Omnichannel — it’s everybody’s favorite word these days.

But whenever I hear it, I am reminded of the sage words of “The Princess Bride’s” indefatigable Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

And the adtech industry is no exception.

It’s not that they don’t want their solutions to be truly omnichannel — that is, to power relevant, connected advertising experiences that transcend the bounds of channel, format, or device spanning a consumer’s buying journey. Of course they do. Not only does it sound good, it’s what marketers increasingly appreciate that they want and need to deliver the kind of advertising that drives performance over the short and long term (and that, hopefully in a correlatable way, consumers don’t hate).

To that end, the last several years we’ve seen what I would describe as an industrywide “sliding to the omnichannel center,” where, at the very least, cross-channel offerings are increasingly the norm: Platforms that used to manage just SEM have expanded into programmatic display; social ad platforms now offer video; DSPs that were built on remnant display have moved upstream into premium inventory and out across many more channels like native, digital audio, and digital out-of-home; and a whole category of companies are trying to tackle the “TV” question — that is, how to plan, buy, and measure all forms of sight, sound, and motion advertising in a more holistic way (my colleague Jim Nail and I just launched a Forrester New Wave™ on this category — plenty more to come on that in the coming months).

But the reality of the market is one, still, of fragmentation.

With our latest research, “Now Tech: Omnichannel Media Management, Q2 2019,” we assess this diverse vendor landscape through several core dimensions: the media management process (planning, buying, reporting and insights, billing, and reconciliation); buying modality (programmatic, nonprogrammatic); channel (search, paid social, display, video, etc. ad nauseam); and adjacent functionality (DMP, creative adtech, ad serving, etc.).

Our goal with this research is twofold: one, to bring marketers some much needed clarity on who does what in the advertising space; and two, to help them think through constructing their own best approach given business goals, organizational design, existing tech, and the difficult realities of today’s market (think: walled gardens).

Clients, feel free to reach out via inquiry if you’d like to discuss this research in more depth!