Adtech and martech worlds collide

The forces putting advertising technology and marketing technology on a collision course seem inevitable.

People not in the branding business don't see much difference between advertising and marketing. As new-age advertising technology, or adtech, and marketing technology, or martech, logically merge, what's the problem? For advertising agencies, which have been on the frontline of branding since the late 18th century, a lot is at stake.

Advertising agencies sit in the middle between corporate marketing departments and potential customers. They research markets, advise clients about target audiences and deliver awesome creatives. They are experts in an array of new-fangled adtech for digital and display advertising, including programmatic buying tools that segment audiences. They leverage adtech's data management platform (DMP) to identify and collect target audience data on how their creatives are performing.

Herein lies the heart of the problem.

Corporate marketers are stitching martech pieces together to build a system that lets them reach and serve customers along the expanse of the customer landscape. Marketing analytics tools tap into a data lake to fish out actionable customer insights in real time. Adtech is merely the beginning of the customer journey, and its target audience data should be in the data lake.

Adtech and martech: a match made on paper

"The adtech-martech collision is one of those things where you can draw a diagram on paper, and it makes total sense," says Scott Brinker, editor of the popular ChiefMarTec blog. "Yet the actual plumbing and governance of the data going between those pieces is non-trivial."

The big martech vendors understand that adtech should fall under the martech umbrella. Both tools and data need to be integrated. That's why Adobe acquired target audience DMP company, Demdex, for US$58 million a few years ago and Web analytics company Omniture before that for $1.8 billion. Similarly, Oracle bought target audience DMP company, BlueKai, for around $400 million last year.

Marketing Technology supergraphic reveals booming vendor landscape in 2015

At the Ad:Tech Conference in San Francisco last week, a panel debated the pros and cons of bringing adtech, in this case, an agency's programmatic buying tools and target audience DMP, in-house.

Ad agency proponents argued that marketing departments simply don't have the bandwidth to tackle adtech right now. Real-time bidding for displaying online advertising taking place in ad exchanges takes a lot of know-how, they say, as well as understanding demand-side platforms for managing bids for banners and pricing for data.

Of course, agency proponents also admitted that the days of a bloated ad agency handling all media buys are coming to an end. Ad agencies can help clients bring adtech and target audience data in-house eventually, they say. Ad agencies will have to go back to their roots of delivering human-driven creatives and different viewpoints.

One of the panelists, Morgan Vawter, data management and programmatic marketing lead for North America at Accenture Interactive, helps companies take programmatic buying and target audience data in-house. She says data science and modeling practically demand it. Vawter adds that it's not terribly difficult, either. Netflix is building an in-house agency model with only a half-dozen people doing programmatic buying, she says.

Ad agencies: You can take away my adtech, when you pry it ...

Ad agencies, though, don't really want to give up adtech. It's a cash cow due to the scale of advertising, boasts terrific underlying data capability, and makes ad agencies valuable in the eyes of the client.

"Adtech has money and data and scale, and it has a constantly renewing engine of desire by the CMO," says Michael Darviche, managing director at Bridge22, an adtech and martech consultancy. "The adtech industry starts to be really powerful in executing a lot of the same kinds of concepts that the martech world did."

Nevertheless, the forces putting adtech and martech on a collision course seem unstoppable. Middlemen ad agencies will be the most impacted, and they'll have to find new roles. Rapidly evolving technology, as well as the importance of a customer data lake, practically demands it.

"We're at a moment in time where martech is bridging with adtech," Darviche says, adding, "They need each other in order to continue to invent."

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

An in-depth understanding of consumers sits at the heart of what we all need to do, but we know it’s not always easy to uncover insights that will unlock a true innovation opportunity.

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

Is your customer experience program suffering bright shiny object syndrome?

You may have heard of ‘bright shiny object syndrome’. The term is used to describe new initiatives undertaken by organisations that either lack a strategic approach, or suffer from a failure to effectively implement.

Leveraging technology to stand out in the sea of sameness

The technology I'm talking about here is data and marketing automation. Current digital marketing methodology, much as it is practiced at Bluewolf, dictates the need for a strategy that does four things: Finds the right audience, uses the right channel, delivers the right content, and does all of that at the right time.

Eric Berridge

CEO and co-founder of Bluewolf, an IBM Company

Lead Management is very important part of the process. For anyone running Facebook Lead Ads I would recommend using this service.Get your...

Dirk Lo

How this fintech startup is improving content marketing and lead generation

Read more

I am agreeing with Mr. Tyron Hayes that a measured test-and-learn approach could be missing opportunities to not only better engage custo...

rush essay reviews

CMO interview: How Curtin University’s marketing chief is using test and learn to cope with complexity

Read more

Excellent!

Dr Sadasivan,US

Shakespeare shows data and creativity aren’t Montagues and Capulets

Read more

Great article! Agreed with all... Matthew Lerner, Deeps De Silva... When a company has a great product that solves customers needs, a gre...

James Tyler

Why marketers are embracing growth hacking techniques

Read more

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...

BizVinu

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in