Dont Trust Techos with your Sales and Marketing Vision

Laura McLellan, a research VP at Gartner, caused quite a stir at the beginning of this year when she boldly predicted that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs.

And now that is proving to be very true as marketing is becoming the most technology dependant part of any business.

As a result many businesses are developing new roles to bridge the Marketing – Technology divide. This role known as Chief Marketing Technologist will, I believe, play a key role in the future as they need to be:

  • Part Strategist
  • Part Technologist
  • Part Leader and Teacher

Having spent my formative years in DP/MIS/IT and most of my working life in Marketing and Sales I can clearly see why this role is vital. And if it’s not a full time role, every business needs this kind of expertise in house.

For too long the fear of technology and confusion about terminology have held too many businesses back and in some cases it has the technologists to blame.

In the early days just like lawyers and accountants we developed a language and style that made what we did look hard and confused our customers to keep our value up and make sure we kept control.

And these days it is vital to break those barriers down as technology is the key business enabler and main tool for engaging with customers and prospects.

Given these issues though, it was not surprising to read a recent report by Deloitte and SA Government Chief Information Officer that said:

IT have their goals and Marketing have theirs…now more than ever there is an urgent need to have them in alignment.

With creativity and technology being the two main aspects a business needs to create a competitive advantage, this alignment provides massive opportunities that are going begging in many businesses today.

In 2009 we wrote the Grumpy Old Managers’ Guide to Social Media Marketing to alert business owners and marketers about the need to embrace Social Media and more so the pressing need for them to start using it themselves.

Sadly 5 years later most of the same people still need to heed the same advice. This was highlighted in a very recent report by Deloitte and the Office of the Chief Information Officer in South Australia – SA Digital Disruption – Digital Opportunities – subtitled Short Fuse, Big Bang. Deloitte predicts that two thirds of SA businesses will face a significant change to their business operations as a direct result of digital disruption over the next 5 years. Furthermore for most – a third of businesses in the state – these effects will be felt within the next three years.

Mark Reade, lead digital partner at Deloitte, said many SMEs still believe digital innovation is too technically difficult for them and that one third of all businesses in SA had a very low level of digital engagement.

Clearly the Chief Marketing Technologist role will overcome many of the fears and speed the process up in larger companies, but smaller companies need to adopt some of the same thinking at least. Whilst not a full time role all businesses should have a senior person that is heavily involved in Sales and Marketing who is prepared to be very technology aware.

In fact, if the right choices of software and systems are made the need to be tech savvy by most people in business will not be an issue anyway.

Much of the time the marketing team or those in charge of the marketing budget don’t know what software/technology is available to help them and relies on IT for advice…but if IT doesn’t know what marketing needs…well that’s where we need the Chief Marketing Technologist isn’t it?

There are now hundreds of marketing software providers with tools for customer relationship management, marketing automation, content management, social media management etc so how is the traditional marketing department meant to know which, what, where and when?

But it’s even more basic than’s as simple as knowing the how and why of the website or the Facebook page. While all of this can be outsourced, and for a small business should be, it is vital to have staff that understand both the business and what the technology does do and more importantly is capable of doing.

It is no longer acceptable to put sales and marketing technology in the too hard basket and keep doing what has worked in the past.  That will make you a Prisoner of the Proven and greatly limit the future of  your business…very soon.

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