Research News South Africa

CMT should take lead in changing marketing world

In 2012, the research and consulting firm Gartner predicted that by 2017, a company's chief marketing officer would be spending more on technology than its chief information officer would.

This oft-quoted claim is becoming more credible every day and the trend is driving the emergence of a new type of c-suite executive - the Chief Marketing Technology Officer, also known as the Chief Marketing Technologist (CMT). This senior hybrid role, part strategist, part creative and part technologist and broadly the equivalent of a CTO and a CIO dedicated to marketing, is growing in popularity.

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A January 2014 research report by Gartner titled, 'How the presence of a Chief Marketing Technologist impacts marketing', confirms that within large companies, with more than $500m in annual revenue, 81% of them now have a CMT role, up from 71% just a year ago. A further 8% of companies expect to add that role to their roster within the next 24 months.

A marketer who understands technology and a technologist who is passionate about marketing - why do organisations need marketing technologists.

Marketing automation, CRM, analytics, social media, data management platforms, demand-side ad platforms, search optimisation, e-commerce, web sites, landing pages, mobile landing pages, content marketing workflow, gamification and more... The digital world is changing rapidly and marketing has had to change with it.

The possibilities and expectations of customer experience are constantly growing and the scale and diversity of marketing tools is exploding. Software is enabling and harnessing these possibilities. Moreover, these days, more people can create software - faster, cheaper and easier than ever before, sparking a 'Golden Age of Marketing Software'. Marketing has more software solutions available to it today than any other business function in the entire history of computing.

The key question now is how does the marketing team use this plethora of technologies to benefit the business best?

The reason why the CMO spends more on technology than the CIO is that he or she is engaging audiences through software-mediated channels. Marketing is increasingly about designing and delivering customer experiences and software is the digital clay used to sculpt them. The CMO is responsible for that outcome, so it makes sense that the CMO should take a leadership role in the technology strategy to achieve it.

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