The 4 Challenges of Martech & Adtech

February 26, 2024

If I ask: What is Marketing? People will have ideas ranging from this image of Don Draper with a cigarette in a 60s-style office straight out of Mad Men, to a giant like Google or Salesforce with offices in Silicon Valley full of servers processing data at millions of instructions per second.

The truth is that it's difficult to conceptualize modern marketing without understanding that since its beginnings at the dawn of the modern age, marketing has gone through three stages: Production orientation, sales orientation, and marketing orientation. Transitioning from a purely commercial focus to becoming a key area within companies, leads to this new vision of customer-centricity, where marketing becomes the architect of the main strategies for interacting with customers.

🚣🏻 The Evolution of Marketing: From Product-Centric to Customer-Centric

The most successful companies radically change their approach to serve the idea that all their internal processes must be directed towards the vision of creating value for the customer. For example, Amazon has internal processes of constant goal definition and measurement of their success. This means that if an action is not generating value for the customer, it is discarded and a new one is tested. All this creates a culture of constant experimentation and lays the foundations for what Digital Transformation is. This implies the creation of a funnel of ideas that are constantly tested and evaluated based on parameters of success to determine their viability.

However, none of this would be possible without constant data collection that precisely allows us to generate hypotheses and measure the result of our experiments, something akin to applying the scientific method. This results in the new Marketing becoming a science that studies the behavior of our customers and potential consumers and the impact of the value we are generating towards them with the products and services we provide.

Thus, two major trends emerge within Marketing, the focus on advertising, adtech, and the focus on understanding and generating strategies within companies supported by technological tools, martech. Basically, in simpler terms, imagine a company that wants to launch a new product:

It is through martech or internal processes that concepts such as the 4 Ps (product, price, place, and promotion) are established

And through adtech, they are made known on different digital sites for the generation of potential customers or leads.

🤖 Main Challenges of Modern Marketing

According to the report "The Modern Marketing Data Stack 2023”, there are forces strongly influencing modern Marketing:

1. The trend towards converging adtech and martech

It's no news that companies seek to cut costs in every possible area to improve profitability, and the marketing case is no exception. Here, the challenge lies in how to achieve, with the data we collect from our customers and the effectiveness of our communication with them, the ability to generate efficiencies in identifying audiences and producing more and better content and communication channels. And from the technology side, how with a more unified platform (that allows us to track the complete adtech/martech funnel) we can also help generate a frictionless experience much more centered on the customer.

2. The emergence of LLMs (AI/ML)

Using technologies that allow us to automate tasks gives us the option to:

🛠️ Optimize campaigns

Through conversation analysis, and reactions optimizing conversion rates and ROI.

✍🏻 Content personalization

Improving relevance and in turn generating feedback for future interactions with customers.

🗣️ Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Helping to analyze trends in real-time and communicate with our customers with better-trained virtual assistants.

While these technologies offer significant opportunities to improve campaigns and interaction with customers, the challenge lies in mastering their implementation effectively.

3. Privacy and Data Unification

Since the beginning of the information age and divergence, navigating the infinite amount of data generated daily has been a nightmare. The challenge at this moment is how we can start an era of convergence that allows us to have better and clearer information that allows us to generate, in turn, better patterns without representing a violation of privacy and security in them. As Clive Humby said, "data is the new oil".

4. Landscape of Tools

Speaking directly of the technology part, we can find tools that will help you maximize the potential of adtech and martech:

  • Analytics and data capture: Solutions focused on data collection and analysis, which in turn provide patterns that help decision-making.
  • Enrichment: These are solutions that help us "complete" existing data, for example: product descriptions or customer data.
  • Identity and activation: These are solutions that help us put into action the entire strategy generated in the previous steps.
  • Measurement and attribution: All tools that allow us to measure the success of campaigns through the definition of KPIs.

🤔 What will happen to Marketing as we know it?

With the arrival of the information age and technologies for collecting large amounts of data, we began a new race to analyze trends and along with our business objectives, have greater certainty of how well or poorly we are doing things. This in Marketing has directly influenced trying more and more to generate techniques that allow us to analyze behavior and to some extent try to predict the success or failure of new products or services. And in turn, also suffer the pressure to deliver results (better ROIs) with increasingly tight budgets.

However, the great opportunity we have now with the most modern technology tools is that we can improve the quality of campaigns we design, better segment audiences and generate more relevant content along with the interactions we have with our customers. The key to business success lies in how the CMO and the CIO interact to truly fine-tune processes and technology, ensuring that the value the company generates is truly perceived by customers.


Alfonso Ríos Lobato

IT Director with over 15 years of experience in team management, product administration, project management, development, and integration of information technology solutions, aimed at optimizing business processes. I specialize in ERP implementations, RPA, systems architecture lead (data, technology, etc.), and marketing tools implementation (e-commerce, CRM, etc).