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MyStacks, OpenLantern Launch To Help Visualize Marketing Stacks
The tools, from two different companies, offer limited abilities to group and share icons of software products according to how they’re used.
Digital marketers face a blizzard of choices when they choose software. To help them, two new tools are out this week to help businesses better visualize the software products in their marketing stack.
One, called MyStacks, is a free new feature from CabinetM, an online directory of more than 4,500 marketing software products that launched last November. The initial product descriptions are written by the Boston-based CabinetM. Vendors can claim that basic description and, if they choose, upgrade to a premium description by paying a monthly fee. About 600 marketers have signed up for CabinetM since its launch.
In MyStacks, a user sets up categories like “email marketing” and then drags and drops software product icons into that category’s field. Users can add their own icons. An icon links to CabinetM’s description, and a user can add notes.
The end result: icons grouped by categories, tagged by such info as business type, business size or industry. There is also a StacksUp community forum about marketing stacks, and StacksInsights, with info about creating marketing stacks.
Cabinet M co-founder/President Sheryl Schultz told me that this depiction is useful to many companies, regardless of size, since they don’t realize they are actually using, for instance, multiple social media tools.
Tampa-based 249Labs released this week the free cloud-based OpenLantern, a similar effort to visualize categories of tools as represented by their icons. While CabinetM is targeting digital marketers at companies of any size, OpenLantern is intended only for Fortune 100s.
In OpenLantern, a left column shows several software categories, such as Analytics, with each containing about half a dozen icons of software products in that category, like Adobe’s SiteCatalyst.
A right column represents the organization’s departments. Icons are dragged and dropped into a center area, so the end result is a grouping of the software products used by category and department. If additional software tool icons or categories are desired, the user has to request the addition from OpenLantern’s maker. Product vendors can provide info on their tools, for a monthly fee.
249Labs is also providing a free manual scoring service for large enterprises that ranks how well the selected tools match the organization’s strategic goals.
Joseph Kurian, the founder and CEO of 249Labs and the former head of Marketing Technology & Innovation at Aetna, told me that his firm is also available for consulting gigs related to marketing tech.
Neither tool offers much in the way of functionality, such as automatically comparing overlapping functions or updating themselves when new versions come out.
I asked both companies why the same result — a manual grouping of which software products are used for which broad categories — couldn’t also be accomplished by, say, sharing a manually updated Google Docs spreadsheet.
Schultz pointed to CabinetM’s software descriptions as one key reason. Kurian said that large enterprises usually do not allow in-house access to Google Docs, and that even a shared Word document is too much effort to use in comparison to OpenLantern.