Modern marketing is a data-driven discipline that begins with the huge range of marketing technology available for the CMO. But how important is tech know-how to the role modern CMOs specifically playing in their organizations?
A recent Marketing Dive feature took a look at the rise of the new C-Suite designation CMTO, chief marketing technology officer. For this feature we’re diving into how the CMO role itself has evolved thanks to technology and trackable metrics, and how CMOs and CTOs are interacting in companies that don’t have a formal CMTO position.
One important change for CMOs is they are lasting longer in the job. Just nine years ago the average tenure for a CMO was just under two years, and research from last year finds that figure now up to 45 months. Perhaps a more important change for chief marketing officers is a new level of importance and respect in the executive suite, chiefly based around two developments – technology and data.
Marketing automation software, email automation solutions, social media tools as well as others give marketers both amazing amounts of control over campaigns, and more importantly, huge amounts of data that allow them to track prospects. From anonymous website visitors to paying customers, marketers are often able to attribute quantifiable results to specific touch points across marketing channels and campaigns. This information in turn allows CMOs to demonstrate actual value to a company’s bottom line based on return-on-investment from marketing’s budget.
Technology vendors are increasingly selling directly to CMOs rather than CIOs, and CMOs are taking advantage of this power. Gartner research from several years ago predicted CMOs will be spending more on IT than CIOs by 2017, and that forecast looks like it might actually be on the conservative side given the growth of CMOs’ technology role and the rise of the CMTO C-suite title.
Sales, Marketing and IT alignment
Another place where tech and metrics are shaking up traditional corporate culture is the once typical adversarial relationship between Sales and Marketing, which has become more of a partnership.
Sales teams are finding that data-driven marketing is providing them with more highly qualified leads instead of a huge amount of names to sift through, and also providing those sales reps with detailed information about those leads interests and behaviors that help close deals. Of course this development is important to the entire buying cycle. Even among B2B marketers with highly complex sales with long pipelines, prospects are doing their own research and are often as far as 85% or more down the funnel before ever even raising their hands and letting marketers know they exist.
Ryan Phelan, vice president of marketing insights at Adestra.com, has almost ten years of watching C-level interactions and says the importance of Marketing and IT alignment has practical and political implications.
“Typically, both have operated in silos comfortable with their discipline, but both struggling to understand the other side,” Phelan told Marketing Dive. “For the CTO, it’s been about the comprehensive infrastructure and how features and functions fit within the technology ecosphere. For the CMO, it’s been about what can provide deeper insight and paths toward profitability."
Sure, he admits both CMOs and CTOs are focused on the company's overall success, as all C-Level executives are, but are "SME’s (subject matter experts) within their own discipline first.”
“With changes in how technology decisions are being made, the fundamental change is that both roles are going to have to start learning about each other’s groups as well as a partnership that has not existed in recent memory," Phelan said.
The CTO will need to share technical insights, from the impact to infrastructure to how systems interact and become dependent on each other; and the CMO will have to talk about the impact to data, growing trends, and how those trends could help improve tech.
One thing is clear and that is the CMO is in a stronger position than ever in corporate leadership, and that doesn’t look to change anytime soon.