In the world of professional marketing, time is typically one of the most limited resources. From customer meetings, sales enablement to competitive analysis, creating messaging and positioning, there’s no end to what a marketer can spend their time and energy on. But in the last 10 years, as marketing has moved to increasingly digital channels, our world has exploded into a tidal wave of technology. Platforms for marketing automation and a variety of other online marketing tools are becoming key revenue drivers for companies. Which recently prompted Gartner to make a very controversial prediction: By 2017, the CMO would out-spend the CIO on technology!
Regardless of which side you fall on in that discussion, there’s no doubt that digital technology and channels are disrupting the way marketers engage and qualify prospects whether you’re talking about the B2B or B2C world. And as professional marketers rely on increasingly digital campaigns, it requires a whole new skill-set that not all marketers are prepared to master. Nor do they necessarily have the time to master! Given all the day-to-day activities and full calendars marketers typically have, how in the world are we supposed to keep up with the quickly evolving technology landscape?
chiefmartec.com, a marketing technology blog has a fantastic graphic illustrating the diversity and breadth of vendors out there in this discipline. By Scott Brinker’s estimation (marketing technology blogger), there are over 1,800+ vendors in 43 categories, which is absolutely breath-taking. With the rapid growth of the marketing technology business (IDC estimates 12% CAGR growth and a $30 billion plus marketing technology industry by 2018), the ecosystem of companies in this technology segment range from big-hitters like Oracle, Salesforce.com, Adobe and Teradata to small start-ups.
And how does that busy professional marketer know where to even start when evaluating or learning about today’s B2B digital marketing? Especially when they’re already up to their neck in work and meetings?! That’s a fantastic question but I do think this widening gap between marketing tools and the expertise to understand and utilize them presents vendors a fantastic opportunity to educate their future customers. Hubspot and Marketo have already jumped in heavily on content marketing initiatives to educate and train their marketing audiences on the best digital marketing practices today. It’s the right thing to do for their customers and also the right thing to do for their organizations. Without the necessary digital expertise you may wind up in a marketing dead-end, see Adobe’s take on the marketing dilemma below!
And while this tidal wave of technology can be intimidating, professional marketers willing to get on top and ride this technology wave are positioning themselves, their careers and their organizations for the future. Even if you’re not a master of marketing automation or online marketing tools, you really need to understand the basics of how they can streamline and provide better decision-making in your marketing campaigns and strategies. And that is a requirement for everyone from the individual contributor to the CMO. Because while there are still questions as to whether the CMO will outspend the CIO in 2017, there is absolutely NO doubt that online and digital marketing will only increase its impact on the marketing profession for years to come…