How does a marketing tech stack evolve over time?

Martech Stack Evolving Over Time

We just opened up The Stackies 2018: Marketing Tech Stack Awards, and I’m delighted to share with you our very first entry.

The above graphic represents the evolving marketing tech stack of a small-to-midsize financial services firm over a period of five years. It was created by John Schott, who is now a technical solutions professional for Microsoft Dynamics 365.

This is why I love The Stackies: every year, participants share new ways of looking at marketing tech stacks. Each different view — through the lens of a technical architecture, or a customer journey map, or a marketing operations process, etc. — reveals different insights into how marketing technologies are successfully harnessed.

John’s stack offers yet a different lens: how a marketing tech stack evolves over time.

John shared a couple of other versions of this stack with me, including this one that shows the leap from Year 1 to Year 5:

Martech Stack Growth Over 5 Years

I find this time series view of a martech stack simply fascinating. It illustrates several real-world dynamics that many organizations experience that we don’t always acknowledge in our public discussions about marketing technology management:

  1. Martech stacks do change over time.
  2. These changes don’t happen overnight, but over years.
  3. It’s not always additive: systems are added, removed, and replaced.
  4. Three hyphenated words: best-of-breed.
  5. A big part of martech stacks are the specific functionality for the business itself — in this example, the “Decisioning” category of tools that evolve from Excel to more sophisticated capabilities.

John also shared a snapshot version of this stack, using a marketing lifecycle loop metaphor:

Martech Stack Loop

John was humble about his entry into The Stackies — he wasn’t sure he wanted to share it because it wasn’t polished by a professional graphic designer. I’m incredibly grateful that he shared it anyway, because every entry like this helps contribute to our collective learning of the different kinds of martech stacks different organizations create and use.

Girls in Tech: Donations on Behalf of The Stackies 2018: Marketing Tech Stack Awards

So if you are on the fence about sharing your stack because you’re not sure if it is “pretty” enough, I would strongly encourage you to send it in. Pretty stacks are fun. But even utilitarian illustrations are incredibly valuable to our community.

And, for every entry into The Stackies 2018: Marketing Tech Stack Awards, we’ll pay forward the generosity by donating $100 — up to $10,000 in total — to Girls in Tech.

Thanks, John!

P.S. Want to learn more about harnessing the power of marketing tech stacks in your own organization? Join us at the MarTech conference in San Jose, April 23-25. It’s a good time to get a ticket now — rates go up on February 10.

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2 thoughts on “How does a marketing tech stack evolve over time?”

  1. Really interesting. Would love to see for other sectors! I’m sure there are many interesting variations. Would also be interesting to see if there was a correlation between growing sophistication of the tech stack and growth of the business? I can dream!

  2. I love this! For companies that are still playing catch-up in terms of marketing technology, it shows an example of a practical roadmap others like them have taken to get from where they are to best-of-breed. More please!

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