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What the Heck is Martech Anyway?

Published on .

Martech exists to give advertisers a one-to-one relationship with their customers. Brands like Uber, Dollar Shave Club and Airbnb already have that setup. Legacy brands, however, still have multiple layers separating them from their customers. To help them shed those layers, many turn to digital marketing hubs, or marketing clouds.


A marketing cloud, as research firm Gartner describes it, gives marketers standardized access to audience data, content, event triggers and analysis so they can automate complex campaigns, sales and data collection both online and off.

Almost without exception, marketing technology companies operate on a software-as-a-service model, or SaaS. That means brands pay vendors a yearly fee to use software so they can gather data on their consumers, for example. Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle and Marketo are the clear leaders when it comes to marketing clouds, according to a February report by Gartner. Even the most tech-savvy brands will likely find it difficult to make sense of all their data. In most cases, brands hire large consultancies to help them out.

Isn't this just ad tech? No. Ad tech is about placing, buying and selling ads while martech is about building, managing, delivering and optimizing campaigns.

Ad tech also operates on margins of purchased ads, a significant difference from martech's SaaS model. Marketing campaigns need to be planned, and that means ads need to be placed, so there's room for the two to converge, but perhaps not combine completely.

If you are looking for help to make sense of the Martech landscape, turn to LookBook.

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