CMO 2.0 – Making IT Decisions with a Marketing Brain
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CMO 2.0 – Making IT Decisions with a Marketing Brain

The marketing technology landscape is growing. According to’s 2016 report, the number of marketing technology platforms has doubled for the third straight year in a row to 3,874.

As marketing automation and social media management platforms become wide-spread in use and popularity, the responsibilities of a marketing manager are no longer just conveying a branding message. Now they have to be fast learners and adapters of technology. Suddenly, CMOs are making decisions usually left to an IT department.

As this transition to a future where every marketer also knows a great deal about technology, software and different tools continues, there will need to be a shift in thinking. A marketer—who usually has a business-oriented or creative brain—now needs to think like a CIO.

Marketing Technology Breakdown

A recent study revealed that not only are marketing managers making IT decisions, but 66% of professionals prefer it this way. The types of technology noted in this study include 83% of respondents using content management systems, 77% using an analytics platform and 62% using a customer relationship management tool.

With 19% of marketing managers also running the platform and channel integration, the line between marketing and IT is becoming less and less clear. However, as marketers are forced to make more technology decisions, there is more confusion about what makes a good IT decision and clear ROI. Marketers are not accustomed to making decisions that affect a network’s infrastructure or depend on the functionality of technology. They are used to only choosing tools based on how well they perform a marketing task and bring in more revenue.


The necessity for marketers to think like an IT professional isn’t going to be diminished. If anything, as technology becomes more complex and important to business operations, marketers will need to be well versed in how to make IT choices.

Collaborative Decisions

Marketers must keep the following things in mind to get better at making business IT decisions:

  • Compatibility: Adequate marketing technology must be compatible with a company’s network. If the company depends on remote VPN access and has many mobile workers, a MAP or any other technology must be mobile capable.
  • Ease of Use: The ability to train any employee on a technology and get them using it immediately is a crucial feature to deploy any tool across a company.
  • Support: If a marketer is truly unsure about the IT decisions they are making, a reliable feature to fall back on is support. If a marketing technology has an excellent support department, you can depend on a partnership with the provider to help you implement and make sense of it all.

These are just a few of the things IT professionals consider when choosing a new tool that marketers should also let guide them. However, better than just thinking like IT, is to work alongside them. More than half of all marketers call their working relationship with an IT department “collaborative.” Sharing insights and responsibilities only enhances a company’s investment in technology and its effect on overall success.

Have you found technology creeping into your job more and more? What is your relationship with IT like?

Cover image via @Neil Conway

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