Not long ago, marketers just marketed, which is the backbone of any business. They were responsible for advertising, content, branding, targeting, direct mail, positioning, lead generation and so on. All these are programs that keep a company’s products and services top-of-mind for prospective buyers, imperative for growing a successful business.
Usually marketers had to turn to IT to implement the technology for managing these efforts, but IT’s always got a lot to do, and marketing had to get in line for a solution. (Marketers are experts at marketing, not dealing with technology.) But times are changing and smart marketers now know they need a person on their team with technical savvy. With new technology such as web analytics, CRM, marketing automation, SEO auditing, and more, marketers need to master their own technology, or include a marketing technologist who can bridge the gap between marketing and IT on the team. This is beneficial to both sides and, obviously, the entire company.
I recommend a very insightful article that addresses these issues: Rise Of The Marketing Technologist, by Scott Brinker, President & CTO of ion interactive. Brinker offers three reasons why marketing must increasingly step up to lead its own technological destiny.
- Clockspeed. The pace at which new marketing initiatives must be conceived, tested and tweaked is blazingly fast. Agile marketing – which is actually derived from agile software development practices – is gaining popularity as a way to manage this accelerated operational tempo. But since marketing is now dependent on technical capabilities for many of its efforts, bargaining for and scheduling resources from a completely different department quickly becomes the bottleneck to agility.
- Budget. IT naturally wants to control its costs. Marketing is cost-conscious too, but may prioritize technology investments different than IT. In pursuit of its objectives, marketing should be free to allocate its budget to technology – as interchangeably as spending it on media, headcount or agencies. But someone on the marketing team needs the knowledge and skills to manage such tech investments.
- The third reason, perhaps most important, is that the technology itself is arguably now a creative medium. For instance, say you’re using a marketing automation system to drive a drip-marketing email campaign. Knowing what the system is capable of and how to actually implement it – such as dynamically substituting content based on behavioral profiles- expands your creative canvas.
Brinker discusses the role of the marketing technologist and offers compelling views on why it’s important for marketing to step up its role in technology. It’s a good read, and food for thought as marketing departments continue to adopt faster and more complex technologies.
Bob Sullivan is President of InfoGrow Corporation, a national sales and marketing consultancy and applications provider that enables clients to leverage both information and technology for making better sales and marketing decisions.
Photo of Flanders Technology International’s 1988 logo by PhotoBart, used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.