I was delighted to learn that the Financial Times — an international newspaper for senior executives and financial types that makes The Wall Street Journal look like light pop reading — dedicated an 8-page special report on the intersection of marketing and technology, officially released this morning.
Recognition that marketing has become a technology-powered discipline has now reached the highest echelons of boardrooms and executive suites. This is a big step forward — albeit a sometimes faltering one still.
The first article on page one of the report, Marketers are all over the shop, acknowledges the “hundreds — if not thousands” of marketing technology companies that offer an array of incredible innovations, but also explode the complexity of marketing:
Marketers report being more perplexed than ever before amid the proliferation of media and new technologies.
That’s the challenge. So what does the Financial Times report the solution is?
One article is an interview with Blake Cahill, head of global digital marketing at Philips, who firmly states, “As a marketer, if you don’t understand [a whole range of mobile and social] technologies well and how they’re being used by relevant audiences, it’s going to make it incredibly tough for you to do your job well.” He added:
Part of the marketing skill set now is being able to use good judgment when it comes to applying technology to achieve [marketing results].
Another article notes that this explosion of technologies is both “prompting marketing departments to become more technically-minded, but also IT to become more familiar with the tools that marketing departments need to use.”
“It does change what IT does,” said Brian Whipple, global head of Accenture Interactive. “There are fewer people on the IT side who have grown up with this technology; a lot of folk in IT are not familiar with marketing tools. These have grown up on the CMO side.” But Brian believes that IT will “skill up” to meet the demand.
Both IT and marketing need to advance their skill set and work together.
Of course, one way in which this is happening is with the emergence of hybrid marketing technologists — including senior chief marketing technologist roles. The Financial Times includes a short article on this, New role unites marketing and technology:
As the marketing operations have become inseparable from IT, there is evidence that the skills of marketing professionals’ are also evolving to create a new kind of role which marries marketing expertise with a high level of technological knowhow: the marketing technologist.
The article focuses on senior chief marketing technologist (CMT) roles, including several great insights from Laura McLellan, vice president of marketing strategy at Gartner — who will be one of our featured speakers at the MarTech Conference in August:
- First, companies with CMTs tend to have better processes to decide what to investigate and test, and to decide what works.
- Second, there is so much noise from software providers offering software to marketers that companies need an expert filter.
- Third, a CMT is the perfect way to build a bridge between IT and marketing.
As the article notes, however, the difficulty is in finding the right people for this job. It’s challenging because these kind of senior hybrid roles are relatively new — recruiters are still trying to define the profile. However, I feel the Financial Times misses a crucial aspect of this story: that these hybrid roles aren’t just people with official CMT titles — they’re also other digital marketing leaders, whom they profile in the same report, but fail to connect the dots between them.
I think they’re also missing the sea change that’s happening at the level below senior executive roles. There are growing ranks of marketing technologists that are influencing and executing the real work of modern marketing. But they’re doing it under a variety of labels: marketing operations, digital strategy, conversion optimization, growth hacking.
Marketing technologists aren’t so much a new kind of IT professional — they’re really more of a new kind of marketer. Using the 2×2 model of marketing management that I described earlier this week, marketing technologists cover a different space of the quadrants than traditional IT:
Want a deeper understanding of marketing technology management?
If you want to better understand the real dynamics of marketing technologists and the evolving collaboration between marketing and IT, I’d highly encourage you to join us in Boston this August at MarTech: The Marketing Tech Conference.
Just a few of the highlights of the program include:
- Erik Brynjolfsson, bestselling author of The Second Machine Age, will discuss the importance of human capital in harnessing technology’s power and the significance of organizational coinvention around these technological innovations.
- Laura McLellan of Gartner will provide a deep dive into the state of chief marketing technologist roles and the impact they’re having on organizations in marketing’s rapid evolution.
- Mayur Gupta, global head of marketing technology at Kimberly-Clark will share his experience with how marketing technology has evolved from a commoditized enabler to a strategic capability that grows businesses and drives ROI.
- Marketing technology expert David Raab will present a step-by-step process for linking business goals to business methods, evolving marketing technology goals to marketing technology methods, and identifying specific marketing technology components.
- Sheldon Monteiro, the CTO of SapientNtiro, will share his experience with “growing unicorns” — creating an executive development program to internally grow marketing technologists at scale.
- Jason Heller, CEO of Agiliti, who has helped numerous large enterprise redefine “marketing operations” for the digital age, will detail the people, culture, processes, systems and partnerships that enable the full spectrum of digital capabilities.
- Shawn Goodin, director of marketing technology at The Clorox Company, will share his experience collaborating between marketing and IT on such transformation using a “marketing capability mapping” approach.
And many, many more top-notch speakers and sessions from CMOs, a VP of marketing technology, a “new model” agency CEO, a pioneering growth hacker, an executive recruiter who specializes in tech-savvy and data-savvy senior marketers, a CIO, a chief digital officer, and more.
The “alpha” rate (our geeky way of saying “early bird rate”) expires next week, so if you want to attend, now is the best time to register.