The present and future of Marketing Technology was debated and captured at the inaugural MarTech Conference in Boston. It was a sold-out event that brought together diverse thought leaders in the MarTech world. In advance, I had the opportunity to connect with the conference chair, Scott Brinker, to discuss the industry’s evolution and how the role of Chief Marketing Technologist has become the must-have role within marketing organizations around the globe.
In our conversation, Scott emphasized, ironically:
The biggest challenge to the adoption of MarTech, is more human than technical. Marketing technologies have enabled new ways for marketers to manage their organizations and spend, engage with prospects, and measure marketing outcomes, but they still require new thinking, practices and skills across marketing teams to realize the full potential.
As the role of the marketing technologist (at all levels) continues to gain momentum, Scott explained how the role itself is materializing at a rapid rate. For emphasis, he noted when he started his @Chiefmartec blog in 2008, Google search results turned up 245 mentions. Today, Chief Marketing Technologist boasts more than 376,000 listings. He elaborated that the value of this role seems to revolve around four key contributions, which include:
- Operationalizing the partnership between marketing and IT
- Serving as the CMO’s trusted advisor in matters of how technology affects the firm’s marketing strategy
- Governing the technical facets of the relationships between the marketing department and a bevy of marketing service providers — different agencies, contractors, software vendors
- Helping the broader marketing team — non-technical marketers — to leverage technology more effectively
Scott also weighed in on MarTech’s impact on marketing budgets, emphasizing that “All indications are that marketing is going to keep increasing its investments in technology at a significant level.” In fact, at the MarTech Conference, Laura McClellan, senior analyst at Gartner Group, updated her prediction that CMOs would spend more on technology then CIOs by 2017.
Laura declared we have already reached this milestone, three years early. Scott emphasized marketing technology is where the big opportunities are. The money to fund technology investments is coming from a variety of sources: cost savings in improved operational efficiency thanks to better automation and analytics, shifts from media budgets, shift in IT spending priorities, and net new marketing budget authorized by the CEO to create new customers and revenue.
Looking ahead to the next great frontier of MarTech, Scott forecasts even more innovation behind the scenes to make heterogeneous marketing “stacks” easier to architect and manage. As a result, he says, this will go a “tremendous way towards enabling marketers to experiment with more cutting-edge developments without being bogged down in complex integration headaches for each one.”
With the first MarTech Conference now behind us, there is even more excitement and visibility for marketing technology and its dedication profession. As an attendee, it was promising to hear speakers reinforce the need for integration among MarTech solutions, something we believe at Integrate is absolutely critical for marketing success. There was also significant banter around the talent war for tech-savvy marketers who are capable of building, managing and executing integrated marketing that drives improved results.
It will be interesting to see how we as CMOs take on this increased demand as our own roles evolve and expand. This was also a theme at the conference – how can CMOs possibly define markets, develop and manage products and programs and acquire and retain customers. Not an easy task, with or without technology
While there were many valuable takeaways from MarTech, one point of unanimous agreement among participants was the need for a MarTech strategy. CMOs and marketing organizations cannot afford to piece-meal their marketing technology, people and process. They need an integrated strategy in place to drive and measure results. The future of MarTech has arrived. As a CMO, I am glad to have a front seat on the MarTech rollercoaster.