What is Martech Anyway? Your Definitive Guide

What-is-martech-anywayWe have been hearing the word ‘martech’ quite often and about how companies are embracing it nowadays which shows that it has assumed a lot of importance.

So, what is martech?

We know that in marketing, especially in digital marketing, technology plays a major role.

Martech is this blending of marketing and technology. Digital marketing relies on technology completely.

All the efforts you do and marketing tools that you use to fulfill the marketing objectives come under ‘martech.’

In simple terms, it is every piece of technology that marketers use to reach their potential customers.

Marketingland.com defines ‘martech’ as :

Martech is the blending of marketing and technology. Virtually anyone involved with digital marketing is dealing with martech, since digital by its very nature is technologically-based.

Many people are still not very clear by this definition and fail to understand what is martech.

To make this definition clearer, let me give you examples of tools that any digital marketer uses.

Martech Stack: The technology-based tools that Digital Marketers use

To carry on their marketing efforts, marketers use many technology-based tools which are called technology stack. These can be SaaS platforms, social media tools and traditional software.

Some examples are given below.

  • If your site is a CMS (Content Management System, like WordPress), then you are using martech.
  • You have an email list and use an email marketing platform like Campaign Monitor or MailChimp to send emails and grow your business.
  • Social media scheduling tool like Hootsuite and Buffer.
  • Google Analytics or Kissmetrics for tracking marketing efforts
  • CRM software like Salesforce and HubSpot

All these tools help to deliver personalized content to their customers, convert leads and achieve better ROI.

So martech works both ways – on the one hand, it helps in better understanding of the customers like their demographics and what they are looking for. On the other hand, it helps in giving them a personalized and tailored marketing experience.

I hope it is clear what is martech. The next thing you should know is who actually uses martech.

Who uses martech?

Any person who at any point in their marketing journey uses a technology tool to do the work is using martech.

These people can be digital strategists, website owners, senior-level hybrid professionals, growth hackers, data scientists and essentially anybody who is both marketing and tech-savvy.

Here, the traditional boundaries or bifurcations between marketing and IT departments is overlooked.

That is why, in many modern businesses, the CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) and CIOs (Chief Information Officers) work more closely to make technology decisions that impact the business growth.

Difference between martech and adtech

Sometimes, people tend to confuse between AdTech and martech.

AdTech also uses technology in marketing. But, there is a difference. AdTech is about buying, placing and selling advertisements. Martech is about building, delivering and optimizing campaigns.

Martech companies operate on a SaaS (software-as-a-service) model. This means that to use the tools and software for gathering data, brands have to pay their vendors a fee. Adobe, Marketo and Salesforce are the leaders in marketing cloud technology.

AdTech operates on margins of purchased ads and deals a lot with placing of the ads in the campaign.

So, at some point, the two meet but they definitely cannot combine.

Benefits of Martech

The new age companies are embracing martech because it helps them to have a one-to-one reach of their potential customers.

The legacy brands still have a long way to go because they have not been able to embrace the martech tools to give a personalized experience to their users.

The rise of AI (artificial intelligence) is helped by the data that marketers receive from martech tools. So much data is generated by these tools that can help in crucial business decisions.

Ad campaigns, email marketing, mobile apps and videos etc. all generate so much data about an individual. Interpreting this data and deriving strategies from it can be quite a task.

Here, AI is helping marketers make business sense of that data.

In this way, martech helps in delivering the right message to the right customer.

[Suggested Read: 8 Winning Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses]


Challenges and opportunities of martech

Consumers are becoming more demanding.

They want personalized experiences and timely information. For this to happen, integration and collaboration of marketing with other departments, especially IT should happen.

This is a challenge for many companies but also a huge opportunity if implemented correctly.


Consumers have privacy concerns of the data that they share with brands through various tools. They do not have any control if that data is shared with multiple other brands.

In this scenario, martech should understand the data privacy issues and the trust factor of their customers.

Some customers are OK to share data as long as it is not modified. This will lead to targeted ads being shown to them and avoid their time wastage and that of the marketers.

What is the future for martech?

MarketingLand data shows that from 2011 to 2016, the technology companies have risen from 150 to 4000. Gartner says that in 2017, the marketing technology budgets will exceed IT budgets.

There is going to be a huge growth curve in the marketing technology landscape. We are seeing marketing automation happen everywhere.

Those businesses that fail to adapt will gradually perish.

The presence of so many digital marketing channels and marketing technology vendors in the market proves the fact that martech is here to stay and grow.