Familiarity with marketing technologies is a must for today’s CMO. However, the range of tech knowledge across CMOs varies widely. Even if every CMO can benefit from some technical familiarity, the reality is that some CMOs know very little about technology while others know more than they will ever need to in order to fulfill their responsibilities. Wherever you happen to sit on the tech knowledge spectrum, it can be helpful to have a roadmap on where your level of proficiency and understanding should be headed. With the right approach to marketing technology management fundamentals, you can ensure that you are best equipped to help guide your company towards its objectives.
If you have been a CMO for very long, you have seen how dramatically your responsibilities have changed in recent years. Where you once focused primarily on building your brand, advertising and customer engagement, today you juggle those responsibilities with embracing and leveraging a range of technologies and platforms. The rate of change is only increasing, so it is understandable that many CMOs feel a bit overwhelmed sometimes. Fortunately, there are key areas that you can focus on when it comes to marketing technology. By leaning into the right areas, you can ensure that your expertise and management efforts are focused where they will do the most good for your company.
The marketing technologies your company utilizes come together to form what is referred to as a stack. The way you approach the stack—both the existing tools you are using and the adoption of new tools—is a major part of how you manage the tech side of your role. You can be actively involved in initiatives related to marketing technology by:
Key focus areas should include:
Ensuring Stack Strategy is Based on Marketing Objectives
There are a seemingly endless number of marketing technologies now available—all of them promising to transform the way you do business. But most of those tools are not ideal for helping you achieve your concrete marketing objectives. Those objectives, based off of the objectives of your business, should guide how you organize your stack. By making sure that technology serves to achieve specific objectives, and is not just a solution looking for a problem, you can streamline your technology usage.
Regularly Measuring the Performance of the Stack
When you adopt new technology, it is important to determine what metric you will use to determine if it is serving the needs of your company. With metrics in mind, you can set regular review sessions to analyze how each technology is performing. You can determine which products are working as expected, which are not working as expected, and which are working even better than expected. With measurements in hand, it becomes much easier to decide how you will move forward with each technology—and which you will eliminate.
Keep an Eye Out for Bloat in the Stack
A regular performance review will help you avoid the bloat that is so common with marketing technology stacks. You and your team can check to see which programs are being utilized and how well they are being used. You may discover that some tools are not being fully leveraged, while others may actually overlap in functionality with other tools. Your team can determine how to get the most out of what you are already using while also eliminating as much overlap as possible. Ideally, you want to use as few technology tools as possible but use the ones you do have as fully as possible. You can develop a lean stack that gets the job done without creating drag.
Create a Clear Data Strategy
There is plenty of data at your fingertips with today’s technologies. But it is not enough to have data coming at you and your team. You need to have a clear strategy on what data to collect, how to collect it and how to process it. The assistance of the IT department can come in handy here, as they should be able to work with you to develop and implement a strategy based on your marketing objectives.
The way you and your company handle the technology stack will be based on the resources you have available. Some companies have numerous departments that can split up the work, while others only have a few people who need to devote themselves fully to the task. What is important is that you and your team define responsibilities. Once everyone knows what they need to do, it is much easier to ensure that everything that needs to be done is done.
As a CMO, you can help your company achieve its objectives by utilizing technology. You do not have to be an expert in every technology you use; you simply need to know where to focus your efforts to achieve maximum effectiveness.