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What’s Next for the Chief Marketing Technologist?

If you have an interest in understanding how marketing can successfully harness technology in your organization, you’ll care very much about what Scott Brinker has to say.

If you haven’t heard of Scott, don’t worry – you will soon.  He is the President & CTO of a digital agency called ion interactive, and he has recently produced a great piece of work entitled “Rise of the Marketing Technologist”.  Originally presented back in April at the Search Insider Summit, and since featured in CMO.com, his message has struck a chord with many of us in the industry who want to see the powerful combination of marketing and technology reach its full potential for businesses.

Scott’s basic premise is that marketing must control its technological destiny, and that the introduction of a new role within the marketing organization – the Chief Marketing Technologist – provides a key to success.   Here is a link to his full SlideShare presentation

Rather than analyzing or critiquing his work further in this post, my intent is to amplify the message and help “get the word out” to those people and organizations that can benefit from Scott’s comprehensive approach to marketing technology.

I had the good fortune to speak with Scott last week regarding his thought process behind the creation of “Rise of the Marketing Technologist”.  It was obvious that a great deal of his motivation came from his passion for business, marketing, and technology done right. 

Just as importantly, Scott is keenly interested in soliciting feedback and inviting discussion as a way to refine this overall concept.  I had the chance to express my viewpoint that extending the idea of a Chief Marketing Technologist role to agencies can create a greater sense of expertise, trust and respect between those agencies and their clients’ IT organizations that so many times seem to be at odds. 

Scott and I talked about where we this type of approach seems to work (and not work).  While case studies and true success stories are still works in progress, Scott sees many encouraging signs of commitment, including GE CMO Beth Comstock’s recent comments at June’s Business Marketing Association (BMA) conference in Chicago, regarding GE’s efforts to “marry” marketing and IT.  On the flip side, we agree this type of approach falls short in instances where organizations elect to throw lower-level technology “doers” into the mix as opposed to C-level leaders and strategists.

Finally, we discussed the desired target audience for the “Rise of the Marketing Technologist” concept and best ways to get the message out to it.  Scott’s view is that CMOs are the target audience.  I personally think that CEOs, COOs and CIOs would also be good additions to the mix. 

As for best ways to deliver the message, Scott’s initial presentation and subsequent sharing via social media have provided a great starting point.  However, we agree that live marketing events that attract CMOs and other C-level execs can ultimately provide the biggest exposure.  As Scott points out, more opportunities to present at these types of events will likely occur as high profile case studies continue to develop. 

So what’s next for the Chief Marketing Technologist?  If you agree with the concept in principle, what do you think will be the best ways to “advance the movement”?   Who out there is willing to step up with an idea, or even better yet, a great case study?  Please be sure to provide your feedback to Scott via his Chief Marketing Technologist blog, or to me in the form of your comments below.

I’ve got a feeling we’ll be coming back to this topic soon!

– Jim S.

Add Measurement But Don’t Sacrifice Innovation

April 21, 2010 Leave a comment

The tough state of our economy has had a profound impact on all aspects of business.  Most corporate budget areas are being challenged, threatened, and outright slashed, including marketing.  Gone are the days where great, innovative marketing ideas and a gut feel were enough to justify budget.  Now, marketing – especially in all of its digital forms – has moved into the crosshairs of corporate scrutiny, and the demands to measure its effectiveness are increasing.    

Indeed, whether via the web, through social media, mobile, or other platforms, digital marketing does present ample opportunities to be measured.    As I’ve preached from the measurement pulpit myself in prior blog posts, there are far too many good analytical, listening, and monitoring tools & resources for us to ignore in the digital space.  It absolutely makes sense to try to measure and monitor results wherever possible. 

However, instead of adding measurement to a balanced “tech marketing blender” mix that already includes a healthy amount of innovation, I’m now feeling like measurement is often being added at the expense of innovation.  In many cases this is causing us to miss out on the huge opportunities for growth and other benefits that innovation can provide. 

In my opinion, there are simply too many things that innovation and creative ideas do for a brand that are not immediately measurable, but ultimately provide longer-term benefits.  There are also too many new digital marketing channels and tools with demonstrated potential out there that are begging to be explored.  This exploration requires experimentation and discovery that often defy measurement (and yes, sometimes logic, too).  As important as measurement has become in the digital marketing world, it is equally important not to sacrifice innovation and all that it offers.  If we do, we’ll ultimately end up measuring inferior results.

What do you think about this?  Do you feel that the pendulum has now swung so far to the side of measurement that any reasonable sense of digital marketing innovation and creativity has been lost?  Are we still giving ourselves enough opportunity to explore, experiment, and discover new and better ways to reach audiences?  As always, I’d love to know your thoughts…

 – Jim S.