What’s better than a marketing tech stack? Your marketing org stack

The Stackies: Tech Edition & Org Edition

We’ve been running The Stackies for three years now, where we’ve invited marketers to send in a single slide that visually illustrates their marketing tech stack.

57 marketing stack in the 2017 Stackies

We run it as an awards program and a drive for charity (the last Stackies program raised $7,800 for Girls Who Code), with a little friendly competition and trophies at the end.

But its main purpose is to encourage our community here to share ideas and experience with each other. From 2015, 2016, and 2017, we’ve shared a collection of over 100 real-world marketing stacks — including ones from major companies such as Cisco and Microsoft.

This wide collection of sample marketing stacks has been incredibly valuable in helping us understand how good “best-of-breed” marketing technology capabilities are built and managed.

People & Process — The More Important Points of the Triangle

But while understanding how to build and manage a solid marketing technology stack is an important part of marketing in the modern age, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. By itself, marketing technology is not a panacea.

Harnessing the potential of this technology requires developing new organizational capital: new organizational structures and processes, new skills and talents on the marketing team, new management approaches to operating in a fast-paced digital environment — even new elements of culture and philosophy to truly “be digital.”

Wrangling the technology is easy in comparison. Figuring out the right organizational capital to build — and actually building it — is the real challenge.

Announcing The Stackies: Org Edition for MarTech Boston

Marketing Organizations in a Martech World

We think this is a phenomenal opportunity for the martech community to learn from each other.

So for the upcoming MarTech conference in Boston, October 2-4, we’re launching a new awards contest — The Stackies: Org Edition.

The concept is very similar to tech-oriented Stackies we’ve run before — we’ll now refer to those as The Stackies: Tech Edition.

But for The Stackies: Org Edition, we instead invite you to submit a single slide (as a 1600×900 JPG, GIF, or PNG image or as a 16:9 PDF slide) that illustrates your marketing department’s “organizational stack” — a visualization of the roles and processes that you’ve created to run marketing.

The simplest incarnation of this would be a classic org chart, the hierarchy of boxes and lines (and dotted lines!) that show how different roles in marketing relate to each other.

We’d be thrilled to see a variety of different org charts from modern marketing departments. We’d learn a lot just from seeing how different kinds of companies organize their marketing teams in today’s environment. (If you’d like to contribute such insight to the community, but would prefer to do so anonymously, please consider participating in our study of Marketing Organizations in the Age of Martech instead.)

If you’re at a large company where sketching out the marketing org would be a Herculean task — “you’re going to need a bigger slide” — please consider visualizing just a piece of your overall organization. For instance, it would be incredibly helpful for us to learn how larger companies organize their marketing operations and technology teams.

But your “org stack” doesn’t have to be an org chart.

What are the other ways you would visualize how the people and process dimensions of your marketing team operate? How do they work with your marketing technology stack? What sort of strategic principles are embedded in that structure? How do you govern it?

Can you visualize all three points of the triangle — people, process & technology — in a single slide that effectively communicates your vision of a marketing org stack?

For instance, in reading the recent report Drive the BT Agenda With A Marketing Technology Office produced by Joe Stanhope and Rusty Warner of Forrester Research — a terrific report, by the way — they mapped out a series of RASCI matrices around the management of marketing technology, such as this:

Marketing Technology RASCI Matrix

You might consider illustrating a RASCI overlay to the roles and functions of your org stack. What other creative ways can you think of to express the best way to organize and operate marketing in a martech world?

$10,000 for Women Who Code & Trophies for the Best Org Stacks

Here are the details of The Stackies: Org Edition:

Women Who Code

  1. Use this online entry form to submit your “org stack” image before midnight Pacific time, Friday, September 28. You can build your stack in PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides, and then simply export it (or download it) as a 1,600×900 pixel JPG, GIF, or PNG image or as a PDF slide in a 16:9 format.
  2. The scope of your “org stack” can be your entire marketing department or just a piece of it — such as the marketing operations/marketing technology team. Only contribute what you consider appropriate for public consumption. The goal is to share broad concepts and ideas, not reveal anything confidential or proprietary.
  3. In turn, we will share a deck of all entries submitted at the conclusion of this contest, so we can all learn from each other with this exercise. The full deck will be released at MarTech in Boston, October 2-4 and published openly on SlideShare.
  4. We’d prefer “org stacks” that show real marketing organizations. But if you have a more abstract framework that you’d like to share — I’m especially talking to you digital transformation consultants out there — we’d also love to see what you’d propose too.
  5. For every valid (i.e., not junk/spam) entry into The Stackies: Org Edition, the MarTech conference will donate $100 to Women Who Code, up to a total of $10,000. We’ll cut the final check for the donation on the opening day of MarTech in Boston.
  6. Finally, we will select five “org stacks” that we think make the best contributions to this contest to receive Stackie trophies at an awards ceremony on Tuesday evening, October 2, at MarTech in Boston. You don’t need to be present to win (but it would be nice). As with The Stackies: Tech Edition, “best” is highly subjective. What ultimately matters is that your org stack works for you.

In judging the “best” org stacks — the ones that we think collectively teach us the most about the organization and operation of modern marketing — we will consider the following factors:

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

We’re really excited to see what you come up with.


Some Inspiration to Get You Started

There aren’t many recent examples of modern marketing organization structures that have been published on the web — which is one of the reasons I’m so excited for us to expand that collection with The Stackies: Org Edition.

However, I found a couple of SlideShares from the past several years that I thought were inspiring for rethinking marketing in the age of the martech.

There’s this terrific deck, The Modern Marketing Organizational Structure by Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, who was CMO of Mindjet at the time (he’s now the CMO of Mozilla):

And the folks over at HubSpot published The CMO’s Guide to Marketing Org Structures a few years ago with examples from Zendesk, Atlassian, GitHub, Rue La La, and Forrester:

P.S. Thank you to Erica Seidel on the MarTech advisory board for suggesting this new version of The Stackies.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about the upcoming MarTech conference? Check out this overview of speakers and sessions.

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