Gartner confirms 70% have chief marketing technologist

70% Have a Chief Marketing Technologist

Last year, Gartner found a surprising result — should I have been surprised? — from their high-tech marketing budget survey: 72% of their respondents indicated that there was a “chief marketing technologist” type role in their organization. While I’ve been predicting the rise of the marketing technologist for several years, that struck me as a spectacularly rapid adoption rate.

Had we reached a tipping point?

Now, last week, they released key findings from their U.S. digital marketing spending survey for 2013 that confirmed this phenomenon: 70% of the companies surveyed reported having a chief marketing technologist. (Granted, I don’t have the raw data of which companies these 70% are drawn from — given Gartner’s domain, there is likely bias towards larger, tech-savvy enterprises.)

Also of interest is the fact that in last year’s report, only 63% of those chief marketing technologists reported directly to marketing — the rest reported to IT or somewhere else in the organization. In the results from this latest survey, however, 80% of chief marketing technologists report to marketing.

If this number sounds high to you — how many chief marketing technologist business cards have you seen? — keep in mind that Gartner surveyed the role, not the title. They found that these marketing technologies leaders went by many different titles, including CTO of marketing, chief digital officer, chief digital marketing officer, or VP of e-business. I’ve also seen these roles appear in the context of marketing operations and marketing automation.

The role, as Gartner describes it: “Chief marketing technologists are familiar with marketing techniques as well as technologies. They need to understand how to use technology to define markets, attract, acquire and retain customers. They often have organizations that align this goal to areas such as marketing software, data and analytics, social and mobile platforms, digital advertising networks collaboration and website design.”

“What’s driving the need for this role? Marketers are increasingly dependent on technology,” notes Gartner, for designing the customer experience across social, mobile, commerce and website channels, for integrating data from many sources to better understand customers, and to support campaigns and programs in technical-powered environments such as search, social, and mobile.

Who’s driving marketing technology at your organization?

UPDATE: Someone pointed me to the Gartner webinar where they shared 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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5 thoughts on “Gartner confirms 70% have chief marketing technologist”

  1. Actually I totally disagree with these figures. Working on both sides of the equation both agencies and brands are nowhere near the CMT competences, why, because the technology is so immature, it’s an emerging WIP technology.

    Secondly supporting this fact is the total lack of “CMT” roles in the jobs marketplace. In fact the CMT role is more driven by the Digital communities on both sides because of the 360 deg. view now afforded through metrics and analytics, so most roles are actually Chief Digital or CXO roles.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out, because even now I have seen entrenchment into traditional CMO roles in retail brands, which is not encouraging.

    The CMT’s vital skill for brands to have on board, CMT’s will significantly reduce the brands transactional advertising costs, by automating non-productive elements of agency service delivery. This will enable brands to leverage “increase value” out of agency creativity and content, leaving the execution to dedicated business technology platforms, like the “marketing cloud” or “MRM” solutions.

    1. Hi, David — thanks for the great comment!

      Three things are definitely true: (1) 70% of an undefined group is hard to qualify — I hope Gartner might publicly release more data on the population surveyed; perhaps they do in their full research report; (2) the role of a lead marketing technologist is clearly more popular than any one title; and (3) all of this is in a state of flux at the moment, with different organizations taking very different approaches to addressing this need.

      Marketing is a technology-driven discipline at this point, so almost every marketing department of any real size has people who are specializing in the operation and management of those technologies. “Digital” titles often have responsibility for this. So do many marketing operations and marketing automation leads.

      But it sounds like we agree — regardless of the labels, there’s real value in marketing mastering its technological destiny. Definitely agree that it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  2. David,

    I share your sentiments in questioning the data.

    I attended a Big Data conference at the Carlson School of Management in Minneapolis last month where a panel of HR personnel from large corporations (Medtronic and Target) and agencies discussed the challenge in finding qualified CMTs. The role requires a cross-discipline of skills in business, marketing and and a variety of technologies. One of the panelists researched the requirements as identified on CMT job openings. The diversity in educational requirements and skills sought reads like a Sudoku puzzle.

    I believe the erroneous numbers are attributed to the lack of a clear understanding of this emerging role. As identified by Gartner, “They need to understand how to use technology to define markets, attract, acquire and retain customers.” Is someone who reports to IT in a position to deliver that level of value to a company? If they are reporting to IT, are they really a CMT, or are they a Marketing Data Analyst?

    1. Teri, thanks for this, I agree, I think the role is morphing as we speak, but it is clearly a person with a clear understanding of the business, but also a technology guy, who can catalyse the three roles CMO/CIO/CEO together. Not many around I am afraid. But your view is interesting from another personal angle, I want to get into a CMT role in a large global brand, but can I as hell located these roles, so your comments from the conference and Target and Medtronic are very interesting.

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