Marketers need to make their own technology decisions

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    Over the last year, the role of a marketing team within a company, particularly the CMO, has evolved drastically. Being able to market in its most traditional sense is no longer they key: businesses expect marketers to become digital and technology leaders. The marketing department now consists of technology builders, who have to create new channels (websites, mobile apps, facebook apps, etc), implement new tracking systems (marketing automation, CRMs, mobile analytics), and integrate these into their customers’ experiences. More importantly, they have to quantify each step of the marketing funnel.

    As Gardner Research often points out “Technology is the heart of Marketing, and CMOs will outspend their company’s CIO by 2017.” This new responsibility requires looking at their job through a different prism. They need to conduct business in a completely different manner because now, it’s vital to the success of their business. CMO’s now have to:

    • Find the right technology provider whose nimble
    • Ensure they can easily fire your technology provider just as they would do with with their ad agency
    • Build in performance goals for the technology provider
    • Rely on the CIO to drive the technology purchasing decision
    • Make key decisions by extensively kicking the tires of these technologies. (Note: To this day, it still surprises how many technology providers do not have sandboxes or a demo product for CMOs to properly evaluate their products.)

    As a result Marketing will have to quarterback the technology acquisition and licensing process for their companies. To accomplish this, they will need to:

    • Sync up with the company’s business goals
    • Prioritize and identify the critical few projects
    • Facilitate projects and communications between marketing and IT
    • Prioritize funding for marketing technologies
    • Select, evaluate and choose technology providers
    • Define success for these providers (hold them accountable)
    • Design and implement technology keeping digital business models in mind
    • Plan ongoing reviews of technology provider and your goals
    • Push your technology provider to continue to ameliorate their technology

    According to IBM’s CMO study, however, there are many barriers to adopting technology. See below:Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 11.52.20 AM.pngNone of these, however, focus on being able to leverage technology to improve the overall customer experience or extract actionable data. Marketers need to carefully consider how implementing a new marketing system impacts people visiting their site. This needs to be carefully looked at by capturing VOC (Voice of the Customer and looking closely at data.I am surprised, however, how many still don’t focus on lifetime value or retention. As eMarketer shows below, there tends to be a focus on one time activities (campaign tracking) and brand analysis (which does focus on their customers behaviors and competitive intelligence.169887.gifUnderstanding your customers data is the fuel of your marketing organizations. Since marketing is now a key for major technology buyers, CMOs need to know how to evaluate, implement and leverage new systems. All parts of marketing is impacted by technology.To prepare for their new role, CMOs then need to

    • Be able to quantify each step of the funnel which means they need to have the technology to accomplish this.
    • Identify or hire individual who has the technology background in Marketing Automation, CRM, and Web Analytics. In many cases, you don’t even need to have a Marketing Technology officer as some companies are beginning to do. As a result, a new job title has come on the scene – “Chief Marketing Technology Officer (CMTO). Within large companies — more than $500 million in annual revenue — 81% of them now have a chief marketing technologist role, up from 71% just a year ago. Another 8% expect to add that role within the next 24 months. However, smaller companies might not be able to afford to pay for an additional Marketing chief.
    • Have this person map out your technology and challenge them to figure out how the many pieces of the many technology puzzle fit together (no solution will solve all your problems) — how your marketing automation system fits with your CRM system, for example)
    • Be committed to a just-in-time agile approach (they can learn from their engineers meet Agile Development process and apply it  marketing)
    • Map out the process too before buying the technology (but be flexible)
    • Embrace technology — pick a few technologies to learn. Yes, I think CMOs need to understand how some of these products work.

    Marketers need to understand that any change in a company’s infrastructure can impact the overall customer experience. They need to embrace technology vs. fear it. They can no longer say ‘it’s too technical to understand.’ As Phil Fernandez, Marketo’s CEO said, “The days of ownership are being replaced with the days of partnership.”In the modern, connected, mobile environment, companies need to connect with customers with personalized and differentiated services. So called “stickiness” is essential and CMOs should be better equipped to meet those demands, regardless of whether or not they have the same level of technical knowledge as the CIODespite all of the above, CMO’s should not be lead by technology and should remember that it is just an enabler. Instead, marketing leaders should:

    • Map out the ecosystem of everyone who impacts your product
    • Focus on a few target audiences at first (prospects, customers, partners)
    • Map out each of their customer journeys (online and offline)
    • Identify their water holes and where they spend their time
    • Understand how they speak about their work, your product, etc.
    • Understand the jobs/tasks they get paid to do
    • Map out potential experiences in the funnel
    • Determine the right technology to collect data at those key touch points

    Much of the change in the CMO’s role is due to customers’ every increasing influencer. What do you think is causing this?