Digital marketing has raised the bar for the type of experiences consumers expect from brands. This is forcing marketers to up their game and in doing so, they are using advertising technology (adtech) and marketing technology (martech) spaces to attract, engage and acquire customers.
But in a recently published report entitled, “A More Perfect Union: Adtech and Martech Convergence Will Revolutionize Marketing,” Joe Stanhope of Forrester argues that it is no longer good enough to just implement adtech and martech solutions in a siloed manner like in the past. Doing so constrains the type of experience marketers can offer. Instead, Stanhope says that in order to deliver new and differentiated experiences, marketers have no choice but to knock down barriers and converge adtech and martech. Can we say MADTECH???
In his report, Stanhope acknowledges that implementing adtech and martech convergence will not be easy…
Convergence is a compelling future state, but it’s not as easy as slamming all the data into a database and coding the functionality into a single interface. Resolving the technical, commercial, and user challenges of convergence won’t be smooth or evenly paced. Adtech and martech convergence is a process comprised of multiple discrete stages over the course of several years.
For this desired convergence to be realized, marketing teams and agency relationships will need to be reorganized, workflows and processes re-engineered, technology and data stacks reassessed and cultural norms reconsidered. Today, marketing disciplines are typically functionally siloed along different dimensions — adtech is primarily managed by agencies, although some brands are bringing the function in-house, and martech is splintered between various agencies and in-house resources, depending on the function (direct response, social, corporate communications, customer loyalty, etc.). This is made even more complex when geographic regions and semi-autonomous lines-of-business are factored in. To truly converge adtech and martech, a fundamental transformation needs to occur.
In light of this, at Origami Logic, we expect a couple things to happen in the industry:
First, we expect there will be consolidation among vendors. This will not only reduce the number of options available (a good thing), but it will also reduce the integration efforts needed (also a good thing). Consolidation in the industry is already happening, as evidenced by Salesforce’s acquisition of Krux, a data management platform (DMP), in 2015, Adobe acquiring TubeMogul, a video advertising platform, last year and other examples.
Second, we expect increased efforts among the vendors to improve the interoperability among the different solutions. In particular, we feel an emphasis will be placed on data since it is the critical asset that binds together the different solutions. As Stanhope says in his report…
To predict the trajectory of convergence, don’t follow the money — follow the data. The technology road map to consolidate advertising and marketing is a mid- to long-term outcome because the development effort requires significant time and resources. In the meantime, data portability is the tip of the spear for convergence that establishes the path by making audience and customer data available throughout the marketing tech stack for robust decisioning, targeting, and personalization for every customer interaction.
Currently, data is not very portable among adtech and martech solutions. This is true for a couple of reasons. First, various solutions treat similar data differently. A classic example of this is “time.” There is no consistent representation of time across all of the different platforms. Some define the start of their day at different times so the definition of “today” varies. Also, some platforms store time based on GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and some don’t. All of this makes things very difficult when time-based data needs to be exchanged.
Second, there are no broadly supported data exchange standards in the marketing space. We think it is critical for marketing data standards to be established in order for data portability to become real. This has been done in other industries, like financial services and telecommunications, where the exchange of data among disparate systems is commonplace.
At Origami Logic, in working closely with many of the largest brand advertisers, we have learned a great deal about the various adtech and martech platforms, and we have have gained a profound understanding of marketing data. Our knowledge of marketing data is reflected in our Marketing Graph, the industry’s only marketing data model that defines the relationships between different marketing elements — campaigns, activities, assets, performance metrics, etc. With this knowledge, we feel we can play an instrumental role in establishing marketing data standards and we look forward to that opportunity.
The convergence of adtech and martech is an exciting development. The path will certainly be filled with challenges. But hopefully, it will get our industry to work together — particularly when it comes to a data standard — and enable brands to engage with their consumers in a more compelling and effective manner.