By Mike Stiles on Jun 27, 2014
The marketing world has had to absorb several truths over the past 5 years. Technology is changing, fast, for both consumers and businesses. Marketing now finds itself leading the entire customer experience, at every touch point. And technology is creating capabilities and driving KPI accountability in this enormously expanded endeavor. Keeping up has been a crushing challenge. Good luck doing it without a Chief Marketing Technologist.
What is a Chief Marketing Technologist? And how does that fit in with the frequent calls we’ve heard for greater CMO/CIO collaboration? The CMT might be the best way for the CMO to get that collaboration done. The best could address every complaint Marketing has about IT (not responsive, not willing to innovate, not agile enough, etc.) and every complaint IT has about Marketing (don’t understand the importance of compliance, don’t understand security needs, don’t even speak the language, etc.)
Gartner discovered 67% of marketing departments plan to up spending on tech activities over the next 2 years. 61% are increasing capital expenditures on tech, and 65% are raising budgets for tech service providers like the Oracle Social Cloud. That’s good news, and it makes sense, but managing all that is a real bear.
Many a business has lost much valuable time trying to change internal roles and areas of expertise by sheer force of will, ignoring the deep differences between marketer-types and technology-types. You don’t have the luxury of time to burn anymore. A person with the existing newly-highly-marketable hybrid skillsets of tech and marketing can put you in the fast lane.
And by the way, you can call them whatever you want to; Chief Marketing Technologist, Chief Digital Officer, Captain Big Data, Big Tech Cheese…as long as they take command of the most needed tasks in marketing today.
- Making sure marketing tech addresses business goals
- Be an effective go-between/translator between Marketing and IT
- Evaluating and choosing tech and 3rd party providers
- Brainstorm or curate new digital methods/opportunities
- Encourage experimentation and innovation
- Make sure requests of IT are reasonable
- Make sure IT policies are adhered to
- Help in explaining activities to others in the C-suite
- Ensure Marketing staff has proper training in the tools
If you don’t have a Chief Marketing Technologist, or someone competently filling that role, that’s an awful lot for a CMO or CIO to take on in addition to their other required talents and responsibilities. The likely outcome is that things will not move forward with the speed and vigor required to keep up with the changes tech and changing behaviors/expectations demand.
But get it right, commit to that area of expertise, and you’ll put real distance between you and your competition. Gartner found orgs with a CMT-type person will spend 11.7% of their revenue on marketing, compared to 7.1% for those that don’t. They’ll spend 30% of their marketing budget on digital, compared to 21% for those that don’t. They’ll spend 9.8% of their marketing budget on innovation, compared to 5% for those that don’t.
In other words, investments get made when there’s something in place that warrants putting gas in the tank. Leave the confusion in place, and what CEO can summon the confidence to facilitate modern marketing? As the Tech Guys Who Get Marketing say, a Chief Marketing Technologist is “critical to keeping the left brain and right brain from blaming each other about why the body keeps tripping instead of sprinting through the 100m at record pace.”