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The Rise of the Marketing Technologist

marketing-technologistMarketing is partly a creative endeavor and partly a data-driven one. There’s one common denominator for both the left-brain and right-brain side of things, though: Technology fuels the marketing efforts of both large and small organizations. Marketing technology (Martech) tools include such staples as CRM platforms, marketing automation solutions, social media management platforms, and B2B e-commerce technologies. As a marketer, you need these (and other) technologies to do your job effectively. Exactly whose job is it to budget for, vet, implement, and appropriately leverage all these available tools across a variety of channels? The answer might just be found in the rise of the marketing technologist—let’s explore the research.

The State of Martech Today [REPORT]

We’re about to break down a recent report titled Modernizing the Mix: Transforming Marketing Through Technology and Analytics, produced by marketer-aligned data firm Dataxu. They surveyed more than 500 marketers from around the globe. Many different levels of marketing budgets were represented (ranging from $149,999 to $1.45 million annually), and about two-thirds of respondents had 500 or more employees. The interesting thing about Dataxu’s survey is they interviewed primarily senior level personnel—CMOs, Directors of Marketing, and more. Here’s what they found:

  • When it comes to Martech budgets and purchasing decisions, a brunt of the responsibility often falls on the CMO. (For companies that already have a designated Chief Marketing Technologist (CMT), that pendulum appropriately swings their way.) As you can see from Figure 1, the remaining results are very scattered, touching on everyone from Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) to Chief Information Officers (CIOs).
marketing-technologist

Figure 1. Source: Dataxu

  • The most common kinds of Martech used by respondents were social media management tools (70 percent globally), email marketing (60 percent globally), and digital advertising to include display, mobile, etc. (56 percent). Others on the list include content marketing, consumer insights, PR, CRM, pragmatic marketing, and SEO. (If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. Many of these have to do with digital transformation, a whole different topic and one I touched on recently when I wrote about marketers’ greatest growth challenges.)
  • US-based respondents use more specialized content marketing technologies than any other country represented in the survey.
  • Marketing departments inside medium and larger companies often have dedicated IT or Martech staff. Even so, senior staff is heavily involved in developing and managing the Martech strategy. (CMO’s, for example, do so 25 percent of the time.)
  • Forty-one percent of global respondents indicated the biggest marketing challenge they faced was finding a way to create “the most efficient marketing mix across channels to drive results.”
  • Seventy percent of global respondents (and 76 percent of US respondents) said they have a person on the marketing team who is “mainly responsible” for technology usage. What does this mean? It’s time to make the case for the marketing technologist.

The Case for the CMT

Being “mainly responsible” for anything in an organization isn’t exactly confidence-inspiring. You might as well add “spread-too-thin” or “doing the best they can under the circumstances.” Your organization can’t afford to approach Martech that way. It’s too important.

It’s true that we’ve seen marketing suites change significantly over the years, and we’ve even discussed how the personality profiles of different C-suiters mesh with the typical CMO. In essence, the players in the game have changed because the game itself is changing. There are new tools, new responsibilities, and new channel priorities in this digital age, and organizational structures are shifting to meet this evolution.

Now, we can add CMT to the list of up-and-comers. Currently, 66 percent of organizations around the globe say they have a CMT (see Figure 2). As you’ll see, the role is more popular in Europe than it is in the US, but it might not be that way for long. What you won’t see from the graphic is that 26 percent of US marketers surveyed said they were actually planning to fill the CMT role in the next year. (The same goes for 42 percent of CMT-less organizations around the globe.)

marketing-technologist

Figure 2. Source: Dataxu

What’s Next?

It’s clear to me that the number of ways for marketers to harness the power of technology to more effectively reach their target audience and ultimately drive conversions isn’t dwindling—rather, it’s exploding and will continue to do so. Who’s leading the Martech charge at your organization? Is that arrangement working, or do you think adding a CMT would make your department more dynamic and efficient? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Eric Vidal

CMO and Co-Founder at Broadsuite Media Group
Eric Vidal, an industry expert with over 25 years of marketing and technology experience is passionate about providing insight and education on the latest martech trends and techniques. Eric speaks and writes for various publications like The Marketing Scope and Future Of Work to name a couple. He's also a Principal Analyst at Futurum Research where he follows and writes about marketing technology. Eric has been a marketing leader for companies of all sizes. He has extensive experience working to achieve measurable business results for organizations like IBM, Cisco, WebEx, Canon USA, West Corp., Dynamic Signal, adidas, SAP and more. Connect with Eric on LinkedIn.
Eric Vidal
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