Why the marketing technology genie isn’t going back into the IT bottle

InformationWeek just published a guest article of mine, Why Marketing Should Run Its Own Technology. While I’ve been advocating greater technology leadership to marketers for a while, this is my first attempt to “reach across the aisle” and make my case directly to the IT community.

Always up for a lively conversation, I don’t pull any punches, describing three structural differences in this new era of technology-driven marketing that I believe will limit IT’s ability to control it.

Admittedly, in the seemingly zero-sum game of corporate budgets and power, ceding anything is rarely a popular opinion. But if IT can better understand the forces behind these changes, I hope it will inspire open discussion and fresh ideas for embracing the future. Because in the big picture, this isn’t a zero-sum game inside an organization — the real competition is in the marketplace.


A recent report by the CMO Council and Accenture, surveying both CMO’s and CIO’s, reached two conclusions. First, in many organizations, there’s growing frustration between the marketing department and IT. Second, the opportunity for leveraging data and technology in marketing is greater than ever.

What should we do to reconcile these two truths?

I actually disagree with the report’s recommendations that this conundrum can be solved simply with better communication. (A frequent remark overheard is, “Can’t the CIO and the CMO just talk?”) Better communication is good, but something else is happening here that is bigger than that.

The tectonic shift causing these organization tremors: marketing is becoming a technology-driven discipline.

My conclusion—and you may not like it—is that marketing must ultimately lead its own marketing technology, from high-level strategy down to in-the-trenches code. It’s the only way marketing will be able to succeed as a technical-driven discipline.

Click here to read the rest of the article on InformationWeek.com.

What do you think? (And are you in marketing, IT or somewhere above the fray?)

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