Why does the CMO need a technology wing man?

July 18, 2014 By CRM Technologies

By Andrew Freeman, CEO of CRM Technologies

Technology has become a fundamental element of a successful marketing operation. Traditionally the domain of the CTO, as digital marketing has increasingly become the cornerstone of marketing efforts in our quest to optimise measurement of marketing effectiveness, so ownership of technology solutions to deliver and manage digital marketing has crept into the marketing department’s remit.

Even if you count yourself to be a fairly tech savvy CMO, chances are you did not get into marketing to focus on making technology work. However, the reality is that successfully implementing technology solutions is going to be critical to the overall success of your department.

The task becomes harder when it’s likely that you employ a whole range of technologies to support functions, including marketing automation, inbound marketing campaigns and database management, plus a range of essential digital marketing tools that underpin your need for measurement, ROI and forecasting.

Given this trend, it pays to gen up on some of the technologies available to marketers, but do you really want to get into the nuts and bolts of understanding each of the required technologies to optimise effectiveness?

Enter the need for a technology partner, your ‘wing man’ who can specialise in understanding the granular detail of the products you require and who can act as a bridge between your objectives and the delivery and management of campaigns with your marketing team.

The chances are that this ‘specialist’ will be external to your organisation, a consultancy or agency business, bringing a range of senior strategists and technical delivery specialists to complement your own team. You may opt to do the research yourself initially, undertake an RFP (read our top tips on vendor selection RFPs here) and select a vendor initially, then look for a specialist to support the implementation of that technology once on board.

However this is truly where a technology specialist can add real value. Find the right partner from the outset and they can assist with selecting appropriate tools and technologies, looking at how your marketing operations are structured to optimise new approaches such as marketing automation and even help plug any skills gaps amongst your team with training or outsourced resource if required.

Take marketing automation as an example. Adopting marketing automation requires a change in mind set, not just the purchase of an appropriate marketing automation platform. We have been involved in numerous client projects where a decision has been made to adopt marketing automation, but the significant changes required both in terms of technical support and skill set and operational structure have been under estimated. A fundamental change in technology to support an effective marketing operation is not to be taken lightly and it pays to have the support of a specialist who can guide you through the main pitfalls to make the most of what is likely to be a sizeable investment. (If you’re thinking about adopting marketing automation, check out our blog ‘Are you ready for marketing automation?’)

Invest a little time in thinking about how fundamental any marketing technology changes might be to your department and whether you could benefit from a strategic technology wing man. We will look at some tips on how to go about choosing one next time…