The convergence of AdTech and MarTech may not be as radical as it appears. According to Adam Berke, an AdRoll strategic advisor, the two technology disciplines have been merging for some time, and renewed interest in the subject is a result of new perspectives.

“As soon as these definitions were created, this topic existed. So there was never a time where they weren’t converging,” Berke said.

“It’s more of a topic of the definitions, which were never established clearly to begin with, or with any established firm footing.”

The marketing and advertising ecosystem contains a multitude of perspectives and definitions and, according to Berke, it really depends on how you want to “slice and dice” it.

For the AdRoll founder and now strategic adviser, two approaches stand out.

“We tend to come at it with two primary organising principles: one is performance, and the other is helping businesses leverage their data.”

These approaches mean customer solutions are generally formulated around these ideas, rather than marketing technology and advertising technology, Berke said.

“It just so happened that the best way to help businesses leverage their data with the objective of driving ROI performance was the re-targeting piece early on. That led us down a path of building out certain technologies.”

There are just some channels that exemplify the principles very well, by leveraging data into performance, Berke said.

“Email was always on our product roadmap from very early on, because that is a way to leverage your data with the objective of performance. So it was very clear that that needed to be on there.”

Berke said any organisation’s strategy will depend on factors specific to them.

“There are other ways you can come at it. You can come at it from the vertical. You can come at it from you want to solve everything for retailers. Or you want to solve everything for CPG. You can come at it from the point of view of business model.”

What’s the goal?

The organisation’s objectives should drive its approach, rather than any kind of technology, Berke said.

“We’ve never defined our strategy in terms of advertising tech or marketing tech. We’ve defined it in terms of performance-based solutions that are driven off of a data asset.”

Still, challenges persist. One that stands out is delivering a consistent message across channels.

Berke’s advice is to ensure a well-defined brand “identity” which will help to unify channels. “Your brand is the sum of all the touchpoints with the customer,” he said.

“Not having that unified identity is going to be damaging to your brand because it’s going to be harder to keep things consistent.”

The other challenge, although not entirely seperate, is attribution. Berle thinks it’s approaching breaking point, as marketers continue to experience diminishing returns.

“They’re kind of increasing spend year-over-year in these various channels at a rate that doesn’t necessarily correlate to the rate of their business growth,” he said.

“At some point you say, okay, what’s the causation here? You know, I’m spending 30, 40 per cent more each year on Facebook, but my business is growing ten per cent. What’s going on there?”

It’s not a problem exclusive to Facebook. It’s present in other high-growth areas, Berke said.

Often these channels produce metrics that are positive, but ultimately fail to correlate with real business growth, according to Berke.

“They’ve all been set up to drive to proxy metrics, CPC, even Last Click CPA,” he said.

“These are proxies for what we think are driving business results. But evidently as the spend continues to run away from the actual business growth, it just points out the obvious flaw in using those metrics: that they’re not necessarily always correlated to actual incremental business results,” he said.

About the Authors

Joe Brookes is a writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, which produced The Convergence of AdTech and MarTech white paper on behalf of AdRoll, a Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit member.

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