The Rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist

The Rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist

By Abhishek Rungta January 25, 2017 - 4,334 views


Five years back, research and advisory firm Gartner had predicted that by 2017, the chief marketing officer (CMO) of an organization will be spending more on technology than the CIO.

Today, it’s no secret that there is an increasing influence of technology in marketing. The confluence of marketing and technology (MarTech) has resulted in accelerating client acquisition, enhancing brand awareness, allocating budget for more marketing and technology operations and upgrading customer experience.

Over the years, the line between CMOs and CIOs has blurred and a new C -level position has gained popularity: chief marketing technologist (CMT). In simple words: the new hybrid role combines the previous job profiles of CMO and Chief Technology Officer (CTO). He must be hands on with marketing and furthermore have knowledge about capabilities and budget of the IT departments. According to a research by Foundation Capital, martech is expected to grow 10X in 10 years (from a $12B Billion dollar market into a $120B industry).  The rising popularity of martech has further augmented the demand of CMTs.

An ideal CMT would be a vital business player alongside being a technology leader, who will be involved in data and analytics, planning, content marketing, product development, digital engagement, marketing automation, sales and web mechanics. He should have the vision to drive both technology and marketing in the digital age, thus helping in the agile administration of the business.

As per a Harvard Business Review article by Scott Brinker and Gartner Analyst Laura McClellan, the CMT’s job is to align marketing technology with business goals, serve as a liaison to IT, and evaluate and choose technology providers.

Here are 4 key roles of a CMT in an organization:

  • To bridge the gap between CMO and CIO
  • To nurture technology in marketing departments
  • To ensure marketing teams aren’t left behind in terms of IT
  • To keep marketing up-to-date with changing technologies.

Also, let’s look at four areas chief marketing technologist must be accountable for:

  • Confluence of marketing and technology to achieve business goals

Earlier marketing and technology were seen as separate verticals but today they are increasingly overlapping. Today, marketing is reliant on analytics and other forms of business intelligence. The data that is aggregated from various sources, thanks to cloud computing is being analyzed to derive insights. These insights have pushed organizations to strategize their marketing campaigns, both digital and traditional. Automation of processes has only spurred the growth of big data, and with that, the resulting insights from analytical software. In fact, marketing is so dependent on data that it is impossible to visualize a marketing campaign that is not built around analytics. This convergence of marketing and technology require the decisions of someone (read: chief marketing technologist) who has mastery in both the domains at the same time.

  • Easy communication between IT and marketing teams  

Marketing departments have often overlooked technical aspects, but the rise of digital marketing has forced most marketers to adopt technology. At this juncture, CMT joins the organization and facilitates more ventures and correspondence between the teams. He is required to identify the current state of tech ecosystem and craft marketing campaigns to drive business. He also streamlines the planning and execution of marketing technology projects and coordinates with the staff of both divisions effectively and keeps an update of their activities.

  • Development of strategic roadmap and budget allocation in marketing technology

According to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2015-2016, 33% of marketing budget go to technology. Gartner also reported that nearly 65% of marketing departments are expanding spending plans for service providers that have technology-related offerings. The CMTs is required to amalgamate the technology and marketing budgets for a common vision. CMTs’ leadership abilities coupled with market and competitive intelligence help in improving the infrastructure of the company with the strategic application of technology.  He also allocates money for innovation, which might include experiments with new innovations and techniques. CMTs also develop the strategic roadmap for the companies on where to invest money to engage with the customers.

  •  Fostering technology-positive work culture

The multi-layered role of CMT provides marketing professionals with guidance and inspiration. He additionally encourages a work culture that is innovation positive. In this sense, CMTs not only make decisions, but also help foster environments that nurture technology in places where it is not usually welcomed.

Here are some Chief Marketing Technologists, who are active on Twitter

  • Nicole Pereira

@Nicca619 – Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Technologist, Campaign Creator

  • Eric Hollebone

@erichollebone – Chief Marketing Technologist, DemandLab.

  • John Kottcamp

@jkottcam – Chief Marketing Technologist, Tahzoo

  • Hitesh Bhatia

@hiteshbhatia – Chief Marketing Technologist, CBREX

  • Andrew Epperson

@eppand ‏- Chief Marketing Technologist, PBISRewards

  • Steve Glass

@Oinkodomeo- Chief Marketing Technologist, Oinkodomeo

Rise of Chief Marketing Technologist

In the previous C-level hierarchical setups, the CMO took the marketing leadership responsibilities, while the CIO took the technology and IT-related leadership roles. Now, envision a circumstance where a CIO of a company is not effectively connected with the marketing team. Neither is usually in a position to comment on the other’s leadership vision. A CMT acts as a bridge between a CIO and CMO. A CMT’s combined knowledge of marketing and technology help him to weave marketing vision with technical depth. He will ensure that business is aligned with the right variables, and that there are right incentives and accountability overall.

A CMT usually has the background in IT management, and also hold specialization in marketing. Most of them might have an undergraduate degree in computer science or in business administration. To whom the CMT reports to will rely on upon individual associations. The CMT coordinates with both technical and marketing teams, but concentrates on making marketers within an organization cultivate an interest and fondness toward technology and IT.

According to a study in 2016, globally, 70% of marketing teams have a person dedicated to marketing technology, and in Europe, 66% of marketing teams have an individual devoted to this role. Now, why there is a rise in companies to employ CMTs? Here are 5 reasons why there is an increasing rise in the demand of Chief Marketing Technologist.

 Customer insight analytics will play a bigger role

Programmatic marketing is finding its place as the most desired technology among marketing professionals. This aims towards a need for knowledge of software programming and marketing at the same time. Those at C-level posts, who make decisions and predictions regarding marketing and technology, will spend more time deliberating on customer insight analytics. Investments in these two technologies will partly be the reason why CMTs will be in demand. Customer insight analytics will play a bigger role in particular, because marketing will be more customer-centric than ever. Newer technologies will help decision makers to focus on improved programs and tools.

Proximity marketing will require LaaS approach

Location-based information is becoming very important. Most marketing departments are going to invest in technology that will help in gaining insight into location data. Proximity marketing is helping companies to achieve targets that were once unachievable. As location-based data is being delivered via cloud, using a Location as a Service (LaaS) model, more investment in this front is likely. Decision makers will find themselves focusing on technologies and programs that bring location data, while also ensuring that this data is converted into proximity marketing. CMTs will be required to make this happen, as they have a better experience of bringing marketing and technology together.

Digitization of marketing is no more a choice

Social media marketing will see a lot more investment while companies will also focus on other forms of advertising. Paid advertising on digital platforms will continue to drive growth for small and medium-sized companies. In other words, one simply can’t ignore digitization of marketing anymore. Digitization of marketing is expected to spur the growth of new marketing technologies, and investment in those areas. For this, the knowledge and experience of someone who can handle both marketing and information technology will be required. Only a CMT will be able to do this job effectively.

Rise of Marketing as a Service (MaaS)

 With automation taking centre stage, and with the rise of newer technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, marketing is increasingly becoming influenced by these newer tools. Many marketing programs and apps are already available on a subscription basis, over the cloud. This has led to the rise of Marketing as a Service (MaaS), a new software, platform and infrastructure delivery model. With MaaS evolving to become an important part of cloud computing and marketing, the importance of CMTs cannot be understated.

 Content marketing grows bigger

Last but not the least; we cannot remove content from marketing. And with content, technology is always lurking around. Content marketing is increasingly dependent on technology and automation is helping content to be published with a higher efficiency. As all the three variables are inextricably linked, a CMT will be able to do a better job at making decisions that impact these three departments. Moreover, as content is going to become more dependent on business intelligence and data analytics, a CMT’s role will only increase in the future.


In this new digital environment, technology and marketing ought to work together and a CMT, who has the strong technical knowledge and also possess marketing execution experience, will be beneficial for any company. Marketing organizations have also started appointing a CMT to oversee the dynamic environment of technology strategy and operations. In simple words: marketing technology must be managed holistically.

As technology becomes increasingly rooted in marketing, organizations have realised the significance of CMT. Today, technology and innovation are an integral part of marketing strategies and thus there is an expanding demand for CMTs, who will not only merge marketing and technology but will also give customer insights and also provide strategic guidance to the CEOs. His thought leadership on technology and marketing will benefit the enterprise. Also, with more technological innovations, thanks to artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation, this C-level position will only become more apparent in the days to come.  


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