When Modern Marketing Collides with Technology: AdTech, MarTech, and Beyond

September 17, 2015 Taylor Holland

What happens when MarTech meets AdTech?

Sales and marketing are famous frenemies. While these two departments have the same end goal—to win clients and drive revenue—they go about it in different ways and compete with each other for resources and credit. For decades, business leaders across industries have talked about the importance of sales and marketing alignment. Yet, they’ve struggled to get the people who engage customers to play nice with the people who convert them.

In the digital age, that conversation has shifted. Now, the question isn’t how to get these teams working together; it’s how to get their toys working together. Or more specifically, how to harness the data and insights those toys can provide.

The tech industry is disrupting all aspects of modern marketing, from how we source leads and build pipelines, to how we track consumer behavior and personalize user experiences, to how we integrate digital marketing with advertising and inside sales. Between AdTech, MarTech, and sales tech, companies are collecting valuable customer data at every touchpoint.

There’s just one little problem: The data and insights these solutions provide are locked in separate silos, denying brands a big-picture view of the complete customer journey. That’s why the next big innovation in modern marketing won’t be just another digital platform to add to the list.

It will be one to unite them all.

AdTech, MarTech—What’s Next?

Marketing and sales have different methods, but we share one fundamental belief: The more we know about our customers, the more successfully we can engage and convert them. And that’s exactly what new technology promises brands: the ability to gather more data and deeper insights than ever before.

computer, tablet, mobile

Advertising and marketing might seem like the same thing to consumers, but these have traditionally been two different functions, and each now has its own technology treasure trove.

Marketing technology—or MarTech—is built on marketing automation platforms. A robust platform can track individual customers across internal channels, gathering data about what they view, what items they purchase in the store, which automated emails they engage with, and how they interact with the brand on social media. All of this data gets tied back to a customer profile or user-provided email address. This gives marketers specific insights into individual customers, including who they are, what motivates them to engage, and what they want from the brand.

But MarTech has some limitations: It only captures insights about customers once they’ve already engaged with the brand and identified themselves. And it can only track behavior across internal, brand-owned channels.

AdTech, which is built on data management platforms, tracks users across external channels and serves up relevant ads based on Internet search history and cookies. AdTech doesn’t collect rich profile data like MarTech, so users are more-or-less anonymous, but it does reveal key phases of the customer journey that MarTech can’t—including what happens before individuals engage with the brand and where to find them after they’ve lost interest.

Now, consider what happens when we merge MarTech, AdTech, and any other proprietary databases or CRM systems that companies have at their disposal. The result—which some industry experts are already calling “MadTech”—would combine internal and external data into detailed customer profiles. This would enable brands to leverage what they know about individual customers (MarTech) and what they know about how to find and target people online (AdTech).

Brands could then deliver only the most relevant content for each user, at the right time and on the right channel, while optimizing the chance for conversion. This would also open up new opportunities to re-engage lapsed customers and to reinforce the brand experience after customers leave company-owned channels.

For example, let’s say you visit a clothing retailer’s website and browse winter jackets, but you leave without making a purchase. A retailer with MadTech can “follow” you. While you’re catching up on social media, the brand can engage you with content about how to choose the most flattering jacket for your body type. While you’re perusing news sites, the brand can serve up banner ads featuring the same winter jackets you liked online and then offer you a discount.

This Personalized, Multichannel Marketing Experience Serves Two Purposes:

  1. It inspires customer loyalty by sending the message: “We understand your unique style and shopping needs, and we value you as an individual.”

  2. It’s a continual reminder: “You need a new coat, and we know where you can get one for a steal.”

Simply put: MadTech surpasses the limitations of both MarTech and AdTech, enabling brands to deliver a customized content marketing approach, wherever customers may wander on the Web.

Modern Marketing with MadTech

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad(Tech) World

The technology required for this type of business transformation is still in its infancy, but the need is clear to MarTech and AdTech companies, who have already begun aligning themselves. Over the past year and half, Adobe, Oracle, and several other MarTech providers have acquired AdTech companies, hoping to roll these solutions up with their technology to create better, stronger MadTech platforms.

Marketo is currently the frontrunner in the mad dash to MadTech. Earlier this year, the marketing automation giant announced several new product suites capable of integrating marketing technology, digital advertising, and sales enablement.

Chandar Pattabhiram, Marketo’s vice president of product marketing, explained the value of these solutions to Venture Beat:

Ad tech spending has significantly increased—to more than $130 billion—but the conversion rates are still in the single digits. Why? A major reason is that a person’s prior engagement hasn’t been fused with the brand’s display advertising and retargeting strategies to make these ads more personal and relevant.

As ads become more personalized and marketing becomes more ubiquitous, what will this mean for content marketers? How will our roles change as modern marketing becomes increasingly tech-driven?

The simple answer: not as much as you might think.

Modern Marketing: New Tech, Same Customers

MadTech certainly has “business transformation” written all over it. But while new technology can expand the reach of a brand’s messaging, it won’t help much unless customers actually care what the brand has to say.

Marketing guru David Raab sums this up perfectly in his post on CMS Wire:

In the MadTech model, anyone with a budget will have equal access to data and delivery, available as external services. This means the only real differentiator appears in the decision layer, where marketers will compete to make the smartest decisions about which messages to deliver to which customers in which media. This will result in a renewed focus on core marketing skills such as branding, positioning, value definition and even—gasp—creative development.

Today’s obsession with technical issues of data management and message plumbing will fade into the background as those become commoditized utilities available for purchase on demand. The underlying technology will be more sophisticated than ever, but that sophistication will finally reach the level where it frees marketers to do what they do best—anticipate and meet true customer needs.

In other words, technology can get you in front of your audience, but it can’t make them listen. For that, you’ll need creative content and brand marketers who know how to tell a good story.

Want to learn more about how creativity and technology drive business transformation? Become a Content Standard Insider.

The post When Modern Marketing Collides with Technology: AdTech, MarTech, and Beyond appeared first on The Content Standard by Skyword.

About the Author

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