The marketing world is becoming increasingly powered by technology. The software and tools a marketing team utilizes can greatly impact how customers view the brand in a digital environment.
Global spending on marketing software topped $20 billion in 2014 and will surpass $32 billion by 2018, according to projections by International Data Corporation (IDC), an information technology research and consulting firm.
A 2015 survey by web presence management firm Conductor found that 65% of marketing executives expect to spend more on marketing technology in the coming year, with 28% of respondents anticipating spending jumps of at least 25%.
Meanwhile, a survey by IT research company Gartner estimates that digital marketing spending, which accounts for about one-fourth of marketing budgets on average, will rise by 8% in 2015.
Not only is this evolution of the marketing landscape altering budgets, it’s also seen as expanding career options and redefining the relationship between Marketing and IT.
From this growth, a new position is emerging – the marketing technologist. These professionals are “part strategist, part creative director, part technology leader and part teacher,” according to a 2014 article in the Harvard Business Review, titled The Rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist.
Individuals with marketing and technology skillsets may find themselves in greater demand and with a larger role to play in how marketing strategies are created and implemented. The need for these skills could be widespread in many functional areas, including analytics, mobile and social.
Although marketers are increasingly using digital tools for functions ranging from content management to social media scheduling, they are not always doing so effectively. This may be the result of programs being unable to communicate with each other.
Digital tools require integration for multichannel marketing efforts. According to a report by the marketing technology company Signal, 90% of marketers agree that connecting their tools would improve customer engagement. However, half of respondents said that some of their marketing technologies are either loosely integrated or not integrated.
The majority of marketing groups use a “Frankenstein’s monster of different toolsets to interact with customer data,” noted an April 2015 article in Venture Beat.
As new types of customer data become available, marketers may look to enterprise solutions, including cloud-based programs, to ease cross-channel marketing and integration.
A 2015 survey by recruiting company Harvey Nash and KPMG, a tax and audit advisory company, asked tech executives to rate the strength of the relationship between the IT department and other divisions of their organization.
The connection between IT and Marketing was viewed as the weakest, with just one-third of execs rating that interdepartmental relationship as “very strong.”
In addition, when asked which department owned the digital business strategy, nearly half of the executives reported it was shared by IT and Marketing.
Clearly, Marketing and IT departments must collaborate in order to fully leverage their respective capabilities. For example, integrating software and digital tools for multichannel marketing can likely be achieved only with IT and Marketing departments working hand-in-hand.
It is the role of the marketing technologist to ensure this is a well-structured and holistic process. These professionals need a combination of business expertise and leadership experience in order to facilitate and coordinate the efforts of internal and external stakeholders in executing digital marketing strategies.