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.”