Carpe marketing technology — seize the platform, boys

This weekend, I caught up on my reading, including a Forrester report on Marketing Technology Adoption 2011 that was sponsored by Unica/IBM. (You should be able to find a copy on Unica’s Interactive Marketing Journey microsite.)

There are a number of interesting observations in the report, driven from a survey of 137 customer intelligence professionals from around the world. (By the way, if you want to read more about this emerging field in marketing, here’s a great article on customer intelligence hubs by Kenyon Blunt.)

But my main takeaway from this report was this: marketers are finally becoming comfortable leading their own technological destiny.

For instance, from the Forrester survey, 80% of the respondents claim that they, at the very least, adopt technologies in line with trends in their industry — if not faster. 53% of the respondents consider themselves to be technology leaders, either early adopters or fast followers:

Marketing Technology Adoption

That’s a fairly aggressive position on technology adoption — and I suspect still much more aggressive than traditional IT. Why? Because IT typically optimizes for cost reduction and stability. Marketing leaders seeking customer intelligence to drive leads and sales are optimizing towards a different primary metric.

And take a look at the top three themes of these marketing organizations:

Top Customer Intelligence Themes of Marketing Organizations

The three most common themes are:

  • Improve the online customer experience (42%)
  • Improve the multichannel customer experience (40%)
  • Implement a system to measure the success of marketing campaigns (39%)

All of these imply marketing technology leadership to achieve their goals.

But a little further down the list, such leadership is explicitly stated: 20% reported that “deploy or unify a technology strategy for our marketing efforts” was one of their top three themes.

Yes, 1/5th of these marketing organizations are prioritizing technology strategy. (Sorry, I keep using bold because that truly is a sea change in marketing’s orientation towards technology as a backbone rather than a black box.)

Does your marketing department have a technology strategy?

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