Earlier this year I looked at why, if IT could not report to the CEO, then reporting to the Chief Marketing Officer makes good, if unconventional sense. Enter the July/August edition of Harvard Business Review and an article by Scott Brinker and Laura McLellan titled “The Rise of The Chief Marketing Technologist”. Their article draws on Gartner research and predictions and some of the statistics are remarkable, the most memorable being Gartner’s 2012 prediction that by 2017 the CMO will be spending more on technology than the CIO will. This is not necessarily dreamland when considering that digital marketing spending is experiencing double digit growth every year; CEO’s identify digital marketing as the most important technology powered investments their firm can make; e-commerce continues to rise rapidly; and the typical marketing supply chain of agencies, media outlets and industry researchers are embracing (and in many cases pioneered in many organisation) digital workflows.
The authors claim 81% of large companies now have a Chief Marketing Technologist reporting directly into the marketing organisation, with a (sometimes) dotted line to IT. Their role is to bridge the gap between IT and marketing, working with the senior marketing executives, selecting and working with 3rd party software and service providers, the general marketing team and the CIO/IT organisation.
When I originally penned questions about the future of internal IT departments around 10 years ago as part of my IT governance lectures, I identified many emerging challenges to the typical IT team such as automation, outsourcing and offshoring, increasingly user friendly applications, and the rapidly increasing IT savvy of others in the organisation especially the younger ‘digital natives’ as they filter through organisations into management. At the time my IT management peers (including a CIO round table I was a member of and presented this to) seemed unconcerned at these potential challenges. The rapid ascension of the marketing department as the dominant IT consumer in an organisation, is only now getting attention in the CIO press and senior IT circles, is it too late?
Brinker, S. & McLellan, L., 2014, The Rise of the Chief Marketing Officer, in Harvard Business Review, July-August 2014, p.83-85