning from your perspective and insight!

Click here to set up your profile and submit your entries. If you have questions, please email us at

Get directly in your inbox!

Subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest insights on martech as soon as they hit the wire. I usually publish an article every week or two — aiming for quality over quantity.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *