The traditional head of marketing has been facing a changing landscape over the past few years. The information age already put the role through a tailspin and now the era of ‘Big Data’ means that marketing specialists are expected to manage an influx of data and tech on a scale that they probably never saw coming. This data-driven marketing strategy is pretty much par for the course these days – so what does that mean for traditional marketers?

CMO: Shrinking Role or More Important Than Ever?

Industry experts are torn over whether the era of Big Data is making the role of Chief Marketing Officer completely redundant or its creating more need for this title than ever before. A DataXU report claims that 70% of UK marketers predict that this role is going to continue to grow while 35% claim that the CMO role will be replaced by the new position of Chief Marketing Technologist over the next 5 years.

There’s no arguing that marketing is quickly becoming a technology-dependent department. Even three years ago, Gartner predicted that by 2017 the Chief Marketing Officer would be spending more on tech than the Chief Information Officer was. But the question remains whether this shift is going to require a lateral change in thought for Chief Marketing Officers or whether the entirely new role of Chief Marketing Technologist is going to usurp that spot altogether.

How the CMT is Aligning Marketing and Tech

Basically, the new title of CMT has come about as a way to align marketing technology with business goals. The person in this position needs to serve as a liaison to IT in a way that old ad execs would have scoffed at. They also need to craft new digital business models to keep up with the advances of digital marketing and the constant need to analyze content performance. Basically, they are creating a technology vision for a company’s marketing and need to have the ability to work across the company with inter-developmental agility and stealth to stay competitive.puzzle pieces falling

The growth of budgets for digital marketing isn’t just a reflection of the switchover from traditional to digital media, though. A huge portion of marketing budgets are now being allocated to technology itself. So understandably the need for adequate management of all this technology is growing along with it. The answer isn’t simply for a company to separate marketing and technology down the middle so that leaves us with a growing need for marketing gurus who can holistically work with technology. For marketers, being proficient with new software technologies and the technical facets of agency and service provider relationships elevates you to a god-like status.

Who are the Candidates?

This is a rapidly growing field that companies are going to be recruiting for and compensating in a pretty fantastic way. The CMT’s job is basically to encompass the roles of the chief information officer, chief technology officer, and chief marketing officer – this person needs to have technical depth, such as a background in IT management or software development, but also be creative and passionate about marketing. This might be someone with a degree in computer science and a graduate degrees in business. Or maybe someone with experience in digital agencies building customer-facing apps or websites.

The job of the CMT won’t replace the marketing department. Rather, it is becoming the bridge between marketing and tech as well as connecting these areas to other senior execs. There has long been a division between the key stakeholders in companies and it’s exciting to see how these changing dynamics are going to affect the way marketing happens in an organization. The world is demanding that creative types embrace technology in new and inventive ways and the better we get at this the more opportunities we’ll have to reach and engage customers across physical and virtual worlds.