Blake Cahill, Head of Global Digital Marketing at Phillips, is unequivocal about the importance of understanding today’s fast-moving mobile and social technologies.

‘As a marketer,’ he says, ‘if you don't understand those 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.’

And he’s right. Indeed it’s no surprise that, as technology becomes ever more central to the marketing role, many businesses are now seeing the need for a special kind of professional who can bridge the gap between marketing and IT.

Of course there are already people applying technology principles to marketing under a variety of job descriptions: marketing operations, digital strategy, conversion optimisation, growth hacking and so on.

But it is increasingly clear that we are currently witnessing the emergence of a quite specific new breed among marketing professionals – the marketing technologist.

And it’s significant that most businesses embracing this new trend underline the importance they attach to the role by appointing a formal Chief Marketing Technologist (CMT).

As marketing technology enthusiasts, we view this promising future with excitement. We look forward to the emergence of new talents, people who will revolutionise the marketing landscape, changing the behaviour both of consumers and marketers.

These individuals will be the pioneers of advanced marketing technology, with a keen understanding of how products or services can be aligned with the company’s overarching marketing objectives.

It’s interesting that many of these emerging CMTs are coming up from a marketing operations and digital strategy background.

It seems that automation of so many of the processes that marketers had to execute manually in the past is increasingly encouraging marketing operations people to eye up the career possibilities of a marketing technologist’s job. 

So what does a CMT actually do? 

CMTs play a critical role in selecting, evaluating and choosing marketing technology providers to match the organisation’s needs. So the job is part creative, part strategy and part technology. 

Scott Brinker, who writes a blog at chiefmartec.com, believes CMTs don’t see marketing as discrete disciplines.

To them, technology is simply the clay from which modern marketing is sculpted. Marketing technologists have fundamentally changed the capabilities of the marketing department. They've cured it of blind co-dependency on IT and external service providers. They've helped integrate technology into the bones of its strategy and tactics. They've made marketing tech-savvy.

Brand marketing is already powered largely by technology. Everything digital is controlled and managed by software – from digital asset management and social media analytics to web content and CRM.

By 2018, digital is expected to capture about a third of advertising budget worldwide. So the marketing technologist role is going to be a critical investment for many big companies in the next decade. Research figures on the CMT trend provide food for thought:

  • Businesses with a CMT spend 11.7% of revenue on marketing technology, compared with 7.1% for those with no CMT.  
  • Those that have the CMT role will spend 30% of their marketing budget on digital marketing, compared with 21% for those who don't.
  • 92% of companies with a CMT have allocated money from their marketing budget for innovation.  

I see marketing technology from both sides – both internally and externally. I believe that in order to improve marketing performance, technology shouldn't be used solely to collect market data.

It has to play a critical role in improving efficiency, saving time on low-level admin tasks and encouraging team members to learn more about the brands. Marketing effort should be invested in strategic thinking and developing execution plans, while the process tasks are taken care of by software. 

There are five critical qualities that single out the successful marketing technologist:

  1. A combination of marketing strategic thinking and deep technology understanding.
  2. A clear understanding of the organisation’s overall mission, how this should be communicated through marketing and an ability to apply technology strategically.
  3. A wide knowledge of the marketing technology stack, plus the ability to identify and select technology solutions (a tall order these days, see e.g. this landscape chart from Scott Brinker.
  4. An ability to educate fellow team players on the latest technology in order to raise levels of expertise.
  5. Sound general management skills, in order to manage change effectively. 
Jens Lundgaard

Published 5 September, 2014 by Jens Lundgaard

Jens Lundgaard is Founder and CEO of Brandworkz and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow Jens on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn or Google Plus

13 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (7)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Stewart Longhurst

Stewart Longhurst, Director + Interim Head of Digital at Association of Project Management (APM)Enterprise

Sounds great - just the kind of role I'm looking for - where do I apply? :-)

almost 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Sanat Sethi

@Stewart- If you're located in the Greater Boston area, check out http://www.ioninteractive.com/careers/#op-23944-marketing-technologist!

I realize you were being half facetious, but the revolution isn't just happening in word, it's happening in deed!

almost 4 years ago

Stewart Longhurst

Stewart Longhurst, Director + Interim Head of Digital at Association of Project Management (APM)Enterprise

Thanks Sanat - I'm UK based - but I am actually looking for this kind of role. I just don't see the opportunities out there on UK job boards.

Despite many articles talking about chief marketing technologists being in demand, my recent experience is that most companies don't seem to know what they want in the digital leadership area. This is possibly why the big consultancies are mopping up talent to cash in on the confusion.

almost 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Anna Cotton

Hi Stewart

There aren't many jobs in the UK advertised under the title Chief Marketing Technologist, however marketing/digital operations or digital strategy type roles are pretty close and then it's a case of turning yourself into the the chief marketing techologist once you are there.

Here at Brandworkz our digital marketing guru, Neil Monahan, is the guy in our marketing team who stands with a foot in the IT camp but he isn't called the chief marketing techologist yet!

almost 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ahmed Khan,

I am Flash Developer, I got few years of experience as animator, developer and client servicing , now i doing digital marketing course via squared powered by google. I worked in Pakistan, Oman, Singapore and now in Dubai, UAE. I hope studying new course will open new opportunities for me.

over 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Nabeha Latif, Social Media Engagement Specialist at SparkZing

I agree with you fully. I am working as social media engagement specialist with mostly Americans & Swiss clients. Even when it is quite obvious that many organizations need to consider other mediums for marketing purpose, yet they fail to do so.
What do you recommend to those who are in business to provide services related to digital marketing?

over 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Minh Hoang, Marketing Executive at Brandworkz

@AhmedKhan of course it will gives you many exciting new opportunities. The explosion of marketing technology right now will create many jobs for tech talent in the marketing field.

over 3 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.