Making the Most of Martech Part 1: A Starter Guide

Monday March 29, 2021 - Posted by:

In this first of a two-part blog series, our CEO Hannes Ben explains the key terms and considerations you need to know about when building Martech into your strategy.

It seems pretty obvious what ‘Martech’ – a simple abbreviation of ‘marketing technology’ – stands for: any type of technology platform, software, analytics tool etc which may be used by a marketing team to help them execute their marketing efforts and achieve their business objectives.

Why then do so many people hearing about Martech still respond with a confused expression and struggle to really comprehend what Martech is and can achieve? To be really clear about Martech, you need to have a strong understanding of a myriad of marketing technologies, how they work, how they communicate with each other and how you merge a stack of tools tailored to your specific business needs together into one framework.

First, let’s debunk the martech terminology:

Aside from the word ‘Martech’ itself, the other important and common collocations are ‘Martech Stack’, ‘Martech Stack Integration’ as well as terms such as ‘Datasets’, ‘Log Level Data’, ‘Aggregated Data’.

  • ‘Martech Stack’ refers to different marketing tools and platforms relevant to your organisation and its needs
  • ‘Martech Stack Integration’ covers the process of integrating all relevant technologies into one framework so that each piece of tech can communicate with and complement each other. This process makes it then possible to automate, measure and generate something called ‘datasets’
  • ‘Datasets’ is simply information generated by the stack at either aggregated or log level with associated keys or metrics
  • ‘Log level’ data collects one line of information for every single event captured by a marketing platform with possibly the user id as a key identifier
  • ‘Aggregated data’, information is captured by a platform and aggregated by a metric (e.g. reach, impressions, clicks).

Second, why is Martech such an important discussion point for brands across the globe?

There are a few reasons for the notable growth of martech in recent years and the increasing attention it is receiving from many brands:

Following many years of big media networks hiding kickbacks in their media buying process from platforms, clients have started to demand full transparency of what their money buys them and what exactly it delivers. There have also been transparency concerns regarding brand safety following Facebook’s Cambridge Analytics leak and Google’s Youtube safety crisis a few years back. Brands want to have control over their data and that can only be achieved if they understand and implement the required marketing technology. Aside from safety issues, the industry has been busy adapting to a new world where privacy plays a key role and is secured via a number of policies, such as GDPR in Europe, PDPA in Singapore and the CCPA in the US. All those new policies require brands to integrate additional processes and technology to ensure they can stick to the rules while still successfully achieving their business goals.

Secondly, marketing technology has exploded over recent years. There are over 7000 companies offering Martech across the categories – advertising & promotions, content & experience, social & relationships, commerce & sales, data and management.  Specifically, the data category has already 2000+ providers supporting clients with, amongst others, data science, tag management, analytics, attribution, and it continues to see tremendous growth. It seems insurmountable to any marketing person to understand all the ins and outs of each technology and manage to combine the right pieces for your needs. Therefore, Martech experts and consultants who spend all their time monitoring the progress and impact of the different tech pieces are required to help with assembling the right stack.

Then there is the challenge of “walled gardens”, in other words, a closed ecosystem with its own technology, user data and information managed only by the people within. Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon but also China are prime examples of organisations that have built and continue to strengthen their walled gardens. One major problem with walled gardens is the fact that publishers are not able to tie back individual interactions to their CRM database. You are forced to work with a purely aggregated data view resulting in less specific observations, which makes extracting audience insights hard. The beginning of the end of third-party cookies and with that a further strengthening of the development of first-party data will lead to those walls to only grow even higher.

One way for companies to gain more control, increase transparency and counter the dominance of walled gardens is to collect and use their own first-party data which can then be used by their marketing teams for targeted messaging. To achieve that a combination of DMP, CDP and a CRM will be required. Let’s look at a brief definition of what those three pieces of technologies do.

DMP – Data Management Platform

A DMP is a technology platform that allows you to gather customer data at a cookie level, predominantly 2nd and 3rd party data (some versions also support 1st party data). This data can then be used to target ads via demand-side platforms (‘DSP’). A DSP is simply a piece of software from where advertisers can buy ads on different media directly from a large variety of publishers. DMPs collect large amounts of data, anonymise it and then group it together into audiences which can then be used for targeting in digital marketing.

CDP – Customer Data Platform

In many ways CDPs seem to do the same as DMPs which is why people often struggle to differentiate between them. CDPs also collect customer data which can then be used for retargeting in digital marketing. However, a CDP’s focus is 1st party data with unique identifiers such as an email address, name, phone number etc. This data can be used to engage directly with customers. Unlike DMPs where matching and targeting of audiences is entirely probabilistic, CDPs allow highly deterministic targeting strategies. This requires careful management of consent for personal data usage which can be done via consent management platforms.

Both – DMPs and CDPs – play an important role in their own way. DMPs are key during the awareness stage when targeting probabilistic look-a-like audiences and growing your customer base. CDPs are crucial for strategies tailored to specific customers to boost decision-making during their purchasing journey and retain them.

How is a CDP different from a CRM?

CDPs link first-party user information with behavioural and transactional data points from a variety of media sources. The data can be used to create specific customer groups for highly targeted marketing campaigns. CRM (customer relationship management) platforms, on the other hand, collect customer data points such as name, email, contact phone number and then track the relationship with each customer throughout the customer-facing sales cycle and any associated marketing activities.

In only a few paragraphs of text, you have been introduced to several commonly used acronyms in the marketing and advertising space. This was only a snapshot of the sea of technologies that exist in the Martech space and within each, you have several companies offering competing software with each having its own pros and cons.

Locaria celebrates language with data, including all the data provided by cutting-edge Martech solutions. In the next part of our series, we discuss how to get started with Martech and how by blending data insights with linguistic creativity, the options for increased engagement and growing your business are endless.


Article by Hannes Ben

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