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[Tech Talks] The difference between Martech and Adtech and why it matters

Updated: Aug 31

Tech Talks is a video series that aims to demystify the functionality, benefits and future of technology in marketing.


Ben Wightman, Head of Data & Analytics from Wunderman Thompson demystifies technology in marketing by outlining the difference between Martech and Adtech and why it matters.



In the midst of the COVID-19 standstill in the Asia Pacific, innovation and M&A continues to drive constant change in “Madtech,” in part because the constant digital transformation is truly driving everyone mad. Despite some calling it the “nuclear winter” of Adtech based on the current Madtech uncertainties, it is – after initially more buzz than measurable ROI – finally coming out of the so-called trough of disillusionment. (Picture source: Digiday)


One of the best places to start is the Lumascapes for MarTech and Display. While they’re admittedly almost impossible to read “logofests,” they serve as a useful visualization of the many different technology classifications under Martech and Adtech (“Display” according to Luma).


Both sales and marketing tech come under “Marketing Technology”, as well as e-commerce and website creation, management and personalization tools. However, everything largely falls under what many would call “owned media,” the platforms a client-side organization would own and have direct control over.

With the Display Adtech Lumascape, third-party organizations such as Agencies of which WPP, Wunderman Thompson’s parent company, is one, as well as Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) and Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) linking to publishers and ultimately “people,” your target audiences.


Depending on which side of the business you’re on, you may be more familiar with the players in either the more internal and direct MarTech side or the more third-party media-oriented Adtech side. However, it’s important to understand both sides of the increasingly complex Madtech coin.


But why is it important? Here are the top five reasons based on the latest CMO insights from Forrester:

  1. Martech and Adtech are rapidly converging with acquisitions fueling the trend.

  2. While CMO tech spend will be “reaching new heights” in 2020.

  3. Organizational marketing productivity is said to be “dipping” despite tech investment.

  4. Customer experience (CX) quality has "stalled for the fourth year in a row" despite Madtech’s personalization promises.

  5. The only way to recalibrate the Madtech mess will be through the application of creativity and strategy to deliver uniqueness to customers.

(Predictions 2020: CMO, Forrester)


At the end of the day, with knowledge comes power, and since your marketing partners are actively shoring up their own power through M&A – just like Taboola and Outbrain recently – there could never be a more important time to be collecting and harnessing your own customer data.


As the flurry of acronyms like CDP, DMP, DSP, CCSE and EMSS never seems to stop, the underlying importance for you as a marketer is the ability to turn the data held and transformed in all of these tech systems into measurable value for your customers and other stakeholders.


About Wunderman Thompson  At Wunderman Thompson we exist to inspire growth for ambitious brands. Part creative agency, part consultancy and part technology company, our experts provide end-to-end capabilities at a global scale to deliver inspiration across the entire brand and customer experience.   We are 20,000 strong in 90 markets around the world, where our people bring together creative storytelling, diverse perspectives, inclusive thinking, and highly specialized vertical capabilities, to drive growth for our clients. We offer deep expertise across the entire customer journey, including communications, commerce, consultancy, CRM, CX, data, production and technology. Wunderman Thompson is a WPP agency (NYSE: WPP).   For more information, please visit us at www.wundermanthompson.com and follow Wunderman Thompson on our social channels via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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