The Rise of MarTech: Navigating the Intersection of Marketing and Technology

MarTech

The Rise of MarTech: Navigating the Intersection of Marketing and Technology

Is your organization struggling with the intersection of marketing and technology? If so, you’re not alone — marketers everywhere are.

There is a crisis in boardrooms and offices around the world: who owns marketing technology? Is it the CIO or CTO, who doesn’t always understand how data is utilized by the marketing teams or best practices to provide an exceptional customer experience? Is it the CMO, who is struggling to stay abreast of how all the various tech options fit together — and managing complex projects while staying on top of marketing initiatives? Or are these professionals working to bring their teams together into a new hybrid that is still being defined? Welcome to the rise of MarTech: where marketing and technology intersect. It’s not always a pretty landscape, but many organizations are navigating through this season of change within the business.

Marketers Love Their Technology

Marketers are generally a creative bunch and are increasingly engaged with the selection of tech, especially as it relates to their specific job functions. Today’s data-driven CMOs are looking for ways to measure their advertising spend, analyze their marketing program results and create timely and relevant messages for their audience. This requires a great deal of integration between the trifecta of communications infrastructure: marketing automation, website CMS (content management systems) and CRM (customer relationship management) solutions. Some smaller organizations are able to utilize a single system for several of these functions, but there is still a level of complexity involved in scoping functionality, acquiring trusted vendors, creating timelines and ultimately approving the user stories and processes. Enter the IT team.

IT Teams Want to Retain Control

Marketers love their data, but IT teams have historically retained control of everything database-related. This tension is an ongoing one, and one that can cause frustration on both sides of the spectrum. Marketers are constantly driven by a need for change and finding the best possible solution for their business needs while technologists tend to take a more sedate path to find a solution. This can cause marketers to go off the reservation and create an unruly tangle of solutions that not only don’t work well together — they often don’t work at all, and might be a security risk besides! It’s incredibly challenging to keep track of the volume of change in the MarTech world, as new platforms are cropping up on a daily basis. In fact, it’s so convoluted that ChiefMarTech.com puts out an annual supergraphic of what it calls the “MarTech 5000“. The 2019 edition has a note showing that the completely illegible list is now made up of over 7,040 entrants in a range of sections broken down into:

  • Advertising & Promotion
  • Content & Experience
  • Social & Relationships
  • Commerce & Sales
  • Data
  • Management

Oddly enough, data and management are two of the smallest buckets but ones that likely contain some of the most powerful tools in marketing — or technology.

Managing Disruption

“Marketers are being asked to do more with less and so they buy into the digital hallucinates that are out there,” according to Former Commonwealth Bank and Foxtel chief marketing officer Andy Lark. There are hundreds of businesses selling little more than “smoke and mirrors” instead of digging deep into the reasons that MarTech can work for the business. This means looking at the core business and marketing functionalities that are needed, a place where IT professionals and marketers can come together as they’re defining requirements instead of waiting for salespeople to come to them. No matter how easy technology salespeople say it is to manage these massive MarTech systems, there are still technical requirements that will end up either back in the hands of your IT department or with marketers needing the ongoing support of external technical staff. Either of these solutions can cause disruption to the business, which is why it’s critical that marketing and technology teams work in lockstep to determine which — if any — new platforms are implemented in the near future.

Even adding a simple module to SalesForce, Adobe or Oracle can have unintended consequences, especially when it comes to data privacy and security — a top concern for IT and marketing alike. The recent spate of legislation around privacy reminds senior leadership that this must be kept top of mind and managed actively. That can be difficult if organizations are saddled with a makeshift raft of platforms that float together well as long as the waters are not bumpy. When you need to track the specific actions of individuals through various systems, IT pros and marketers alike will be reminded that sometimes “less is more” when it comes to new systems and integrations.

What Is The CMO’s Role In IT For 2020 And Beyond?

CMO Technician

The role of the CMO has changed dramatically in recent years, and the push for more integration of marketing and technology shows no signs of stopping. With 2020 just around the corner, it is worthwhile to look more closely at how CMOs are doing their jobs today—and what the future holds for those serving as chief marketing officers.

The lines between marketing and IT continue to blur, which means CMOs and CIOs are going to be getting closer and closer as time goes on. By integrating areas of expertise when necessary, CMOs and CIOs can both benefit from the changes that are coming in the future. Each will still need to be the best at what they do, but CMOs can certainly learn from their interactions with CIOs and vice versa.

Change is a Part of the Job for CMOs

It was not that long ago that CMOs focused exclusively on marketing. They were tasked with developing advertising campaigns, connecting with customers and establishing brands. The evidence of their effectiveness in these areas is all around—just look at the many brands that are household names. But in the past decade, information technology has moved along at a rapid clip and become incorporated in the public landscape in ways that no one would have predicted 30 years ago. Big data, AI, social media—the world has changed significantly, and the role of the CMO has had to change along with it.

Today, CMOs are as involved in technology as they are in marketing. They really do not have a choice in the matter. The way that companies interact with their customers is dictated by a variety of ubiquitous technology platforms that seem to be here to stay. And even if the big players today fail to hold their top positions, it is almost certain that others will move in to fill in the gaps. The end result is that technology is just a part of life for most people—and those people are the customers that CMOs need to reach. Doing so will likely always require a deft touch with technology from now on.

Developing a CMO/CIO Relationship for the Future

Just a few decades ago, the main interactions between CMOs and CIOs centered on very specific needs. Fixing computers, installing software, handling antivirus programs—when the marketing team had tech issues with their hardware or software, they got help from the IT department. It was unlikely that the CMO and CIO would hang out and talk about marketing technology strategy because the marketing technologies that were available were few and far between.

Now, though, CMOs need the help of CIOs for a large portion of their work. CMOs need to leverage tech to reach customers and establish branding, and CIOs are still the leaders in the technology sphere for businesses. While CMOs can gain some substantial proficiency with marketing technology or martech, they are unlikely to be as technologically proficient as CIOs. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, CMOs look to CIOs to help them take full advantage of the technology tools at their disposal.

The developing of a close working relationship between CMOs and CIOs is going to be a major pillar of the business world in 2020 and beyond. While each executive will have their own sphere of responsibilities and expectations, those spheres will overlap in significant ways. Both need the business to succeed, and both need each other to make that happen.

What CMOs Will Be Doing in 2020 and Beyond

CMOs in the coming years are going to be tasked with performing the responsibilities of a marketing leader while also leveraging whatever technologies are available to achieve optimal results. If that sounds like a lot to take on for one person, that’s because it is. This is why CMOs are not going to be going it alone like they may have once done. They are going to require the assistance of skilled professionals who know how to provide the support necessary to achieve company objectives.

In practice, the role the CMO will play will be one founded in collaboration. The CMO will have company objectives to achieve and marketing objectives that will dictate the actions of the department. Making progress towards those objectives will require using various technologies to gather data, analyze data, communicate with customers, and predict future trends and more. Choosing which tech to use and how to use it to achieve business objectives is where the insight of CIOs will prove pivotal, which is why CMOs will be cooperating with CIOs regularly.

One of the most exciting developments for both CMOs and CIOs will be the development of cross-department expertise on both sides of the relationship. CMOs will know more about how CIOs think and what they need, while CIOs will gain a clearer understanding of how to help CMOs achieve marketing objectives. Eventually, each will be able to offer suggestions and insights that might never have developed without working together regularly. CMOs and CIOs are likely to become greater than the sum of each position, which could bring about even more substantial changes in how businesses operate and interact with consumers.

Is The CMO Responsible For Digital Technology Decisions?

CMO Technology Decisions

All businesses today are faced with numerous technology decisions. The rapid rate of tech development and adoption has led to some truly remarkable transformations in the business landscape—and in the responsibilities, various professionals are expected to perform. CMOs are no exception. In fact, if you have been a CMO for very long, you have likely seen your list of responsibilities grow as new tech has arrived. It is precisely because you are expected to leverage marketing technologies to achieve business objectives that you need to participate in the decision-making process regarding digital technologies. Your perspective is vital to ensure that your company chooses the right technology and gets the maximum benefit from that technology once it is incorporated.

Why the CMO Needs to Be Involved in Technology Decisions

As the chief marketing officer, your main responsibilities are focused in the marketing segment of your business. Once, your role would have centered on building the brand, engaging customers and advertising. Now, you are still expected to ensure that these areas are seen to. But you are also expected to maximize your effectiveness by utilizing all the technology tools available to you. Your engagement with marketing technologies and your familiar with the marketing and business objectives of your company make you a unique, knowledgeable voice in the digital technology decision-making process. You do not necessarily have to be solely responsible for those decisions, but you do need to play a major role.

When deciding how heavily you should be involved in tech decisions, you can ask yourself two questions:

Does the technology decision have anything to do with marketing?

There are plenty of technology decisions that do not involve marketing. The IT department in your organization and the CIO, in particular, make tech-related decisions every day, many of which have nothing to do with the marketing department. From servers to power supplies, password resets to OS installs, the IT team has plenty on its plate that falls squarely within the realm of technology. It would be a waste of your time and of theirs if you were involved in decisions that did not relate to your field of expertise.

Of course, there is an increasing number of technology decisions that do involve marketing or affect marketing. The spending on marketing technologies is expanding at a rapid rate across most businesses because it offers so many possibilities and is often required to remain competitive. Any technology decisions that relate to customer engagement, customer data, advertising, or anything to do with marketing or achieving marketing objectives should have your input.

Does the technology decision have anything to do with customer interaction?

Customer interaction does fall under the marketing umbrella, but it has become more of its own area as companies have embraced social media platforms and CRM technology. Your company needs to collect customer data and it needs to maintain a constant presence for customers, all of which can benefit from the deft touch of marketing professionals. You can help other decision-makers understand what works and what does not when it comes to engaging customers and keeping them engaged.

Make Your Job Easier by Partnering with the CIO

As fast as you can learn marketing technologies and incorporate them into your business, there will always be a lot you do not know. When approaching such a massive subject as digital technologies, it makes sense to combine your abilities with others in your organization to ensure the best possible results. The CIO is the perfect partner in your efforts. While you focus on achieving marketing objectives, the CIO can focus on ensuring that the technology your business uses to achieve those objectives is functional and that nothing slips through the cracks. The work of the CIO makes sure that all the marketing technologies you rely on are there when you need them.

Developing a relationship with the CIO benefits both of you in a myriad of ways. You can learn more about how the different technologies in your organization function and support one another—which allow you to make clearer decisions about what tech you want to use moving forward. By working with you, the CIO gets a better grasp of how you use technology to achieve marketing objectives. Ultimately, the CIO should be able to offer suggestions that would not have been possible without the familiarity gained by working hand in hand with the marketing department.

Choose Your Role in Technology Decisions

Every organization is unique and requires a customized approach to tech decisions. You are the best person to determine where your role fits within the framework of tech decisions for your company. It may be best for you to head the decisions, or it may be better to serve a support role. What is important is that you take firm steps into the realm of marketing technology and apply your marketing knowledge to the decision-making process. The business will benefit from it, and your role as CMO will only get more interesting and engaging as a result.

Does The CMO Have A Role In Technology Decisions?

Chief Marketing Officer and Information Technology

The role of CMOs has been changing rapidly in recent years with the introduction of numerous technologies. Social media platforms, CRM software and diverse multimedia channels all offer businesses remarkably effective tools for creating and maintaining a brand while connecting with customers in ways that were never before possible. While the increased pace of tech adoption among businesses has been startling enough on its own, for CMOs the need for taking on new roles and responsibilities has been equally surprising. CMOs are being forced to bridge marketing and tech to facilitate the success of their companies, leading to a greater range of obligations and opportunities for professionals who once focused solely on the standard roles of the chief marketing officer.

Fortunately, the increased need for CMOs to have a major role in technology decisions brings rewards and well as challenges. CMOs are able to accomplish more than ever and play a bigger part in how their companies operate. They also get the opportunity to form powerful relationships with CIOs to increase their ability to achieve the goals of their department and the goals of the company as a whole.

The Role of the CMO is Evolving

Until recently, being a good CMO meant creating effective advertisements and cultivating relationships with various individuals and groups like media partners and advertising agencies. While these tasks still pertain to the role of CMO, the responsibilities of the CMO have greatly expanded due to the incorporation of various technology tools. Market research, advertising and brand management are still major responsibilities, but they have become only part of the duties faced by today’s CMO.

Now, CMOs are challenged by social media, immense amounts of data, changing demographics among consumers and a seemingly endless number of channels and devices available for marketing purposes. Navigating through the proliferation of data and tech tools while still ensuring that the original responsibilities of the position are seen to is no easy task. Yet CMOs are doing just that. They are rising to the challenge presented by the shift in their roles and excelling.

One of the key ways that CMOs are adapting is by forming a closer relationship with CIOs.

The CMO and CIO Partnership

The marketing team today has more technology at its fingertips than ever before, and the availability of innovative technology tools is only expanding. While CMOs tend to learn how to use the tech tools they need to use relatively quickly, they are still marketing professionals—not tech professionals. They understand the importance of having an expert available to help unravel the complexities of the options they are faced with. That is why many CMOs are seeking to open up lines of communication with CIOs and ultimately to develop relationships with CIOs so they can work together on answering questions of technology, marketing and how the two connect in their particular business.

There are a lot of tech options available to CMOs now, which can make it difficult to determine which tool is the right fit. Marketers might be experts in advertising, but that does not mean that they are immune to the effects of it. CMOs take advantage of the knowledge of CIOs to clear away the promotional message and get to the heart of what a tool can or cannot accomplish, and whether it even makes sense to adopt the tool based on the business and its goals.

CIOs tend to have strong discipline when it comes to technology. They are used to being told that the latest technology tool will transform the way they do business. They know how to conduct the necessary research to uncover the reality of what is on offer. The insight they offer CMOs is invaluable when it comes to making technology decisions.

The Role of CMOs in Tech Decisions

Every company today can benefit from including CMOs in technology decisions. CMOs should not be forced to make the decisions on their own, however. The real winning strategy for businesses is to combine the expertise of the CMO and the CIO to make joint decisions on what is the best choice to help the business achieve its objectives. CMOs know how to seek those objectives from a marketing standpoint. CIOs know how to achieve the objectives from a technology standpoint. Working together, they can create something that is greater than the sum of its parts.

As CMOs and CIOs learn to work together, they can begin to anticipate the perspectives and needs of each other’s departments. The CMO will gradually grasp issues like compatibility with existing technologies, while the CIO will come to understand how the CMO works towards objectives through marketing strategies.

Moving forward, CMOs will serve as experts in Martech, or marketing technology. They will use what they learn through their own work and through their relationships with CIOs to gain a better grasp of what marketing technology has to offer and how to utilize the power of the tools at their disposal. They can play a major role in the technology decisions of their company and the company will benefit significantly from their input.

What The CMO Needs To Know About Marketing Technology

Marketing Technology

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.

Marketing Technology for the CMO—What You Need to Know

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:

  • Determining which technology is a priority
  • Helping with the creation of stack strategy
  • Conducting reviews of how the stack is performing
  • Creating a management structure where your team can fully leverage the available technology
  • Being aware of the company’s data strategy and actively contributing to its development

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.

Define Responsibilities

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.

Moving Forward

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.

Is The CMO Responsible For Digital Technology Decisions?

Marketing Technology

With the adoption of technology in the personal and commercial spheres ramping up to breakneck speed, the need for clear objectives for key business personnel like CMOs has never been greater. CMOs need to know what their responsibilities are. It may seem like a question with an obvious answer, but the reality of tech and business has made the answer much less clear than it once was. It can be argued that the role of the CMO has changed dramatically in recent years, far more than it has changed at any time since CMOs first came into existence. Marketing and tech are now inextricably interwoven and are unlikely to separate anytime in the foreseeable future.

Given the importance of tech in marketing and the necessity to make marketing efforts successful for the growth and maintenance of business, CMOs must be included in the decision-making process related to digital technology. When it comes to anything to do with marketing and customer engagement, including tech decisions, the CMO needs to be consulted. What tech a business uses, how it uses it and what changes need to be made—all of these choices should be made with the input of the CMO in today’s modern business.

Marketing and Tech—Ways Businesses are Investing in Technology

Saying that spending on marketing-related technology is increasing is an understatement at this point in time. In fact, the 1% of business spending that is common for marketing technology in the past few years is expected to grow to 10% by 2025. That is a huge increase, one that gives a clear indication of why key marketing decision makers, CMOs to be specific, are going to be much more involved in making tech decisions in the coming years. Some of the areas that are primary focuses for business spending today include:

CRM

CRM or customer relationship management software is drawing heavy investment from a wide range of industries because it offers an efficient way to manage and analyze the data produced from customer interactions. A single interaction might not tell a business too much about its overall market, but a thousand interactions do begin to paint a picture. When so many interactions are added up over the years, the potential for gaining important insights into how customers behave and react to the activities of a business is huge. CRM is an area where CMOs and CIOs can come together to learn an incredible amount of information about their market.

Digital Marketing

Marketing used to fall under the category of creative work much more than it did technical work, but modern tech has greatly blurred those boundaries. Marketing teams are engaging with consumers through a variety of digital platforms—with more and more platforms popping up regularly. Keeping up with the digital marketing options and what tools are effective at any given moment is a significant task, one that requires ongoing investment from businesses. Digital marketing is only expected to take a bigger piece of the marketing budget pie in the coming years. CMOs are the leaders of marketing for their perspective businesses. They certainly need the help of CIOs to implement their ideas, but in the end, it is the CMOs who are best equipped to choose a path forward in the marketing arena for businesses.

Marketing Automation

All the digital marketing opportunities available quickly create situations where human marketing teams cannot keep up with all the tasks on their plate. Marketing automation offers tools to automate many of the basic tasks that are required for businesses to keep their customers engaged and satisfied with their experiences. Automation can reach out to share new offerings from businesses, as well as react to actions performed by customers as they reach out to companies. Automated chat options on company websites are one example of how automation has grown increasingly prevalent and essentially required for businesses that want to stay on top of all the expectations that consumers have.

CMO Responsibilities for Digital Tech Decisions

Once it becomes clear how much marketing and technology are combined in today’s business environment, it becomes obvious that the role of the CMO must include participating in tech decisions. CMOs do not necessarily always have to be the leader in the decisions a company makes regarding its technology, but in most instances, they should be included in the decision-making process.

There are a few ways to determine if a tech decision requires the CMO, including:

  • Does it involve marketing? If the technology decision in question has anything to do with company branding, consumer interaction, or other marketing focus, the CMO most definitely needs to be involved.
  • Does it involve customer interaction? The marketing team specializes in creating and developing customer relationships. If the technology involves customer relationship management, the CMO needs to be involved.

There are technology decisions that may not need the input of the CMO, or at least they do not require the CMO to lead the way. For example, deciding which servers are best for the company does not involve marketing. It is clearly a hard tech decision, which is more appropriate for the CIO.

Ideally, CMOs and CIOs should be working together to make tech decisions for the company. The more they can work together and contribute their expertise, the better the company will be able to navigate the complex future of businesses and technology.

Can CMOs and CTOs Unite?

Learn about the importance of CTOs and CMOs uniting their efforts to create optimal outcomes for their companies. You can make business better by uniting.  

CMO and CTO Reunite

Considering the vital importance of digital touch points—including mobile and Web interactions—for the success of most businesses, there has never been a time where it was more necessary for CMOs and CTOs to unite. But what about the way things have been done for so many decades, with CMOs and CTOs occupying very different areas of the organization? Well, the times are changing, and it is up to business leaders to change along with them. It’s that or risk being left behind by the competition.

CMOs and CTOs Must Unite

Technology is the through-line that connects every aspect of today’s businesses, especially when it comes to management and the creation of content. Data is the foundation for all decisions in the modern business environment, which comes from the core technologies utilized by every organization. Leveraging technologies allow businesses to create content that is extremely personalized and therefore fulfills the needs of the target audience in ways that were not previously possible. According to Adobe, it is this highly personalized content, along with tech like AI, machine learning and more, that have become required in the modern world of business.

Powerful tools like the ones mentioned here are only fully utilized by combining the skills and knowledge of the CTO and CMO. The need for tech expertise is obvious since all of the most potent tools in marketing today are enriched or enabled by the latest technology innovations. But the need for marketing expertise is just as important to connect with the customer. Without a human touch and an understanding of what makes people trust a business, technology can only accomplish so much.

How Can CMOs and CTOs Combine Their Efforts?

Let’s explore some of the ways that CMOs and CTOs can work towards a united front when approaching company objectives:

Be equally accountable for the outcomes you are seeking for the company.

The CTO and CMO used to operate in individual silos that rarely overlapped. In those days it was understandable to treat the outcomes you were seeking as your own and to avoid taking on responsibility for the outcomes of other departments—especially departments that seemed to have so little to do with your own. But today it is more important than ever to share the responsibility for achieving company objectives. After all, you are in the same boat overall, and you want to make sure that boat experiences smooth sailing for the benefit of all parties.

Instead of saying, “That’s not my responsibility,” try discussing with your other stakeholders how you can contribute towards success. You may be surprised at the answers you get, and at how easily you can provide support.

Recognize the areas that you can help when developing the content management strategy for your business.

While you both need to be responsible for the outcomes sought by your company, you are only going to be most effective if you are certain where your strengths lie. For CMOs, you should be focused on utilizing your resources and expertise to manage communications, brand messaging and overall content strategies. The CMO understands the consumer better than the CTO and understands the way the consumer behaves. It only makes sense for the CMO to look to things like brand messaging and content strategy because of this knowledge.

In contrast, the CTO is best equipped to take control of analytics, delivery, and insights for the consumer. The CTO and the team underneath the CTO have the skills and reach necessary to yield the most effective results in these data-driven areas.

Learn to think like the other team from time to time.

While you definitely want to lean into your strengths, you still need to have a knack for clear communication and predicting what your peers will need in the business. In other words, you need to learn to think like a CMO or CTO, even if you are not one. No one will expect you to take over the other person’s position, of course. But the better you can get into the headspace of the other manager the better equipped you will be to cross-pollinate and predict the needs of others.

Not only does thinking like the other allow you to communicate and help each other better, but it also tends to lead to the kind of game-changing ideas that revolutionize the way your organization functions. The CMO can better understand and utilize the power of the tech available, while the CTO can become more aware of how marketing outcomes are achieved and the kind of information that could be most beneficial for marketing efforts can be better understood.

Open up lines of communication and foster their growth.

As with any new relationship, the first few conversations are often the hardest to get through. Typically, opening up the line of communication is a big effort, and keeping it open is not the easiest thing to do. But it is worth the effort. Realize that you both can greatly benefit from each other’s knowledge and that working together is the key to realizing the full potential of your business.

What Role Must The CMO Play In Technology Decisions?

CMO Technology

The role of the CMO has been evolving at a rapid pace in recent years due to the constant addition of new marketing technologies or martech. You only have to compare the tech budgets of marketing departments today to those five years ago to see a drastic increase in spending.

Companies know that they need to embrace and leverage the right martech to remain competitive, and they are willing to invest substantial sums to do so. That leaves companies and key decision makers with a challenging question: What kind of role should the CMO play in tech decisions? The answer depends on the industry vertical, but there is an overall trend that is worth paying attention to. With each passing year, CMOs are becoming more and more involved in tech decisions.

How Involved Should CMOs Be in Tech Decisions?

To understand the answer to this question, we need to look at a few different factors. These include:

The Changing Role of CMOs

The traditional CMO role was already filled with important decisions. Chief Marketing Officers have always been responsible for things like brand management, communications, campaigns and advertising. But today, with the rise of data-driven decisions—which offer more predictability and accuracy than opinions ever could—the role of the CMO has had to evolve to encompass more and more tech.

Consider the options for understanding the customer experience available to marketing teams today:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Big Data
  • Marketing Automation
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • And more…

Incorporating these tools into the company’s marketing mission requires a whole new skillset that includes customer service, data analysis, user experience (UX) and more. Of course, not all CMOs need to be experts in any one of these particular areas, but they do need to know how to manage and organize professionals who do understand these areas to fully realize the potential of their marketing efforts.

The Importance of Company Objectives

If you have recently found yourself feeling overwhelmed with the number of tech tools available, you have some idea of what it feels like to be a CMO in today’s tech-heavy environment. A visit to your favorite app store will give you the opportunity to pick from sometimes thousands of apps to accomplish the same goal, whatever that goal may be. And while the martech options available to CMOs are perhaps less numerous, they are also being pushed by sales people on a daily basis—so CMOs are being constantly bombarded with new “solutions” that are touted as the newest answer to common problems. Even more confusing, there are plenty of martech offerings that are more like solutions looking for problems than the other way around.

One of the key ways that CMOs can avoid overwhelm when it comes to martech is to always keep company objectives at the forefront of their minds. The company objectives can vary by organization, but most marketing organizations are focused on things like Market Presence, Revenue Growth and Efficiency. These goals can be more easily achieved using the right martech, but not all tech tools are going to offer significant benefit in the seeking of such goals.

Company objectives offer a guiding light in the complex world of martech. CMOs, above all others in the marketing organization, need to remain aware of company objectives and ensure that the tech budget is utilized as efficiently as possible—on technologies that will achieve measurable progress towards the achievement of the goals of the company.

CMOs Can Use Data to Drive Tech Decisions—Especially if They Ask Questions

One of the best ways CMOs can target the tech that is right for their organization is to utilize data in the decision making process. And that does not mean the CMO needs to be an expert in data analysis, either. They just need a team that can help them understand the data that they are looking at. Subjective decisions are not necessary—at least not in most cases—with the use of the right data.

The secret to utilizing data is to ask questions, as many questions as necessary to gain an understanding of what you are looking at. Over time, a CMO can come to understand quite complex concepts as he or she repeatedly comes into contact with them. But as with any new information, the fastest way to gain an understanding is to ask questions. It can be difficult at first for someone in a position of authority to admit that they do not know something right off the bat, but eventually asking questions becomes easy.

While it may not be apparent initially, employees will feel respect for the leader that is willing to admit a lack of understanding and ask for help. After all, the employee gains a sense of value when they can help higher-ups and the company as a whole with their knowledge.

CMOs Should Be an Integral Part of Tech Decisions

Ultimately, CMOs should strive to be an integral part of tech decisions in the company. They should work with their team, as well as with other key decision makers like the CIO and CTO, to guide the company in the right direction.

Will LinkedIn Phishing Threats Defeat The Popular Business Social Media Platform?

The career-centered social media network LinkedIn is the latest victim of phishing efforts on the part of cybercriminals—demonstrating that no organization, no matter how big, is immune to such threats. The phishing attacks are tailored to what LinkedIn users are most likely to be interested in and seek to obtain valuable information from victims. What makes these attacks most concerning from a business perspective is that many LinkedIn users are logging in with their corporate email accounts. When the cybercriminals succeed in getting the information they want, they can gain access to the information of not just the immediate victim, but the organization they work for as well.

Linkedin Security Issues

Cybercriminals Targeting LinkedIn Users

According to the Security Awareness Training company KnowBe4, a new wave of cybercrime is hitting the LinkedIn community to gain valuable corporate information. Cybercriminals are attempting to get employees to fall for phishing emails—emails that encourage recipients to click a link that leads to a request for confidential information.

The phishing emails are designed to appeal to the personal interests of the recipients, a common tactic with phishing attacks. The goal is to excite the recipient enough that they forget to be cautious. According to KnowBe4, the most popular type of phishing email is one that has LinkedIn in the subject line. Messages from LinkedIn are opened around 50% of the time, so it makes sense for the cybercriminals to use what is most likely to work. They know that around one in two users will open an email that appears to be from LinkedIn, so they tailor their phishing emails accordingly.

Particular Concern for Those with Business Responsibilities

When a phishing attack succeeds against an average person, their personal information and financial information is at risk. But when a phishing attack succeeds against someone who has responsibilities at a business, and therefore security access to protected information of the business, it can lead to damage that harms the business and all of its employees. No one deserves to be the victim of a phishing attack, but there are individuals who, if compromised, can deliver information that will harm more than just one person.

It is predictable that the ones that cybercriminals want most to fall for their LinkedIn phishing attacks are those with higher security clearance in businesses. They know that they could strike a gold mine if they get the right person, with the right information, to fall for one of their phishing emails. That is why they are so devious in the way that they construct their traps. They look closely at the areas of interest of their targets to ensure that they have the highest chance of success.

Areas Where Cybercriminals Focus on LinkedIn

Not just any phishing email will lead to a click from the reader. To get the desired result, cybercriminals must create the kind of emails that recipients are most likely to fall for. KnowBe4 actually conducted tests on LinkedIn to determine which types of emails recipients would click the most often. As mentioned earlier, the most successful phishing emails included LinkedIn in the subject line of the email. According to an article from ChannelFutures, once the recipient looked at the email, they were most likely to click on emails that had the following in the subject line:

  • Profile Views
  • New InMail Message
  • Join my network
  • Add me to your network

It makes sense that these subjects would attract the most clicks. They all indicate an interest in the recipient, specifically the kind of interest that could lead to an excellent networking opportunity. A desired employer or contact might have looked at their profile or sent them a message. Even better, they might have requested that the recipient become part of their network, or that the recipient allow them to become part of their network. All four subjects target those who are using LinkedIn to further their careers, which explains why they were so successful.

What Can LinkedIn and Users do to Fight the Problem?

For LinkedIn, the risk of phishing scams and cybercrime is and has always been present. As the company has grown, they have been well aware of the dangers that cybercrime poses to their business and their users. That is why, as with all other major social media platforms, LinkedIn has a dedicated team to identify cybercrime on their platform and to do what they can to fight it. However, there is a limit to what LinkedIn’s dedicated security team can accomplish on their own. Once a platform has millions of users, there will always be criminals who can slip through the cracks. LinkedIn will not be defeated by cybercriminals as a platform. However, the platform’s users do need to be aware of the risks they face.

For businesses, it is best to avoid relying on LinkedIn to keep them and their employees totally secure. Companies have to accept that from time to time, their employees will be targeted by cybercriminals. That is why employee awareness training is so necessary. Businesses must train employees to be aware of the risks of cybercrime, including phishing emails. If you are worried about your employees falling for a phishing scam, consider training them in the red flags of social engineering.

To learn more about cybercrime risks and how to avoid them, please contact our IT services team. We can help you protect your employees and your business.

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