Is the difference between MarTech and AdTech as simple as knowing the differences between marketing and advertising? It's a good start, but there's more to the story. Both rely on technology that enables better personalization, automation, analytics, and reporting, but they exist to perform different functions.
What is MarTech?
Today’s marketers increasingly rely on MarTech, technologies that help streamline, and scale marketing activities. These tools help companies plan and execute marketing campaigns, monitor and record the results of marketing initiatives, adjust tactics based on the insights the data reveal in real-time and for future campaigns. There are more than 8,000 MarTech solutions in existence now, and it continues to grow.
What is AdTech?
AdTech is the umbrella term for the technologies that help advertisers and ad agencies create, run, manage, and measure online advertising campaigns. Companies reduce waste in ad spending, thanks to AdTech because it allows them to target a very specific audience.
What are the differences between MarTech and AdTech?
Since some marketing and ad functions seem to intersect, it can be confusing to know the difference between MarTech and AdTech. Let’s compare some of the ways to differentiate them.
In general, when paid media is involved, AdTech will be as well. MarTech is typically deployed with unpaid media, such as in social media or email campaigns. This distinction can become blurry when MarTech is used to manage channels you would often define as AdTech, such as paid ad-campaign capabilities on social media management tools.
When a company has formed some kind of relationship with a person or another brand, they will use MarTech to continue to nurture that relationship. At some point, they have collected some data such as name, email, and some identifying information such as purchase history so that they can communicate one-to-one with that entity. AdTech solutions are more of a one-to-many approach and help get organizations to get noticed by those who haven't interacted yet and are unknown to the brand.
MarTech and AdTech platforms are created to support the specific functions for each. Therefore, the capabilities of a platform and what it’s designed to do can offer hints to determine if it’s MarTech or AdTech. For example, AdTech uses demand-side platforms to run advertising campaigns and purchase ad inventory and sell that space. MarTech uses platforms such as customer-relationship management (CRM) systems and social media management tools. The key tools included in a MarTech Stack address every stage of the marketing cycle, from attracting to understanding the target customer.
Another way AdTech and MarTech are different is in the way they bill. Since AdTech automates the process of buying and targeting ads, typically, the companies that build those tools bill by charging a commission such as a markup on the media spend with a minimum. MarTech solutions are usually billed a flat rate per month as it typical with SaaS models. This is another area that is becoming less distinct between AdTech and MarTech as more AdTech providers are exploring other revenue models, including SaaS.
You can also look at who uses a tool to help determine if it’s AdTech or MarTech. For example, advertisers and ad agencies use AdTech, while MarTech is often deployed by in-house marketing teams. Again, this distinction isn’t always clear as many ad agencies provide more than just paid-advertising services.
Examples of MarTech
Let’s delve deeper into MarTech by looking at some examples that are in use today that have transformed the marketing function.
Examples of AdTech
There are many technologies deployed to support advertising initiatives. Here are just a few:
MarTech and AdTech make marketing and advertising functions more automated, streamlined, and efficient.
Where to go from here
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Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the field of business and technology. He is the author of 18 best-selling books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations. He has 2 million social media followers and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK.