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7 things marketing wants to say to IT

Mary K. Pratt | Feb. 6, 2014
As marketing becomes fully digital, CMOs need more than just plain-vanilla tech services from their IT departments -- much more.

5. Loosen the handcuffs, please

Veteran CMO Rossanna Wang was recently trying to share files with a large pharmaceutical company that's partnering with her current employer, the nonprofit Malaria No More, but the company's IT department considered it a security breach.

"That kind of stuff really limits marketing capability, especially in the social media world," says Wang, who has worked as a marketing executive for several global companies.

Quite often, IT is the one who says, 'You can't do this.' It really limits what marketing can do in terms of being cutting edge. Rossanna Wang, Malaria No More

Wang says CMOs need IT to loosen the handcuffs a little bit. "Quite often, in my experience, IT is the one who says, 'You can't do this.' There was always a reason, and security was the most knee-jerk reason," she says.

While Wang says she understands the need for restrictions and precaution, she says marketing needs barriers to come down so it can be more effective. She adds: "It really limits what marketing can do in terms of being cutting edge."

The rise of the chief marketing technologist

As big data, social media and mobile shake up the old world order, companies are creating new positions to bridge marketing and IT and take full advantage of new tech-driven opportunities for customer engagement.

One new title, found primarily at large and very large companies, is the chief marketing technologist. According to Gartner's 2013 U.S. Digital Marketing Spending report, which polled more than 200 marketers from U.S.-based companies with more than $500 million in annual revenue, 72% of respondents indicated that their company had a chief marketing technologist-type role.

Gartner analyst Laura McLellan says that, in 80% of the companies that have the position, this person reports to the CMO.

The chief marketing technologist is responsible for understanding both available and emerging marketing technology platforms and articulating how marketing can capitalize on them. Depending on the company, the position is also sometimes involved in procurement or in setting up a center of excellence between marketing and IT. McLellan says most chief marketing technologists are strategic, although some are more tactical in their duties.

Similarly, McLellan says some organizations are creating a marketing CIO position that reports to the company's CIO with a dotted line to the CMO.

Surveys also find that large companies have both chief marketing technologists and marketing CIOs, not just one or the other, McLellan says.

On the other hand, only about 10% of large and very large companies have a chief digital officer, another new position that some organizations have created to try to maximize the ROI on its marketing technology.

 

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