Adtech & Martech or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Convergence

Few topics get more air time in marketing circles than adtech and martech convergence. The commentary spans a spectrum ranging from attempts to agree upon the deceptively simple semantics of adtech and martech (which usually ends when everyone throws up their hands and concedes that it is simply madtech) to existential examinations of the future of marketing itself. 

Some reactions to looming convergence approach satire, sometimes even intentionally. Like the war room bound leaders in Dr. Strangelove, we wonder: Are we heading for mutually assured destruction? Is somebody harboring a doomsday device? Have our deterrents been rendered useless? Which side will strike first? Who’s really in charge?

 Source: IMDB

Yet these questions are surprisingly apt in the context of convergence. It should surprise no-one that adtech and martech convergence evokes strong feelings. Modern marketing is a technology-driven discipline, and any widespread change will reverberate throughout the ecosystem. Convergence impacts the future of thousands of vendors (and their investors). It affects day-to-day marketing operations for tens of thousands of brands (and their agencies). The excitement, mystery, and controversy surrounding convergence speaks volumes about the marketing industry’s collective aspirations and fears. 

Despite the drums of ink already spilled on adtech and martech convergence, Forrester wanted to know more. Many observers correctly state that convergence is already in progress, but details remain frustratingly sparse. There’s much more to convergence than marketing applications and their functionality, and it’s not enough to theorize whether convergence is academically good or bad. Marketers need to know how convergence will play out and what it means for their stakeholders…especially their customers. Thoroughly understanding adtech and martech convergence is critically important because it drives:

  1. Economic throughput. Convergence impacts the allocation of literally tens of billions of dollars in marketing budgets by redefining the path of marketing spend across technology, data, media, and content.
  2. Contextual marketing. Convergence advances the technology stack for customer-lead marketing organizations to effectively engage with their customers across touchpoints and devices throughout the customer lifecycle. 

A More Perfect Union: Adtech and Martech Convergence Will Revolutionize Marketing is Forrester’s perspective on the drivers, impact, and evolution of convergence. We set out to put convergence into a framework that helps marketers anticipate its wide-ranging impact on their tech and services roadmaps, organizations, processes, and budgets in the coming years.

It’s tempting to conflate disruption with apocalyptic outcomes, but our research clearly shows that 1. convergence is not a zero-sum game, and 2. marketers need to proactively manage convergence to reap the benefits. To arm marketers with practical insights, the report digs into the adtech and martech convergence phenomenon:

  • How the revolution starts with technology but portends a broader convergence of advertising and marketing.
  • Why adtech and martech convergence to-date has progressed in fits and starts.

  • The macro trends driving accelerated convergence today.
  • How convergence benefits all marketing stakeholders.
  • The use cases that catalyze investment in converged technology.
  • The five phases of adtech and martech convergence.

Adtech and martech convergence is an important trend with long term implications. We’re excited to hear your thoughts on the report and on convergence. If you’re a Forrester client, please don’t hesitate to request an inquiry to discuss convergence further. We can also connect live; I’ll be speaking at eTail West in February, RampUp in March, Forrester’s Consumer Marketing Forum in April, and MarTech 2017 in May.

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