Marketing and technology has become so intertwined that it has created a new super-position: ‘Marketing Technologist’. Managing director at marketing and consulting company SapientNitro, Marcos Kurowski explains how technology has fueled disruption and why the Marketing Technologist is so important for the future of marketing.
During his presentation at Daze of Disruption, Kurowski presented SapientNitro’s study on chief marketing technologists and how the role “helps bridge the world of marketing and I.T. to help navigate the very complex waters of marketing today”.
SapientNitro conducted the first-ever study on CMT and what the role means for brands and the profession. The study looked at 280 respondents who identified as CMT and looked at their current skills, educational background, where they sit in the organisation, future skills and perceptions of their role. The study found chief marketing technologist’s fit within six distinct archetypes:
- Marketing mavens (26 per cent) Marketing skills emphasised over technology. Mavens specialise in building marketing programs using expertise in marketing strategy, strategic position and promotion.
- Data divas (17 per cent) Divas are skilled in marketing operations management, CRM, data science, analytics and modeling. They know how to acquire, integrate and make data perform.
- Content curators (16 per cent) Storytellers. Message crafters. Marketing strategists. Content Management platform experts. This type exercises considerable knowledge of the content marketing and related technologies to direct communications oriented marketing.
- Infrastructure architects (16 per cent) Enterprise level technology chops define this archetype, but they are also business consultants and bring a high-level understanding of a company’s marketing initiatives.
- Experience engineers (15 per cent) One foot in technology and another in experience. They are experts in cutting-edge technology: from eCommerce to front-end technology and mobility.
- Media and marketing analysers (10 per cent) Specialize in research, consumer insights and strategic planning. They think strategically about segmentation and connections planning.
An interesting finding from this study was how the academic background of CMT’s is lacking computer science and I.T skills. “If you buy into the premise that a deep and profound understanding of technology is important to marketers moving forward, then this is a little bit concerning: only 12 per cent chief marketing technologist that we looked at had a background in computer science.
“Of course you expect there to be a mix of different backgrounds but 12 per cent feels way too low. What that suggests is most people in this market are biased towards marketing and business skills so there’s a real gap on the technical side.
“There really is an opportunity to significantly transform marketing departments by bringing more profound I.T capability into the department.”
After the Daze of Disruption presentation, B&T sat with Kurowski to chat about the future of technology and chief marketing technologists.
How do you see brands embracing technology? Why is there a reluctance to embrace new technology?
The missed opportunity is when brands stop at simply trying to apply technology to communications. Brands that truly embrace technology apply it to their core products and services, not just to the way they reach and communicate with consumers.
A simple example is the gaming industry – their product has generally evolved from paper slip wagering in venues to mobile apps. Many of the leading betting companies see themselves as mobile app developers first and foremost.
FMCG brands have struggled to move beyond Facebook ads. Why didn’t one of the FMCG giants come up with the “Amazon Dash” button? Perhaps they had the idea but not the culture or organisational structures to execute the idea. More companies need to start to embed “applied technologists” – people who build things – into their marketing teams, their product teams, their sales teams.
Could you expand on why the car insurance industry is the most technology disruptive industry?
Car insurance is just one example of a historically very traditional industry where we are seeing great innovation. Often it’s in these ‘dark corners’ of industry where digital transformation can really thrive as they historically have been under-serviced by technology and therefore the opportunity to drive a step change is easier.
One of our recent clients was in the decidedly unsexy business of plumbing supplies. Turns out that when you look under the hood there are tremendous opportunities to apply technology to help tradies run their businesses. And these are not incremental opportunities, these are opportunities to create entirely new and meaningful revenue streams in new service areas. Being able to deliver supplies on demand within 90 minutes of order to a job site is a game changer for tradies.
The skills gap between CMO is this a global trend or just in Australia? Does this reflect a challenge within the Australian industry?
The data on this trend is global, with a bias towards North America (in terms of number of respondents). Anecdotally we see this 100 per cent being true in Australia as well. One constraint is the lack of supply of tech talent, coupled with intense competition from the traditionally large consumers of technology labour – the big banks, the sexy technology product companies like Atlassian, and the growing start-up scene. That’s a lot of intense competition for scarce technology talent and underscores the importance of continuing to drive policies, incentives, programmes, any lever we have, to grow the supply of tech talent.
Why is information security dead last in CMO skill sets? Could information security be the future disruptor?
Information security is a deeply specialised technical area that is evolving very quickly. To be able to have even a cursory understanding you need to have some foundational knowledge of computer science concepts which so few marketers have.
Beyond the technical understanding, there is the whole world of regulation and legislation which is constantly evolving. So there is a steep curve to get to even a modest level of knowledge. Information security is also one of those areas that doesn’t feel that important, compared to driving growth or innovation, until something bad happens. And at that point it’s too late – often the consequences can be tremendous. We think there is an opportunity for service providers, and agencies, to help clients in this space.
From this report, what will the future of CMO be- will CMOs become more “the media and marketing analysers” or will they be overtaken by the “mavens”?
The world of CMOs will continue to be a diverse melting pot, likely with Mavens continuing to be slightly over represented. What we are hoping to see though is a deepening in the technology depth of CMOs and other C-suite executives outside of IT. Richard Umbers at Myer and Peter Harmer at IAG are two recent CEO appointments that hopefully point to a longer term trend of technology finally cracking into the C-suite. I’d love to see examples of CIOs and CTOs getting appointed at CMOs – that would be a really powerful statement of intent by a company.
Should this be the responsibility of business to develop the CMO’s talent?
I think in today’s world the responsibility for development lies with both the individual and the business. CMOs need to push themselves beyond their comfort zone and own their own technological development; they need to actively court IT staff to join their marketing teams and open themselves up to technology influences.
At the same time companies can enhance their employer brand significantly by continuing to make investments in educating and growing their people. We passionately feel that while tech-enabling the Marketing department has had a lot of air time, teaching IT folks about marketing remains an untapped area of opportunity. Our own CMTO University programme at Sapient has been hugely successful in doing just that.