"It's no longer a question of whether technology plays a role in marketing; it's about what role the CMO needs to play in selecting the best solution to drive marketing and overall business success." So begins the latest Forrester report..."
Now, let me make two clarifications about becoming a superstar:
1. Even as marketing develops its own technology authority and knowledge, it should absolutely seek a collaborative relationship with IT. These are not mutually exclusive. To the contrary, the more technologically advanced the marketing department is, the more it has to gain in being well-coordinated with IT.
2. The CMO doesn’t need to personally be the pinnacle of the marketing department’s technology expertise. However, he or she must assemble the right team to develop technology knowledge within the marketing organization. And the more technology savviness the CMO has, the greater the odds of success are with that leadership mission.
In my opinion, a CMO should take a multi-pronged approached to marketing technology:
- Collaborate with the CIO to leverage the company’s existing capabilities to the fullest degree, to coordinate integration with other technology initiatives in the company, and to find that right sweet spot of division of responsibilities between marketing and IT (which will vary from one organization to the next).
- Hire a marketing technology leader within the marketing department as his or her right hand — to facilitate collaboration with the IT department, advise the CMO on technology strategy, and help the rest of the marketing team take full advantage of technology-powered capabilities. Here’s a great example of how Nationwide did just that.
- Learn as much as he or she can about technology management — I emphasize management, as this is not about becoming a programmer, but being savvy about governing technology-dependent strategy and operations.