Marketing technologists and growth hackers, oh my

Roles on the Marketing Team

The terms “marketing technologist” and “growth hacker” seem to be gaining traction out there.

Voice-based marketing automation provider ifbyphone recently released their annual State of Marketing Measurement Survey for 2013, which included the following results on the evolution of the marketing team:

  • 31% have a marketing technologist
  • 25% have a growth hacker
  • Marketing automation is used more frequently by teams with growth hackers (44%) than teams without growth hackers (26%)

Ifbyphone defines a marketing technologist as “a marketer with significant IT skills.” They define a growth hacker as “a marketer who combines marketing knowledge with a strong technical background to drive growth.”

The survey was conducted online earlier this year with more than 400 respondents across the U.S. who are responsible for marketing within their company. Unfortunately, more detailed firmographics of the participants were not provided, so it’s hard to draw more specific conclusions about the kinds of organizations this data represents (size, industry, B2B vs. B2C, etc.). My guess is that they’re probably mostly smaller firms, since only 1/4 report having a product manager, which is a fairly common role at larger organizations. (Interesting note: for this population, marketing technologists are more common than product managers.)

It also makes it hard to compare against Gartner’s claim that 70% of companies have a chief marketing technologist role — especially since Gartner didn’t publicly provide firmographics of the participants in their survey either.

Hey, marketers and analysts — I love all this research data that is being published in the name of content marketing, but a little more detail on the participants would make this information much more useful, credible, actionable.

Just another humble vote for pragmatic marketing.

But I digress! The one solid conclusion I can draw is that the terms marketing technologist and growth hacker are appearing in more marketing industry surveys and a good number of participants in those surveys report that they’ve adopted those roles in their teams.

It’s a qualitative conclusion, but a good one.

UPDATE: Someone pointed me to the Gartner webinar where they did share some of the firmographics of the participants in their research that weren’t included in the original press release. In regard to the 70% of firms that have a chief marketing technologist role, those were based on 203 respondents from U.S. firms with $500 million or more in revenue. It was a pretty even mix of B2B and B2C companies across a number of different verticals. In their question, they defined a chief marketing technologist role as “the equivalent of a CTO and CIO dedicated to marketing, familiar with all kinds of marketing software, data & analytics, social & mobile platforms, content marketing, web mechanics, digital advertising networks, among other topics.”

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