CMOs have a lot to think about in terms of adopting evolving marketing technology. As technology becomes ubiquitous across organizations, CMOs need to not only be aware of the latest data-driven technologies, but also have the right employees to ensure they're using the technology to benefit the company.
Not surprisingly, according Chris Chodnicki, CTO and co-founder of R2integrated, a marketing agency focused on helping companies achieve campaign goals through cloud and data strategies, one of the biggest things CMO's will need to focus on is data. "Data is certainly driving technology and I think the CMO has had this hybrid nature that is going to gain more momentum [where] the technology drives what they're doing."
Chodnicki says this means CMOs can expect to find themselves more concerned about leveraging different aspects of data like predictive modeling, and blending different data sources as well as data warehouse capture and storage. "There's going to be high demand and high pressure to leverage those platforms and that data on a multichannel type basis so that they can get the results that drive sales or drive the goals that they're trying to achieve."
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Finding workers who mix marketing and tech skills
As more marketing departments and businesses become data-driven, CMO's need to ensure they not only have the right technology to leverage data, but the right employees as well. It's similar to bi-modal IT, where there are two different camps in IT, and one is focused on more traditional aspects of IT and the other is invested in fast-paced innovation. CMO's will want to hire people invested in cutting-edge marketing software and technology, with a focus on innovation.
"We're seeing more and more where the marketing department has dedicated IT resources, where it used to be more of a centralized setting for a CIO, and their IT resources would be distributed across departments but we're finding more and more that the CMO sort of having that demand and in order to meet that demand they'll start to lead their own IT resources to get their job done," says Chodnicki.
Basically, if you're a CMO, you want to make sure you are hiring marketing-driven technology pros on your team, whether it's in the form of data scientists, analysts or even front-end engineers. These employees should have a mixed interest of both marketing and technology in order to fully grasp how data can help a company grow its presence and even sales.
Taming the data beast
As many companies are quickly discovering, data is a beast. It's valuable to a company, but there is so much of it that many businesses aren't sure how to manage it, let alone use it to their advantage. But this data is critical when it comes to understanding your audience, consumers and clients, and it's worthless if no one knows how to organize it in the first place.
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This approach will also require a stronger relationship between the CMO and the CIO, as well as the teams that fall underneath them, even though both might have different priorities and strategies when it comes to technology. "We used to be in a room often where it would only be the IT folks and only the marketing folks in other meeting sad we're seeing more and more that both are in the same room together and that's the ideal setting for us and these other organizations, there needs to be a unified message and goal between those two parties."
In the next five years, CMOs and CIOs will need to learn how to turn this into a fruitful conversation that will allow both departments to do their jobs well. Without this communication, it's likely that CMOs will find their departments in over their heads with new technology, while the CIO's department will be struggling with managing new software and applications they didn't bring in to the business themselves. By fostering this relationship, both parties can learn from the other to ensure they are strategically implementing new technology and getting the most from it.