As the Role of Tech Grows, Do We Need CMTOs More Than CMOs?
Gartner’s latest CMO spending survey shows that marketers are now spending a third of their budget on technology. And with 61% of marketers also expecting bigger budgets in the next 12 months, this adds up to significant amounts of money, reflecting the biggest driver of change that the industry has ever seen.
Technology powers pretty much any marketing campaign today. The same Gartner study reveals that 98% of marketers see the worlds of digital and offline merging. It’s no longer about digital marketing but marketing in a digital world.
However all of this has happened in the space of a few short years. Technology-driven marketing has been led more by vendors pushing the boundaries of their tech to see what it can do, rather than necessarily creating tech solutions that marketers were asking for. Or perhaps even more importantly, that consumers were asking for.
This has made it difficult for marketers to both keep up with technology and also to understand what, from the various tech solutions available, will accelerate their business.
In 2016, marketers must commit to becoming more tech savvy. The universal truth is that consumers want interesting and relevant campaigns that provide them with seamless brand experiences. Whether they are on social media, receiving an email, in-store, talking to customer services or on their mobiles, they expect nothing but the best, provided consistently.
Technology is the glue that binds these experiences together.
The rise of the CMTO (Chief Marketing Technology Officer) is someone who straddles IT and marketing and can bring together the best of both these worlds; who can see the big picture, spearhead the best creative ideas and identify how to deliver them optimally to customers – seamlessly, wherever and whenever they interact with the brand. Indeed, Gartner reports that more than 80% of major advertisers say they have a chief marketing technologist in role if not in title.
Technology has always been part of a marketer’s wheelhouse, from CRM, to BI (business information) to ESPs (email service providers). But today, as we get close to all media being addressable, the CMTO role reflects the necessary evolution in what today’s marketer needs to look like. To be at the top of their game, marketers now need to be equally adept at using the left side of their brain as their right. They need to think creatively but also embrace technology and proactively seek solutions that enable them to deliver better consumer experiences and financial results.
However, marketing technologists still seem to be few and far between. The majority of people in CMTO roles tend to operate at a mid-management level, reporting to either the CMO or CIO, acting as a conduit between IT and marketing departments. However, what the industry really needs is board-level CMTOs who can remove the silo walls between IT and marketing and empower truly joined up thinking.
CMTOs or technology savvy-CMOs will require the experience and knowledge to evaluate, test and implement technology to deliver communications digitally, but also the creative, risk taking mind-set that will mean faster take up of innovations. With this perfect balance, the marketing industry can start to fulfil its potential – and with that, the expectations of consumers.
Mike Peralta is CEO at AudienceScience