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The martech scene is burgeoning, and the labels sprouting up are starting to get complicated. 

Marketing, advertising, and branding tools are appearing quickly, resulting in the marketing technology landscape growing 27% in the last twelve months alone. 

In this article, we take a look at the difference between AdTech MarTech, as well as the emerging BrandTech space, and how all three technology types are converging to create an overarching marketing tech stack focused on building better customer experiences.

What Is Adtech?

Most experts define adtech as technology which focuses on the top of the sales funnel and building inbound marketing campaigns. "These campaigns are often designed to drive impressions, new user acquisitions, unique users and views," said Tara Ryan, CMO of Swrve. The platforms, therefore, usually have capabilities to build target audiences, create advertisements and connect with digital spaces to serve the ads. 

"As the advertising business model increasingly moves away from web and toward mobile," said Ryan, "marketers in many cases are looking for adtech solutions that can look beyond cookies and retargeting." Marketers need tooling that can create more targeted and relevant ad campaigns for mobile and even internet of things audiences. It’s no longer enough to put a banner ads on a website and hope it's enough to generate conversions.

The adtech tools themselves fall into two main categories. "This includes demand-side platforms (DSPs) on the buyers' side and supply-side platforms (SSPs) on the ad sellers' side," explained Daryl McNutt, VP of marketing at TapClicks. These tools connect through an ad exchange for optimized paid advertising and programmatic media.

For most organizations, advertising is a small part of the overall marketing strategy, so adtech can be considered part of the martech stack. 

Related Article: Forget MarTech Convergence, Here Comes MadTech

What Is Martech?

Martech is a much broader category that ranges from advertising and social media tools to email and content marketing software. In general, "Martech refers to the ecosystem of tools used to automate, measure and amplify marketing efforts to reach specific customers and customer segments," said McNutt. Most organizations have a multitude of martech tools that make up their overall martech stack.

The core features of martech software include the ability to do "mobile marketing, SMS and push notifications, email marketing, A/B testing, user-feedback surveys, OTT messaging, and more," said Ryan. It lets marketing teams have personalized relationships with existing or prospective customers and create highly engaging customer experiences across channels.

...And Then There's Brandtech

Evy Wilkins, VP of Marketing at San Francisco, C.A.-based Traackr considers there to be a third category emerging. She said brandtech "is a newer lens through which we can look at how marketing organizations leverage technology to create experiences for customers." The term brandtech was coined by David Jones, Founder of New York-based You and Mr Jones. Technologies within this category could include chatbots, virtual reality, or video. 

Jones recently told Forbes that, “People take in content in so many different ways, and brands have to know how to build content that is short, that is long, that is vertical, that is text, that is video, that is emoji, that is AR and that above all lives on mobile.”

“Tech allows a brand to connect with people that has nothing to do with “advertising” as we’ve known it. How can brands adapt to that in a way that goes way beyond annoying and intrusive advertising? That’s the key,” Jones added.

How Martech, Adtech and Brandtech Are Converging

"Adtech should be considered as part of the overall martech stack and, more importantly, as part of the overall marketing strategy," explained Chris Dunn, SVP of global demand generation & customer marketing at Dun & Bradstreet. Companies should be looking to leverage data from all types of platforms to optimize their marketing, advertising and communication efforts across the board. “A marketing organization first needs to assess the goals for the organization,” suggested Dunn, “and then build a martech stack that meets those goals.”

When building the martech stack, the seamless integration of different marketing platforms is crucial. "The concept of omnichannel marketing combines practically every element at an organization's disposal to create a 360-degree customer experience," said McNutt. Omnichannel marketing drives sales beyond what a standalone paid advertising or marketing campaign could do — so adtech and martech work best when integrated. "The important thing is to remember that the customer should be at the center of all advertising, marketing and communications efforts," added McNutt. The distinction between adtech, martech, and brandtech aside, each type of platform is valuable in the digital marketer's tech stack.

“Ultimately, given the ubiquitous presence of digital experiences and interplay between online and offline, marketers are required to live in an omnichannel world where adtech, martech and brandtech combine to deliver messaging, content and experiences to generate revenue," said Wilkins. There’s not one martech stack solution that fits all, so it’s up to marketers to determine the best way to offer rich digital experiences that drive revenue.