Should businesses invest more in AdTech or MarTech? This debate lives on, as the two sectors help create personalized and engaging ads for consumers.

It’s hard to believe, but AdTech and MarTech share the same goal: they want to provide marketers with data. Based on these data, marketers should be able to evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing activities and make data-driven marketing decisions.

So, what is the difference between the two and why does MarTech seem to be winning the battle?


#1: Getting the 360-degree view of the customer

As CIO defines it, AdTech focuses on the programmatic buying and selling of advertisements. They come in the form of ad networks, ad servers, ad exchanges and more. Because it focuses on advertising, AdTech only has a partial view of the customer journey – and only when one has expressed interest through the ad. Everything else before and after is a black hole.

On the other hand, MarTech focuses on the full customer journey, from start to sale and beyond. It enables marketers to analyse their behaviour and manage marketing processes on it.

One could say that AdTech serves each marketing manager to complete their task on specific paid campaigns, whereas MarTech enables them to evaluate the effectiveness of their entire marketing strategy.


#2: Building a relationship with the customer

AdTech targets a specific group of individuals that could be relevant to the business for the paid ad campaigns. As VentureBeat explains, AdTech is more transactional by nature, and focuses on promoting awareness, driving impressions, and maximizing click-through rates.

In contrast, MarTech targets a group of known people and pursues a long-term relationship with these people through known data, enabling marketers to close the loop by adapting marketing messages and impacting them at the right place and time. Therefore, the precision of tracking is important for accurate analysis and long-term success.


#3: Sustainable billing

While the definitions of both AdTech and MarTech often overlap, a key distinction between the two is: AdTech is typically based on media. They collect revenue based on the volume of advertising that their clients have generated.

On the other hand, MarTech often works on a SaaS business model. They collect a subscription fee, which is recurring regardless of the volume. Therefore, clients from MarTech providers have the security that their billing does not explode when their campaigns grow. As it is more stable, predictable, and relatively immune to market fluctuations and other seasonal or situational factors that may affect the typical ad tech company, MarTech providers also tend to be better backed up by venture capitalists.


The challenge ahead: Connecting to your existing systems

At the end of the day, the question isn’t an either-or question. MarTech and AdTech companies are not always mutually exclusive. Nor should companies use only one and not the other. The tricky bit lies in making the most of multiple systems and profiting from the combined benefits.

That is today’s challenge.

A study commissioned by LiveIntent shows that 40% of marketers face difficulty working across silos. And the difficulty integrating advertising, marketing and customer data was a barrier for 30%.

The clue is in finding the right middleware that enables you to combine both MarTech and AdTech, so that you gain the full view of your customer. As MarTech Today explains, a big part of a CMO’s role today is to drive the marriage of MarTech and Ad Tech into a unified stack that provides a 360° view of their consumer. Only with the full view of a customer, would you be able to increase reach and nurture existing customer relationships.