I recently read an article by Scott Brinker on his Chief Marketing Technologist blog entitled “Rise of the Marketing Technologist” which really caught my attention. In this article, he advocates Marketing Departments have someone on staff who Scott calls the “Chief Marketing Technologist” (CMT). Rather an adding another layer of management, this person would report to the Chief Marketing Officer and be the subject matter expert on the technical aspects of marketing. The CMT would be a technically-minded marketer who would coordinate with IT on matters where collaboration is needed, but mostly be responsible for helping Marketing harness online and other technical resources to further their aims.
Scott rightly points out that IT and Marketing have very distinct missions and goals and thus have differing priorities. By having a technical person on staff, Marketing can move much faster with online initiatives where direct IT support is not needed.
The CMT …
- … is in on Marketing’s plans from the outset and throughout any campaigns.
- … helps the marketing team make strategic and tactical decisions on which technologies would be appropriate for a given project/campaign.
- … evaluates what in-house resources are available and needed.
- … moves forward with implementation of plans when they are made.
The CMT would only call on IT for those things which they need to directly support, and coordinate for outside technical resources as needed. Because the CMT goes through this screening process at the outset of projects Marketing gets their stuff done quickly and efficiently, and IT has more time to devote to their missions because they don’t get involved until they are truly needed.
My Thoughts On This
Last October, I posted an article, “Communication is Key – The Funnel Effect” where I recommended that when Marketing and IT Departments work on a collaborative project, each department should appoint a point of contact person who would take all communication from their counterpart and distribute as needed. All communication between the departments would funnel through these people in order to better track the messages going back and forth. Rather than this becoming a new bureaucracy, I looked at this system as a way to avoid lost and duplicate communication. (Note: since then I’ve used Google Wave as a tool for communication on collaborative projects. It’s worked quite well and may eliminate the need for this communications “funnel.”)
Expanding on Scott’s idea, the person on the Marketing end of this type of collaboration could very well be the CMT. This would be the person who would speak IT’s language, as it were, and know best what they need to be given in order to successfully complete the project.
Also, right around that time, I posted an article entitled “Agile Teams” where I described how small teams could be pieced together using personnel from the Marketing and IT Departments to work on short-term projects. I suggested it might even be a good idea to temporarily move these people into an office space together to facilitate faster completion times. A person who could very likely lead such a team would be the CMT.
Scott has some brilliant ideas on his Chief Marketing Technologist blog. If you are a technically-minded marketing person or a marketing-minded technology person I think you will get a lot out of his writing.