25% of these firms have a chief technologist in marketing

Julie Schwartz, SVP of research for the Information Technology Services Marketing Association, shared some fascinating results from a recent survey on marketing transformation they conducted with the following companies:

25% of these companies have a chief technologist in marketing

They asked marketers in these firms about a number of different roles — community manager, social engagement leader, chief content officer, data scientist, and chief technologist:

  • Do you have this role now?
  • Do you expect to have this role in the next 1-3 years?
  • Do you not expect to have this role?
  • Don’t know.

Two numbers about the “chief technologist” role surprised me.

First, 25% of these marketers claim they have this role today, which is a larger percentage than I would have guessed. Although there’s been a lot of advocacy for such technology leadership within marketing — certainly on this blog, but also from many of the major analyst houses — my impression is that we’re still at the very early stages of this organizational transformation. The fact that 25% of the companies above have already implemented such a role is, I feel, a pretty major sign of momentum.

On the other hand, 52% of these marketers don’t expect to have this role, at least not within the next 1-3 years. That number is also much larger than I would have guessed, given all the influx of technology into the marketing department and all the talk about technology budgets moving to marketing (or, maybe more accurately, new technology budgets growing in marketing).

Why don’t they expect to have a technologist role? Do they not see the need? Or they see the need, but don’t think they’ll fill it? Or is the need being sufficiently addressed outside of the department, either by the IT department or outside vendors or agencies? Or is there another name for this role? (“No, we don’t have a chief technologist, but we do have digital platform manager, a head of web development, etc.”) Or are we just so early in this technological transformation of marketing that the concepts and culture of “technologists” still feel foreign to most marketing departments?

Here’s a chart of the results from these roles, courtesy of the ITSMA:

Transformation Roles from the ITSMA Marketing Transformation Survey

If you’re interested in these findings, Julie will be presenting a web briefing at the end of this month: The New Skills Crisis in Marketing: Why Your Next Marketers Won’t Come from Marketing.

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1 thought on “25% of these firms have a chief technologist in marketing”

  1. Hi, Scott.
    I’m actually the (self-described) marketing technologist at one of the companies in your list above (PTC). I suspect I made it on that list because that’s what I have in my LinkedIn profile. And truth be told, it got there based on me reading your blog here. As I read more of what you map out to be a ‘marketing technologist,’ I began slowly then rapidly nodding my head. I may not be the ‘chief’ MT here (because I don’t necessarily map to the entire portrait you lay out), but my role and my ethos certainly match up well.
    So, my title is self-addressed… but I think I embody most of what you lay out. And I concur that the role is sorely needed in many organizations.
    -Alan Belniak / @abelniak

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