What MarTech Means for All of Us Now

It’s officially “Internet Week.” I’m writing this from a seat in the back of the Conversational Marketing Summit in NYC. Yesterday I spent the day at the Marketing and Technology Summit, hosted by Ad Age. Has your company ever been covered by Ad Age? Crickets. I know.

To paraphrase that statue in “Animal House,” I can summarize in three words or less what these conferences were about:

“Data is good.”

This is an incredible development, and it’s great if you are in the email business.

The ad technology business, dominated for years by concepts like “audience,” “engagement,” and “sharing,” hasn’t changed that much. Ad technology has always been torn between the measurable and the memorable. But one four-letter word – data – has changed everything, and I don’t think we’ll be turning back anytime soon.

“Data” is a code word for a new category of products that fuse the roles of the CIO and CMO – creating a hybrid of advertising and technology that is now referred to as “MarTech.”

As email practitioners, this isn’t news to you. After all, you’ve considered yourself to be “marketing technology” for almost two decades. Email marketers have always fused CRM and ad tech – that’s what email marketing is: data plus advertising. Your CIO has been managing your customer file in your CRM system. Your CMO has been running your campaigns. You’ve been cutting segments of purchasers and sending them upsell campaigns. You’ve been running win-back campaigns to lapsed customers. You’ve been sending aggressive offers to new signups in hopes of driving sales from fresh intent.

But despite your ability to do something special – segment consumer messages based on data – email and email marketers have been derided as dinosaurs.

Well, that’s all changing, because finally the cool kids have figured out that all the email addresses that you’ve been squirreling away are actually – ready for this – incredibly valuable for marketing purposes! The cool kids don’t know much about deliverability, but they have figured out how to leverage email – and they did it before most pure email marketers did.

The first indication of the revival of email as the “cool new thing” was probably Facebook’s introduction of “custom audience.” In case you aren’t up on that, custom audience is basically email marketing on web display, specifically targeting “logged-in users” who are on Facebook with ads that are targeted based on email addresses. It’s kind of a big deal. And it’s an email thing.

Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr might seem like an event that is outside of the email realm, but not really. Blogger Zach Rodgers has a theory that the reason that Yahoo bought Tumblr was for its 300 million unique users, all of who register with only two pieces of information: age and email address. Email is the opposite of anonymity. Yahoo is buying an audience that is reachable by email, something that Yahoo knows a lot about.

The next indication that email was on its way back to the front of the line was indicated here at the Conversational Marketing Summit when Terry Kawaja, a self-described “investment banker,” unveiled his new Marketing Tech Lumascape.


If you check out the top left corner, you see that email, left off of any previous Lumascape, finally made it past the velvet rope. Why? Because over the next year email-based CRM files (often thought of as “offline data”) are going to be the data stars in a whole new marketing universe.

The new MarTech is uniting the CIO and the CMO. But it’s also going to unite the email and the display marketing teams in your company. If you are an email marketer who hasn’t gotten onto the MD5 hash bandwagon, hasn’t done a custom audience campaign, hasn’t thought about integrated display marketing or reaching customers outside of your own first-party media, well, it’s time for you to catch up with the people who haven’t respected you…until now.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

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