The Collision Between Technology & Corporate Marketing

In today’s modern business world, there is a collision taking place which is causing tension between the marketing & technology professions. With that said, the definition of the marketing manager is being re-defined, triggering an identity crisis for many conventional “Marketing Managers”.

It’s not surprising that in a recent business survey among CEO’s,  21% answered that they wanted CMO’s to have more technology & technical experience as opposed to only 13% who placed higher interest for those with “Agency” experience.  Ouch… but a pretty good warning sign and head start for those willing to accept the inevitable.

Truth be told, the results aren’t that shocking but they do point to a shift in mindset.  I’ll attempt to explain, today’s CEO is looking towards the future and cutting their losses.  Year over year margins are smaller and CEO’s are bearing witness to the innovators dilemma.  New technologies are forcing them to revisit how they run their business & marketing models and place the waterfall model on ice.  The premise is not that  all conventional marketing managers should be dismissed but that the new environment of marketing is urging CEO’s to secure talent with both marketing and technology  skills.

With that said, not everyone in marketing needs to be a technologist , just like not everyone in marketing needs to be a creative-  the reality  is that technology must become apart of Marketing’s DNA.

Which leads me to last point.  The NEED for developing new Marketing Technologist.

As you can see below, the media technology landscape has exploded and become even more fragmented and overwhelming for conventional marketing to solve.

As a consequence, this has exposed the technology gap in marketing departments.  Scott Brinker, author of the Chief Marketing Technologist blog recently stated in an article for Advertising Age that, “Marketing has become deeply entwined with technology” and he goes on to say this didn’t happen overnight; “it’s been sneaking up on us for a while.”.  He makes the point that because technology had been so tangential to marketing management for most of our history, the organizational structure of marketing has been slow to adjust to this new technology-centric reality. Obviously he was right, we’ve reached a tipping point. To fully be effective in the digital age, marketing must officially embrace ownership of its technology platforms and strategies. And the first step of such ownership is to hire someone to lead it. As Scott Brinker states, “Enter the chief marketing technologist”.

Marketers today can’t afford to view emerging technology as the shiny object , it’s already become a key multiplier in the world of advertising and the brands that are doing right are propelling their brands on a global scale. With that said,  the marketing funnel today needs to be approached in 3D- for lack of a better expression, marketers need to take into perspective software platformssocial media, storytelling, design, CRM, marketing automation and listening platforms.  In an environment where where technology seems to change every month,  brands runs the risk of being perceived as out of touch with culture & society.  While its entertaining to think new technology is a fad in the marketing context, it’s a an illusion to think marketers will remain effective with a conventional marketing approach.

Memo to marketing managers: We aren’t in Kansas anymore, it’s time to embrace your jobs as marketing technologist and adapt at the speed of culture.


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