In the olden days, the high priests of Information Technology determined the technology roadmap. They prioritized initiatives, and they managed a queue of requests from departments across the company. The vendors courted them, and they selected the systems and the integrators. If your function was unlucky enough to be far down the list, you couldn’t do much about it.
The advent of practical software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications changed the dynamics of technology selection, procurement and implementation. The timing of the SaaS revolution coincided with the emergence of applications that have automated marketing organizations, and marketing has been ready with checkbook in hand. Today, marketing is teeming with technology.
That’s Great, Isn’t It?
The benefits of technology in marketing are impossible to miss. Technology has revolutionized communication, demand creation, content development, sales enablement and planning. However, much of marketing’s technology acquisition has taken place incrementally, one application at a time. Now, nearly a decade later, many applications operate in silos – not sharing data, with redundant functionality.
Who’s in Charge of Marketing’s Technology?
Now that small teams have the power to procure, who is actually in charge? Should IT have a role in managing marketing’s technology? Is it time for the emergence of a chief marketing technology officer?
The idea of a CMTO sounds pretty cool, and in some organizations, it’s appropriate. But most marketing teams don’t have the scale and resources to justify a role focused exclusively on the effective and optimized use of technology. For this reason, SiriusDecisions recommends that marketing operations evaluate the applications used in marketing to ensure they are being leveraged, aren’t redundant, and that the data they consume and produce is captured and shared. Marketing operations should also assess software costs and contract renewal timing, in case there is an opportunity for consolidation at some point.
Marketing operations should also lead alignment with the IT organization. While marketing personnel and the marketing operations teams are the application experts on individual applications, IT has tremendous expertise in managing technology across the corporation. In areas of security, user management, on-premise infrastructure support, and the integration of data across functions outside of marketing, it’s IT that has the expertise.
Comment below and let us know who’s in charge in your organization.