Chief Marketing Technologist: What This Role Means for Tech

Posted by · January 19, 2017 8:33 am

Many years ago, a successful career in marketing meant obtaining a degree in business where candidates would learn about supply and demand, market shares, and traditional ad campaigns. Graduates entered the world with the knowledge of how to ask for — and allocate — a marketing budget for effective campaign spend, they knew how to track financial success, and they knew how to manage large pitches and board meetings.

Then digital media entered the scene. Suddenly, big-spend advertising budgets were being used differently. Companies invested in content production for instant release online and the ability to mold marketing conversations with a more personable voice became the new norm. The role of marketer was now being transferred to individuals with a strong background in media production and creation, for those with degrees in writing and design understood the new mediums and how to craft a marketing message to fit the mold.

Now, we’re seeing another shift.

With the emergence of smart targeting technology, companies now have access to more sophisticated data surrounding reader and consumer behavior. Click throughs, open rates, time spent on a page, headline and subject line effectiveness, testing, tracking — so much business data and intelligence lies at our fingertips and it has given a brand new lens to marketing.

This change has prompted marketing departments, formerly full of creatives and business-minded professionals, to make room for employees proficient in technology and marketing automation software, its best practices, deployment, and evaluations. To manage it all, Chief Marketing Officers are no longer enough. Now, the role requires a strong background in data technology in order to strategize and manage both branding, creative, and technology implementation. The new role? A Chief Marketing Technologist (CMT).

Why the New Role Matters

Moving into the CMT role and managing both creative personnel and data technologists requires an understanding of how one position feeds into and defines the other. Utilizing smart data to explore consumer behavior helps creative teams craft messages with a higher likelihood of reaching target audiences.

Together, this collaborative effort in understanding strengthens strategy. After all, consumer understanding remains the big question when considering new marketing campaigns. To have access to audience likes and dislikes without needing to directly consult with them in a survey is the golden ticket. Marketers can now understand buyer preferences better than the buyers themselves.

In fact, in a recent Forrester study, 84% of polled marketers said that big data technology helped them understand customer interactions and improve engagement.

Marrying creative with data technology also makes marketing more agile than ever before. With real-time access to online marketing and advertising technologies, marketers can learn, optimize, repeatedly iterate their strategies, pivot messaging, and design to meet expectations, all with lower production costs and statistics to support their efforts.

How Should Marketing Departments Adapt?

Filling marketing departments with a wide range of talented professionals often leads to the siloing of roles. Designers only design, data scientists only evaluate numbers, and strategists only spend time meeting and discussing the big picture. While specialties are essential for maximizing the efficiency of each campaign, it may be counterproductive to the overall strategy when tasks and roles are completely separate.

Chief Marketing Technologists can help their departments avoid this trap by encouraging teams to collaborate on projects so that each individual has a grasp on what technology is being used, what campaigns are performing well, and the reason behind it all. Delivering a holistic marketing strategy begins with internal, comprehensive understanding.

What Does This Mean for IT?

With this transition, a bridge is finally being built between marketing and engineering. Now that marketing departments employ technology experts, dev asks will move from data grabs and program adjustments to code placements and overall health management of digital systems. IT may become involved in the big picture of choosing marketing systems best-suited for technology infrastructure, without tending to small tasks like before. Corporate IT teams will be free to work on larger-scale projects in security and operations.

This evolution will cause a shift in the tech industry as a whole, carving out room at the table for Chief Marketing Technologists and their non-management counterparts. Their presence is being felt at technology conferences, they’re contributing to emerging MarTech, and are seen as expert resources on all marketing technologies.

The CMT role sheds a light on the growing importance of marketing-specific technology for the success of a company and its brand. Large corporations creating this technology, such as Adobe, Salesforce, and Oracle, have recognized this and are employing developers interested in breaking down the consumer experience. Delving into the motivation behind each individual persona transitions marketing and sales data from simple numbers to actionable steps of influence. And as this technology is more widely used, it offers the opportunity for tech-savvy individuals to cross over to marketing from a technology profession, and vice-versa.