CIO Straight Talk - Issue 4 - 47
"Marketing wasn't concerned about how much a system would cost or if it
was standardized or if it was completely bulletproof. What they cared about
was experimentation and innovation."
There's little question that the
marketing department is fast becoming the big spender of corporate IT
In the past few years, marketing
has been inundated by a sea of new
technologies. It's no longer a matter
of selecting the right CRM system or
web analytics provider. The marketing group has to implement bid
management, campaign management, marketing automation, social
media marketing, behavioral targeting, and conversion optimization -
to name just a few crucial activities.
Marketing is also managing
mobile apps, dynamic ads, landing
pages, and microsites. The marketing technology landscape is littered
with more than 350 companies, from
small start-ups to Fortune 500
giants, across 45 categories, from
agile management to video marketing.
All those technology decisions
are of strategic business importance.
There's just one problem: While
marketers are accountable for their
IT choices and for developing a
vision for what they need, they
usually lack the technical depth truly
to take charge. And relying on their
counterparts in IT to keep up with
technology changes and needs in the
marketing space has proven frustrating.
Now that IT and marketing
strategy are inextricably entwined,
Scott Brinker is a cofounder and
the CTO of ion interactive, a developer
products for online marketers, and
the author of the blog Chief
Marketing Technologist. He tweets
@chiefmartec. Scott can be
reached at email@example.com.
it's time for marketing to control its
technology destiny. A new role is
emerging: the Chief Marketing
maven, part skilled technologist, this
hybrid executive may be the most
critical hire for CMOs today.
The Bad Old Days
As the first generation of web
marketers had no capacity to implement them themselves. They had to
either turn to the IT department or
engage a third party. Marketing
would come up with ideas and throw
them over the wall to IT - or to an
outside agency - which would spec
out the work and bill them.
That was inherently problematic.
Because the people in marketing
lacked a fundamental understanding
of technology capabilities, these
efforts weren't as effective as they
could have been. Often what is
technically possible inspires what's
creatively possible. Meanwhile,
those in the IT department who
knew the technology inside and out
had little understanding of the
things that were valuable to marketing, like user experience. That lack of
cross-functional understanding led
The Largest Enterprise Software Market in History
Marketing technology, without a doubt, will grow to be the largest market
for enterprise software in corporate history. The scale will be
unprecedented. But will things shake out as they did with ERP - eventual
consolidation into a handful of enterprise packages that do everything
marketing needs? I don't think so.
A lot of people are making the case that a marketing software vendor
should bring all these applications together. And that would, it's true, seem
to make life much easier.
But the marketing environment is in tremendous ﬂux. If you have one
huge application that tries to cover all the bases, the number of changes
you'd have to make across the system to keep up with market demand
would be untenable. The maintenance would be outrageous. It would be
difﬁcult for a big suite to keep pace with market forces.
Sure, there will be consolidation. And there will emerge some
backbone systems - a single content management system or CRM
system or customer record, for example.
But those will be continuously augmented by innovative point solutions.
And the makers of those backbone systems will pursue a more open
strategy that makes the experience much more plug-and-play. I think
they'll move to looser coupling, allowing these systems to share data
through well-deﬁned interfaces and enabling marketers to take advantage
of this ever expanding market of new applications.
51 CIO Straight Talk