AdTech versus MarTech – evolving with a changing demographic and environment

It seems like I’m not the only person questioning the difference between AdTech and MarTech (or MarketingTech), as I’ve found dozens of resources discussing the differences. Some refer to AdTech as a subset of MarTech whereas others consider it as a category that stands on its own.

Before looking at the auxillaries AdTech and MarTech, it makes sense to look at the primary difference purposes and differences between Advertising and Marketing.

Yorke Communications see marketing being an umbrella term for a variety of activities such as PR, media planning, product pricing and distribution, sales strategy, customer support, market research and community involvement to help the product reach the customer; whereas Advertising is seen as the process of making your product and service known to the marketplace. It’s essentially referring to spreading the word about what a company has to offer, and is more sales oriented.

Marketing implies continuing the relationship with a known person. Advertising is more transactional: driving impressions, engagement, frequency, etc.

MarTech allows you to build a relationship with the customer that leads to long-term success. MarTech includes tools and technologies to manage marketing processes, workflows, digital content, customer relationships and customer analytics

Adtech allows for massive prospecting, for building a base, for building a brand. AdTech encompasses technologies such as demand-side platforms, and ad networks and exchanges that publishers use to sell their digital ad space

Adtech is for media buys (paid media) and MarTech for personalization (owned media).

But these differences are falling away. Some believe that both categories are slowly merging into a category called MadTech. According to Forrester research, Adtech vendors will be able to leverage MarTech’s presence in the customer life cycle to extend beyond acquisition, using data acquired at the first point of contact with a customer. With real time analytics and better customer insights, MarTech vendors will become better at determining the best locations and strategies to acquire new customers. Whether vendors specialize or converge, brands and agencies will still require the distinct AdTech and MarTech capablities; and those vendors that can offer the best value and experiences will emerge with success in a highly competitive landscape.

I attended the Future Ad Africa 2018 conference in Johannesburg where various AdTech and MarTech industry stakeholders and exhibitors share their insights on the latest trends and developments. Data Permission marketing was a concern raised by many speakers.

Christel Olmesdahl, said that brands now have the tools and technologies to capture useful customer data, but regulations do not permit brands to make use of the data for other purposes that a prospect or client has not opted for. Brands need to be responsible with the data that they spent a lot of money obtaining, or else clients will opt out.

OTT (Over the top) programming, a MarTech solution was also discussed in-depth. Sonya Erdogan said that OTT allows brands to manage consumer touchpoints more effectively by building strong, segmented and trusted relationships.

Besides the advances in technology, all agreed that the client demographic is changing. While targeting a demographic like “women age 18-40” may have been okay in the past, it’s too broad for today. The millennial demographic has already undergone 2 stages of evolution and their preferences are changing. AdTech and MarTech developments need to align with the evolving demographics, their preferences and the regulatory environment.


How the Difference Between Marketing and Advertising is Getting Blurred in the Digital Era
Why The Convergence Of Adtech And Martech Matters
The difference between adtech and martech is a hell of a lot more than the billing structure
What the hell is the difference between ad tech and marketing tech?
Martech and ad tech: Challenges and opportunities
Callie Grace, Account Manager at Trantor Inc on the Difference between Martech and Adtech