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What is a Martech Stack?

A marketing technology stack or “martech stack” is the collection of related applications and services that are used by members of a marketing team to perform their jobs. A typical martech stack includes tools to create and manage advertising campaigns, promote products over social media, and engage customers in ongoing relationships with the company and its products.

A martech stack is just one kind of tech stack or app stack — the more generalized terms often used to describe today’s expanding collections of function-specific business tools and applications. Other examples include:

  • Sales stacks with tools to set prices, conduct transactions, and track commissions
  • Customer care stacks for support personnel
  • DevOps stacks (on the back-end) for web development and operations teams

Increasingly, managers and department heads rely on the stack concept to quickly introduce new employees to their toolsets, share application information and training assets with other teams, and reduce the duplication that can occur when multiple teams across a company buy into the same software or service. To get the most from their stacks, many companies are turning to stack management tools such as Lenovo Airstack.

Components of a Martech Stack

Perhaps no single part of the digital commerce work-chain has adopted the stack concept like the marketing function, which seeks to attract new buyers and retain them as long-term customers.  This affinity for stacks likely owes to the recent explosion of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) marketing solution apps — and the growing challenge of keeping them all straight.

Need a list of qualified sales prospects? Subscribe to a web-based lead-generation service. Need help with email messaging or analyzing social media sentiment? There are SaaS products for those jobs, too. But as each new app is added to the collection, the chance for costly repeat purchases increases (especially in large companies), as does the complexity of hiring and training (onboarding) new staff to use all of the different apps.

That’s where stacks come in. Even at their simplest (as mere visual diagrams, without special stack management software), stacks help teams understand the tools and services they use, how those products interact, and whether similar products are in use elsewhere in the company.

The figure below shows some examples martech stacks. Depending on the company organization, each piece can be considered a separate entity, or the whole set can be managed as a single, interrelated stack.

Martech Stack Example

Even if you’re not in marketing, it’s easy to visualize how the stack concept can help teams better visualize, learn to use, and more fully exploit their job-related technology. There are also opportunities for sharing and managing one team’s stack in conjunction with other related company functions.

 

For an easy way to map out your tech stack, try our free Slide tool.