The differences are demonstrated in the ways we think about ad tech and martech. These are two categories of the technology business that feed into the discussion of marketing clouds and marketing operating systems. At their core these differences align with the current standard of thinking around paid, owned and earned media.
Paid advertising is very much the realm of advertising, spanning the ecosystems of general publishing, social, and many more. Paid advertising is the backbone of the media space, providing air cover that enables much of the rest of the landscape to exist.
In doing so, advertising has created its own lexicon. It’s the avenue for introducing messages, enabling you to reach consumers when they’re out of your immediate sphere of influence and bringing them back toward a place of known identity, at least when you’re able to convert them to that stage.
Earned and owned media channels are not the same by any means, but the lexicon and knowledge applied to these channels is similar. They’re about engaging in a more intimate conversation directly with a consumer or group of consumers.
These channels are prequalified because your audience has essentially opted in to a conversation with you and in many cases has de-anonymized for you, enabling you to better understand who they are and what is motivating them. They may be supplying you a Twitter handle, Facebook ID or their email address — and as a result, they are engaged in a more direct conversation. This becomes more focused on the known aspects of the customer journey and the ability to push consumers down a specific path.
Salespeople who are entrenched in selling solutions for marketing have trouble with advertising and in some cases vice versa, though I would argue it’s easier for ad people to make the jump into marketing than the reverse.
Understanding the technology that underlines the ad space is where I see the biggest gap. In a marketing-tech environment, marketers own the software that enable them to do their job, so they are trained on its use and are able to activate their campaigns on their own.
In the ad space, more marketers rely on partners to help steward the relationship, because the technology is owned and managed on the partner side rather than in-house. The technology changes often and the partners, in many cases, become interchangeable. That is why some investors value martech differently than ad tech. By its very nature, ad tech is far more transactional.
The role of the marketing organization is to supply the sales department with the support it needs to grow the business. The tools associated with advertising and marketing are at their disposal to make this happen, but these tools and teams must be unified: not an easy task, and one that requires the right domain knowledge.
My best advice here is hire people from both walks of the landscape to be most successful. But make sure they learn the other side of the business from a metrics and strategic perspective, in order to ensure success.