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The MarTech revolution

by Susan Lyons

Saying all agencies aren’t able to accommodate the MarTech revolution is just not true.

Let’s call a spade a spade here. Those of us who have been around a while are sometimes left scratching our heads with the noise around MarTech. It’s just direct marketing. More exciting definitely, but still direct marketing.
Technology has caught up. And it is incredible. The once mythological ‘segment of one’ is now possible.

Which is why I think it’s an unfair judgement of the industry to say that ‘adland’ isn’t able to handle this sort of work. Just like it was in the old days there will absolutely be agencies who can’t do this work, or simply don’t appreciate it.
But it’s not a fair assessment to assume that ALL agencies aren’t able to service the MarTech revolution. We don’t call it direct marketing these days as we have nicer, sexier ways of describing it. But agencies whose DNA is in data, technology, experience and content are perfectly positioned for doing this work.

Anyone with a background in direct marketing will have spent years sweating the detail. Made big and small decisions everyday trying to strike that balance between commercial interest and what’s right for the consumer. We’ve gotten our hands well and truly dirty in the detail. But we’re excited because our tool-kit just got bigger.


The real opportunity for agencies that are orientated around data isn’t to simply get better at MarTech but to bring this together with AdTech. If ever we needed another reason why creative and media should never have been pulled apart, we have one.

True commercial success for clients will come from working with partners with a deep understanding of how the different MarTech and AdTech platforms work, and how best to stitch them together. This first part is essential, but not enough on its own. As Williams rightly identified, once this becomes ubiquitous differentiation will only come from the ability to master and continue to innovate around the science and the art of using of these technologies.

All technology is only as good as the user. So finding resources who can plan journeys across this entire ecosystem is critical. People who can decide if you would respond better to the message via email or Youtube pre-roll. Or maybe you’re not worth the cost of Youtube pre-roll? Actually maybe it’s better we don’t talk to you at all right now? Why don’t we test it?

Agencies born of these skills of data, technology, experience and content have adapted and are doing great work for their clients. And other agencies may too adapt or equally decide to become niche specialists in other areas. But no-one is better placed than those of us who can speak the language of both.

MarTech and AdTech create truly holistic customer experiences. But then again I would say that because I’m one of them.

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