You and the Intersection of Marketing and Technology
Historically, the thought that marketing and technology have anything in common is like comparing oil and water. After all, we’re talking about left brain versus right brain subject matter. In this article, I present a different mindset, and an introduction of the dual track professional.
One point I’d like to make clear up front: this article is not directed solely to marketing or technology people – this is targeted at executives in general, regardless of background and acumen. So please, clear your mind of all preconceived notions, and ask both sides of your brain to play nice together for just a few minutes.
Let’s begin with the why. Why should you care? Why is this important for me now? What’s in it for me?
A recent article from David Benady1 said “But ‘legacy’ businesses that need to undergo a digital transformation must decide who should lead that change. Should it be the chief information officer or the chief marketing officer or perhaps someone from a different department?” Yes, both of these individuals are critical and have key roles to play. However, I propose that the right answer is you – the executive. Your business’ marketing message is too important to leave up to the marketers. And your business’ technology strategy is too important to leave up to the technologists.
Thus, the time where a business leader wore only a management hat are over. Senior executives and leaders need to stop checking their marketing or technology brain at the door. It’s time to embrace a reasonable effort to wear multiple hats. I propose this shift in your thinking, planning, and execution will:
- Result in more confidence and clarity in your decisions.
- Provide additional tools to enhance your guidance of your company
- Ultimately increase your speed to marketing – i.e. Ship It (thanks Seth).
It is clear that our business environment has changed. Radically. Ashu Garg is a general partner at the venture capital firm Foundation Capital, and was recently quoted as saying “We expect technology spend by CMOs to increase 10x in 10 years, from $12 billion to $120 billion”. 2
Ashu describes a perfect storm of four key changes affecting marketing:
- There are effectively infinite media channels.
- Consumers are now in control — and they know it.
- Purchase behavior and process has shifted — the traditional funnel is less relevant.
- Consumers now demand evidence to support brand propositions. Fluff falls flat.
One of the catalysts of the brave new world is our dynamic new generation of Millennials. Net-a-Porter’s Lisa Bridgett1 said she was impressed by the millennial generation as they see no boundaries to what they can do. Marketers can come from many backgrounds: “I think the dexterity around the disciplines is fantastic,” she said. These flexible and multi-faceted professionals are our target customers as well as the future of our companies.
In order for executives and the companies we manage to compete at both a personal and a professional level, we need more professional depth. The time for putting our knowledge and expertise into silos and focusing on specialization is past. A new world of flexibility is already here. Become the bridge that connects disciplines.
To conclude, I challenge you to embrace other disciplines and understand what drives them. Understand their perspective, motivations, and challenges, but most of all, make sure you know how they define success.
Embrace this new world of data. Data can be overwhelming, but practice makes perfect. Read more, ask questions, and challenge both marketers and technologists to explain their concepts to you in language you can follow. Keep at it – there’s always more to learn (and that’s exciting!)
And last, challenge yourself to choose a secondary area of expertise in which you will engage – and get back to school!
Scott Capistrano is the President of Status Not Quo and Oddly Even Studios. He is an entrepreneurial leader possessing a multi-track background in Operations, Finance, and Technology, and a proven track record in objective focused management.
1 How technology is changing marketing
2 VC predicts marketing tech will grow 10X in 10 years