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MarTech + AdTech: An Embarrassment Of Riches

Carlton Doty
Vice President, Group Director
February 12, 2016

A CMO and a CIO walk into a hotel bar (Let’s call them Tom and Dick). After ordering a drink, Tom says, “Dick, I really need to start working with a DMP this year, and I want your help selecting one.” Dick says, “A DMP? My enterprise architecture team is building a near real-time, self-service data management platform. We’ll be done by the end of the year. You’re going to love it in 2017!”  With an absent look on his face, Tom says “A DMP is a piece of AdTech that we can use to quickly target tailored audiences with our ad campaigns. It’s not a back-office data warehouse”.  Dick laughs and says, “Ad campaigns? Didn’t you just buy a campaign management tool from one of those so-called marketing cloud vendors? You know, our CRM system has a campaign module, not to mention an enormous customer database.”  Tom’s response: “You’re not getting it. Cross-Channel Campaign Management is a MarTech tool, not CRM. And a DMP is not a customer database.”  Exasperated, Dick shouts, “What the hell is the difference between MarTech and AdTech anyway!” 

Yes, this is an overly simplistic dramatization, but it represents a very real and complex problem that plagues too many businesses.  Marketers need a mix of marketing technology (MarTech) and advertising technology (AdTech) to succeed in the age of the customer.  It’s all part of the business technology agenda. They also need help from their CIO’s organization to procure and implement all of this technology while avoiding redundancy and the inevitable “vendor soup” that can result from poorly planned technology investments.  When marketers go rogue, they can waste technology budget on redundant solutions to a single business problem. On the other hand, when the CIO’s organization lives up to the stereotypical “party of NO” syndrome, nothing gets done, and the business falls further behind.

Are MarTech and AdTech really that different?  Well, yes they are, and I explain the high-level differences in this CIO magazine article. Some people call it all “MadTech” – a clever term that I like, but it doesn’t really matter what we call it when we roll it all up. What’s important for marketers and tech management professionals of all stripes is to understand the differences between the sub-categories, keep up with the pace of change in this market, and plan their investments wisely.  Forrester has a wealth of research to help you do just that.  Check out our new TechRadar™ covering 24 different sub-categories, for an in-depth look at this rapidly changing space.  For more of a “how to” approach, see the Enterprise Marketing Technology Playbook to help you plan and implement your investments. For deep dives on specific applications, we have more than a dozen Forrester Waves across the MarTech and AdTech ecosystem.  And for a peek into the near-term future, have a look at our 2016 predictions for B2C marketers

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