Large enterprises have traditionally seen advertising and marketing technology platforms align into separate stacks and teams. This presents problems for goals like accurate attribution and full-cycle journey optimization. The demise of third-party cookies makes this separation more intolerable.
In a peer group session we organized for omnichannel stack owners, a large B2C firm and a B2B enterprise shared case studies with contrasting and identical points. Here are takeaways from each presentation that are worth tracking.
Looking at today’s B2C and B2B martech and adtech systems
The B2C firm had understandably made heavy investments in adtech. Their systems — from content to data and decision logic — had predated their martech stack to some extent. This stems from pre-digital (especially pre-pandemic) business models, where the firm had gone to market through distributors and retailers. Now in the era of growing direct-to-consumer business, “It’s all martech,” the B2C stack leader noted.
But as their initial engagement strategy transitioned from transactional selling to building omnichannel customer relationships, the firm needed to think about their media buying efforts more holistically in the context of customer journeys.
Based on the ensuing conversation, it is clear that some leading enterprises are formally structuring marketing plus adtech into “madtech” teams. Even if not formally re-structuring, at a minimum, it became possible to glean that nearly all leading companies are:
- Joining data and marketing teams and making measurement part of every activity.
- Focusing heavily on metadata, both at the campaign and asset level, since it’s impossible to draw analytic conclusions without it.
- Developing more in-house AI capabilities to keep building off early learnings.
The B2B case study revealed similar insights but with a greater emphasis on journey optimization as the initial driver. The firm optimized its ad spend for longer and more complex buyer journeys, not just front-end lead generation. This meant integrating media buying and account-based marketing, which isn’t always easy. They simplified the process by having a single DAM that fueled both media channels and messaging via owned-and-operated properties.
Dig deeper: Customer journey orchestration: What it is and why marketers should care
Closing the loop: Striving for martech and adtech alignment
In theory, better martech and adtech integration and alignment should bring enterprises closer to the holy grail of a single, “closed loop” motion — from media buy to loyal, repeat customer. Yet, all the martech leaders agreed that the processes and analytics required to achieve a fully closed loop remain an aspiration.
To that extent, you need to avoid over-promising. In a world where most enterprises still struggle to align adtech and martech at a basic level, you may, as one leader put it, “have to work with a “180-degree closed loop.” It will take time to consolidate appropriate technologies, data flows and teams.
The necessary skill sets needed to execute in a blended martech and adtech world are rapidly evolving, too. Increasingly, the lines between technical, content and data people are blurring. Sprinkle in the right level of legal counsel, and you’ve got the makings of a modern madtech team.
All this uncertainty and change enhance the argument to focus on core data, content and process capabilities that can work underneath your adtech and martech stacks as foundational building blocks. This may present the most critical objective for overall architecture this decade. A good time to start is now.
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