Yonas Beshawred, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based StackShare, noticed a funny thing about a year ago: more developers were coming to the site interested in, and knowledgeable about, the martech stack.
Because the site ranks applications based on what its user base is talking about, more and more martech tools began making their way onto StackShare.
Beshawred founded the San Francisco-based StackShare (then known as Leanstack.io) in May 2013 as a platform for developers to discover Open Source and Software-as-a-Service applications and tools. Popular categories include application hosting, libraries, data stores, analytics, back office and collaboration to name just a few.
The Closing Gap Between Developers and Marketers
"It has become obvious to us that the gap between developers and marketers is becoming smaller," Beshawred told CMSWire. "Developers are working more closely with marketers and using solutions that speak to both sides."
And along with the marketing-friendly developers came actual marketers too.
"The marketers are finding the site useful even without us having every single martech tool ranked," Beshawred said. "They know when they come here they are entering a tech environment and that helps them understand how a particular application fits into the larger tech infrastructure; how marketing fits into the entire technology stack."
For example, Beshawred said, a marketer might use the site to dig deeper into how Mailchimp is used by other companies. This marketer would discover that there are not that many transactional tools associated with the application because Mailchimp has many of those capabilities, he said.
A Digital Candy Store for Developers
That particular example is a reflection of StackShare's unofficial role as an online coffee house of sorts for developers. "StackShare's concept is all about having a conversation with someone in a similar role, asking what they use for certain task or project," Beshawred said.
A warning though: these conversations are not for those light on their tech creds. "We call it a developer's candy store" because of the in-depth nature of the conversations and the tools being reviewed, according to Beshawred.
So in the case of marketing, the conversation is about what the developers and the more technically-inclined marketers are actually using — not the end users.
"They are looking at marketing through a developer's lense," Beshawred said.
Emerging Trends in the MarTech Space
With that caveat in mind, the martech trends in StackShare are quite revealing. Beshawred has noticed, for instance, a much higher demand among marketing-oriented developers for automation — not from a full marketing automation perspective but rather from an engagement perspective. "Solutions like Intercom and Drip are some examples.”
"We are seeing some very interesting tools emerge that are more lightweight compared with a full marketing cycle applications,” he said. "The link between engineering and marketing is blurring and that is reflected in these new tools."
Likewise with business intelligence. The most popular apps are the ones that give marketers an easy way to extract data, he said. Metabase is one example. Another is Superset, an open source tool built by Airbnb.
How MarTech Vendors Are Using StackShare
And while StackShare is a space meant for developers, Beshawred has observed marketing tech vendors conducting their own research on the site. For starters, StackShare is a great source for leads for marketers.
"It is about as close to organic traffic as you can get," said Beshawred.
Marketers are also using StackShare to research their competitors; namely to see who is using their competitors’ applications and what they are saying about them. They are also using it to see which integrations and other applications are most popular with their own tool, Beshawred said.
If some of this sounds like basic data that martech vendors should already know, consider the complexity of the space.
There are 5,000 and counting marketing technology solutions in the market, according to the most recent Scott Brinker landscape graphic. Brinker, editor of chiefmartec.com and chair of the MarTech conference, included 5,381 solutions on the graphic released earlier this year — a 39 percent increase over last year's 3,874.
"About a year ago a marketer approached us and said 'I wish you had more marketing tools on here,'" Beshawred said. "I predicted then that that would naturally happen even though we are focused on developers — because of confusion and nonstop growth in the martech space."