According to a prediction in 2016 from Gartner, chief marketing officers (CMOs) would spend more on technology by 2017 than chief information officers (CIOs).

While that prediction may have seemed far-fetched at the time, today, in more than 30% of organisations, at least some aspects of sales, IT and customer experience now report to the CMO.

In fact, Gartner’s figures show that CMOs allocated 3.24% of total company revenue to technology spending in 2016 – very close to the 3.4% of revenue CIOs earmarked for IT. 

As the change in the digital landscape accelerates, marketers are investing heavily in technology. Why? Because consumers have ever-increasing expectations around the speed of response and delivery, and personalisation (which starts at the very first interaction with your brand).

Marketers are playing an increasingly important (and measurable) role in driving revenue. With the right marketing technology in place, marketers can deliver personalised messages to specific customer segments at the right time, throughout their interaction with the company.

And, not only are marketers building better customer experiences, technology can track the return on pounds spent. This is a true game-changer for all marketers.   

With the biggest line item in most CMO's budgets being personnel, one of the biggest opportunities to drive results for the business is using technology to help manage the work getting done. The efficacy of your marketing and impact of your brand ultimately come down to the quality and productivity of your people. The array of technology and systems savvy marketers are choosing increasingly includes project management tools and software that help teams operate in a lean, agile manner. These systems can give CMOs the confidence to know deadlines are being hit and quality work is getting done. By leveraging these collaborative work management tools, marketing teams can build a culture of operational excellence

Such operational excellence is critical to success - especially in this day and age where the speed of change is so dramatic. According to a piece by Harvard Business Review, ‘firms with strong managerial processes perform significantly better on high-level metrics such as productivity, profitability, growth, and longevity’. Top performing teams are 75% more productive and businesses that implement best-in-class management practices experience 25% faster annual growth and up to $15m in profit increase. 

How to build your ‘productivity stack’?

Chiefmartec editor Scott Brinker’s most recent marketing technology landscape highlights 5,000 marketing technology tools, which makes it insanely difficult for CMOs to know what technology tools to use, and when in a company’s growth to deploy them.

chief martec 5,000

The martech landscape supergraphic, from Chiefmartec.com

With so many new tools on offer, many of which include overlapping services/benefits, it is key that CMOs embrace their new role as one of the main technology purchasers/users within an organisation. Often second only to the CIO. You should be procuring the right tools to unlock operational efficiency within your teams.

Questions to ask to get you started: 

  • What problem are we trying to solve? What’s broken today? Typical areas of concern within most businesses are: hitting deadlines on time, keeping projects within scope/budget, tracking costs to return on an ROI basis, getting visibility into the team’s work, and being able to showcase the work to the rest of the organisation.  
  • How can we collaborate most effectively? Best-in-class organisations are executing integrated marketing campaigns across teams. This requires a high degree of interaction and collective organisation. While chat tools may be better in some respects than email, it might make sense to think about your workflow and collaboration behaviours. How can you create more ability for teams to work well together?  
  • How can I drive increased performance of the team? Getting team members to take accountability for the work, and ensure they are working on the right stuff is at the heart of productivity solutions. Ensuring your team has the right data and strategic framework to push decision making down in the organisation is a worthy endeavour. Finding solutions that empower the team can be a big boost to morale as well.
  • Finally, what are barriers for successful adoption and use? What is the corporate environment and appetite for technology tools? Are there solutions already being used across the organisation? How can you ensure that you are going to genuinely enhance productivity? Culture will play a critical role here – make sure you understand the culture in which you are operating so that you can plan for successful adoption. 

Making ‘flawless execution’ a reality

The increase in spending on technology for the marketing team is symptomatic of the transformative effect technology is having on the marketing industry as a whole, and will likely only increase. From automated responses to team collaboration platforms and audience analysis tools, marketers are embracing new technologies to improve their speed of delivery, quality of work and ability to provide customised offerings for each individual. 

Done right, the introduction of marketing technology should add a tremendous competitive advantage, and unlock the opportunity to move ever closer to the holy grail – a culture of continuous improvement in pursuit of flawless execution.

Further reading:

Frazier Miller

Published 17 May, 2018 by Frazier Miller

Frazier Miller is CMO at project management software company Wrike.

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