The Question Every CMO Should Be Able to Answer: Do You Have a Master Marketing Technology Strategy?

hansen[1]In 2012, Gartner predicted that by 2017, CMOs would spend more on IT than their counterpart CIOs.  Since then, we’ve seen a significant increase in the consumption and deployment of marketing technologies, by marketers. With that sharp increase, however, come a number of important questions: Do CMOs know the ROI of their marketing technology spend? Do they have a unified marketing data strategy that enables data sharing and enrichment? And finally, is their investment paying off?

The CMO Council, in conjunction with Tealium, recently released a survey based on feedback from 150 senior marketers in North America. The study, titled ‘Quantify How Well You Unify,’ found strong links to suggest that improved business and marketing performance are directly related to having a formal roadmap for digital marketing technology acquisition, integration, and data unification.

What exactly is data unification?

Data unification provides the foundation for a unified marketing approach, and brings together all marketing efforts, across all channels and vendors, both online and offline.  It provides CMOs with a holistic, yet granular, view of the marketing funnel, and shows redundancies, identifies gaps and measures the effectiveness of all of the touch points associated with each action or campaign. A unified marketing framework enables a more accurate measurement of marketing efforts, thereby allowing CMOs to optimize marketing budgets for maximum ROI.

What’s holding us back?

According to the survey, less than half (44 percent) of senior marketers have a formal marketing technology strategy. What’s more, just 16 percent of marketers report that their marketing technology strategy is tightly aligned to the business strategy.

There are many reasons why this may be the case. Most significantly, marketers have more options for marketing platforms, applications, and vendors than ever before. This overwhelming reality means that CMOs without deep knowledge of technology may be unaware of the urgency to unify their solutions and create a master plan that aligns well with their overall business goals. They may be spending more time trying to understand how each new technology works, rather than creating a measurable and actionable master plan and sourcing the right technology partners to execute on it.

What happens when a master plan is implemented?

A master marketing technology plan provides CMOs with a better insight into their cross-channel marketing efforts and how the technologies they just choose to invest in add value to the overall business. More specifically, if their marketing technologies are unified and talking to one another, marketers can adjust individual initiatives or larger campaigns to ultimately drive more conversions and sales.

According to the CMO Council survey, marketers with a formal marketing technology strategy contribute more to overall revenue and value creation. Those who integrate a technology strategy within their overall marketing strategy are able to achieve more personalized customer interactions across channels.

Where to start?

The first step is for a CMO to take control of the situation. The CMO has to be intimately involved in the technology strategy so that they can make sure it aligns to not only their marketing initiatives, but also the business goals they’ve set. And, the CMO must partner with their CIO or CTO counterparts to ensure the cross-departmental dependencies, data sharing requirements, and implementation strategies are deeply in synch.

The CMO Council survey highlights this point, and shows that CMOs who partner with their IT departments to manage and integrate technology are achieving measurable business and operational gains. Moreover, CMOs who own their marketing technology strategy have greater business impact than those who delegate within their organization or to IT.

Over time, CMOs should architect a comprehensive marketing technology strategy that fully integrates all marketing functions, data sources, and customer touch points. By being comprehensive in the strategy, CMOs are more likely to generate campaigns that help them accurately measure ROI and improve the company’s economics.  And, once implemented, a master marketing technologies plan can be the differentiating element that drives stronger impact, higher ROI, and overall company success.

Tracy Hansen is Chief Marketing Officer at Tealium. Tracy has more than 15 years of experience as a results-driven marketing executive in the computer storage, data management, and IT management software industries. Previously, Tracy served as the Senior Vice President of Marketing at CA Technologies (Nasdaq: CA), where she helped the company build a brand vision for its 30-year-old technology and redefine itself in the marketplace. Prior to that, she served as Vice President of Marketing for NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP), overseeing an award-winning marketing team and helping lead the company to a dominant market position. Between 2008-2011, Tracy was the Senior Director of Interactive Marketing at NetApp. Tracy received a B.A. in Communications from Mills College, and a M.A. in Technology & Professional Writing from Northeastern University.