whatsinProgrammatic marketing, the automated and optimized management of marketing touchpoints across the customer journey, has transformed the way brands interact with consumers. The proliferation of data has made it easier for brands to target consumers with relevant communication at the right stage of their decision-making journey, whether they are shopping for groceries or comparing car insurance providers.

Traditionally, advertising technology (adtech) has governed the world of paid media, including display, video, and mobile. On the other hand, marketing technology (martech) has centered on owned channels such as on-site messaging and e-mail marketing. As marketers look to develop a complete end to end view of the customer journey, breaking down the barriers between these two systems will result in the more relevant, consistent experience that consumers have come to expect.

According to Gartner, 89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator by 2017, and marketers across industries will have to apply digital best practices to differentiate their brands. The convergence of martech and adtech will mean that silos across paid and owned media are broken down thanks to the interconnection of automated systems on both sides. But what does that mean?

Here are some trends we see for 2017 as the future state of paid and owned continue to converge.

A personalized experience – the key differentiator

Customer experience is no longer just a buzzword for businesses, especially with the rise of e-commerce that has meant customers are able to compare a multitude of options with just a few clicks of the mouse and find the best deal or experience for them. In fact, a Harris Interactive study, conducted on behalf of Verint Systems, revealed that 88% of customers prefer doing business with a company that offers quality customer service over a company that has the latest and most innovative products.

Customer experience has no doubt become a key differentiator, especially as customers vote with a click of their mouse and want more relevant, customized service than before.

With the convergence of martech and adtech, siloes are being broken down, and in turn, marketers are able to better understand customer behavior, all through a single, 360-degree view. As a result, marketers will increasingly achieve win-win situations, in which they are able to better target their customers by delivering more relevant messaging at the right time, while helping consumers receive the right offers and value propositions.

Change – in all directions

Change traditionally comes from the top down. Directives given and supported from the top will generally drive organizational change most effectively. As more and more marketing leaders start to see the benefits of customer centricity as a business imperative, more will see the walls between martech and adtech crumble.

However, this change will also be driven from the bottom up. For example, as paid media teams increasingly realize that the recent dollars spent on purchasers are less lucrative, they will engage the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) team, who owns customer data, to remove these purchasers from media campaigns.

Moments like these will act as an impetus for change. As the walls between adtech and martech continue to fall, more marketers (across layers and teams) will look to fully invest in leveraging customer data to create and maintain cohesive programs across all channels.  This presents not just technical challenges but also structural ones as the teams looking after these different functions within the organization have traditionally been isolated from one another.  However, with the advent of systems that allow for a complete customer view, this is starting to shift.

Identity – the new foundation

The first step to building a relationship with a customer is understanding him or her, regardless of channel, advertising format, or device. This means that identity must be the basis on which marketing plans are built, and how brands interact with their customers. Implementing identity solutions that address cookie-less and cross-device contexts will be key in the current post-desktop environment.

The convergence of adtech and martech means that brands are able to start a conversation with a user in e-mail, and continue it on display, knowing their shopping and content consumption behavior across all the devices they use. As a result, marketers will be able to better deliver meaningful messaging that span channels and devices, and in turn further their ability to effectively target across them.

By Zachary King, Vice President, Commercial (Asia), MediaMath