CMO Strategy: Establish a Chief Marketing Technologist

Advertising Age just published an article of mine, The Case for a Chief Marketing Technologist, in their CMO Strategy section. This is a sneak preview of the session I’ll be presenting at the Pivot conference in a few weeks.

The article begins with a refrain that is familiar to readers of this blog:

We have entered a Golden Age of marketing technology. There are now thousands of software applications built for nearly every aspect of marketing. We have more choices, with more capabilities, at more attractive economics, than ever before.

Yet most marketing organizations today lack the technical leadership to fully harness this power. Previously, technology management didn’t need to be a core competency of marketing. It was sufficient to rely on a hodgepodge of the IT department, outsourced providers and vendor consultants. The translation of a high-level marketing vision into its technical implementation was considered largely “in the weeds.”

Here are three reasons why marketing executives should reconsider such a laissez-faire approach to technology.

click through to the article for the three reasons.

A few preliminary reactions on Twitter, along with my responses:

@wesnichols: This is very true-we see the need every day at Fortune 500 companies. Awesome to hear from the co-founder of MarketShare Partners.

@addy_dren: The Chief Marketing Technologist joins the Chief Listening Officer. Followed by the next comment…

@rscionti: Just what we need, another chief! The title isn’t important. Having someone bring cohesion to marketing’s technology strategy and management is.

@Malbonnington: Like this idea, but can’t agencies do this? Yes, but.. marketing technology tends to have more lasting effects (and side effects!) than creative. Shouldn’t a marketing department have leadership over its capabilities? That being said, I think a technologically savvy agency and a technologically savvy marketing department make for a spectacular collaborative force.

@bethlabreche: I wish more of my clients had one of these! Case in point: I think this is far more likely to strengthen agency relationships — that are often equally hindered by their clients’ technical constraints.

@talibmorgan: Wanna know what I do for a living? AdAge describes it perfectly. Music to my ears!

@ChannelPlan: The 80’s saw rise of accountants in marketing, now it’s the geeks turn. New movie: Geeks on a (Marketing) Plan! Yes, we’ve infiltrated marketing. But we bring more to the collaboration than the accountants.

@DavidMarkowitz: So what CMOs are fwd thinking enough to want to staff this role? Excellent question. Although I’m not sure forward-thinking is required at this stage. The question is: how many CMOs feel more hindered than helped by technology in their sphere — and are ready to turn the tables?

Looking forward to continuing this discussion.


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