CMOs must become tech savvy - or fail

25th Jun 2013

The digital revolution has put the customer in control and marketers must adopt the right technologies if they are to provide value to customers across multiple channels.

“In today’s post-digital world, technology has become the lens through which you should view your relationships with your customers. Your marketing team cannot be at its best unless it excels at understanding and using the right technology the right way for the right results,” says Forrester’s Sheryl Pattek.

In a new blog post, the analyst explains that ready or not, CMOs have now become technologists and must become technologically savvy in order to manage customer touchpoints and channels across the buying journey, develop data-based insights into customer behaviour, manage your message effectively, and measure the ROI of all of your marketing investments without technology.

She adds: “Implemented well, marketing technology can provide the foundation you need to deliver the consistent customer engagement that empowered buyers demand across their life cycle. As a CMO, success in today’s data-driven, customer-centered, automated world, it’s not a question of whether technology plays a role in marketing; it’s what role you’ll need to play in building the right technology infrastructure to drive your marketing success.”

To highlight the complexity of technology marketers face, Pattek points to Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape, below.

To make marketing technology work for you, Pattek advises marketers to:

Use technology wisely to run marketing like a business:  With an integrated marketing technology infrastructure, you can pull together disparate data, customer input, responses, and campaign results from various systems and tell a concise and easily understood story on the ROI of your efforts.

Build the right marketing technology strategy for you and your company: While you may have used technology in parts of your organization, it’s time to consolidate all of your efforts into a concise, customer relevant strategy.

Define your role: Not all CMOs are comfortable with technology or ready to tackle the challenge of defining and implementing the right technology for their business. As a C-suite executive, the onus is on you to define your long-term role as a technological visionary for your enterprise and how you want to engage in the marketing technology road map creation and vendor selection process.

Identify how to work effectively with your CIO: You and your CIO need to have alignment on a joint vision for customers and a focus on them. Those CMOs who choose to ignore this and go it alone do so at their own peril. They miss key integration points, don’t achieve the desired benefits from their technology investments, and allow the technology to dictate their strategy and marketing processes.

“Technology use in marketing is here to stay, entwined together forever. It’s time for CMOs to understand how technology fits into the new marketing equation and lead efforts to implement the right technology solution for their organizations.

“And it’s also time for CMOs to build and maintain a strong relationship with their CIO to lead this charge. At the end of the day, CMOs must achieve their marketing objectives, grow the business, and improve customer experience. And when it comes to that, technology is the key to the kingdom,” she concludes.

Gartner analyst Jennifer Beck also recently wrote of the need for a harmonious and collaborative relationship between CIOs and CMOs. It’s easy to figure out why these two not only dress differently but appear to be from different planets but pitting them against each other just isn’t helpful, she said. Instead, take them out for lunch!

Constellation analyst and founder Ray Wang has also outlined the growing trend of the technologically-savvy CMO, claiming that the proliferation of Big Data has given rise to a new kind of marketer, one that uses a new set of data-heavy metrics including return on promotional investment, managing omnichannel diversity and driving conversion rates and optimising efforts.


Replies (4)

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By GooglePlusUser
26th Jun 2013 09:46

I agree - the nexus of social, mobile and customer data makes it hard to see how CMOs can avoid getting more tech savvy - or at least make friends with someone who is! But equally important is creating the culture and processes that allow their organisations to make the most of the new technology - there's little point installing the latest solution if the business is not geared up to use it properly. At the moment, CMOs 'get' that they need to embrace technology, but many lack a blueprint and roadmap for how it could work for them.

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By GooglePlusUser
26th Jun 2013 09:47

Great point +Jane Gill. CMOs are getting more technical because that is where the tools are heading. Business is becoming so data driven and marketers and CMOs have responded accordingly. All of this technology for marketing is leading to the development of a desire to improve the customer experience. This is what increases the revenue and what CMOs are being asked to do. From a technology standpoint, it is an interesting time to be in marketing.

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By Natalie Steers
26th Jun 2013 10:36

Thanks for your comments, both. What effect do you think this is having on the relationship between CMOs and CIOs?

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By GooglePlusUser
02nd Sep 2013 12:01

Some seem to be getting closer together. They may understand each others challenges and opportunities better. The CXO, or Customer Experience Officer, is a title that is starting to appear and seems to be a mix of both the CMO and CIO.

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