Prior to starting an online marketing agency in the mid-2000s, I was a business strategist, first for one of the top consulting firms, and then later for a smaller, more focused company. My grounding is in business intelligence but my heart has always been in marketing. Well over a decade ago, I worked with Fortune 50 companies, and what my company brought to them was a unified blend of technologists and business strategists. The value of this was that there’d be no strategy developed that was not technologically feasible, and that technologists, once understanding the business strategy, would be able to suggest new technology solutions that wouldn’t have come to mind had we followed the then-common linear process of strategy first, technology solutions second.
That approach really resonated with me. And, as we worked with some of the world’s largest companies on technology-based solutions, I saw the fruitfulness in action. I came with this mindset when I started DirectiveGroup.
However, I believe the time has come that no company can any longer consider it optional to have marketing and technology marry, in some form or fashion. Consider these reasons:
- Growth. Big Growth. Market Domination. Amazon, who’s led the world in leveraging technology to deliver on marketing strategies, closed 2013 with revenues of over $74 BILLION dollars, and captured just about 30% of all ecommerce dollars spent in the US. This company started out as a bookstore. It was the first company to receive a patent on a technology-supported process (One Click Check Out) – that was heavily challenged but not overturned – and they have never looked back. Amazon would have been a pipe dream without the marrying of technology and marketing to achieve business goals. If you aspire to be the category killer in your industry – and this is still VERY possible for many industries – you must immediately put in place a role that marries these two functions.
- Data Extraction & Plow Back of Learnings. Not to continue referencing Amazon, but they are probably the reason we are all hearing about ‘Big Data’ these days. Years ago, you used to hear about Walmart’s massive data centers that (supposedly) had “more data than the US government.” Quietly, Amazon entered the scene. Driven from this incredibly telling perspective that, “Amazon was in the business of helping customers buy books not in the business of selling books,” Amazon gathered an incredible amount of data on every movement of every customer and prospective customers, from links clicked to purchases made to reviews read. And they married it with their marketing efforts, plowing back what they learned into their operations. If you aspire to gather meaningful data and then to maximize the value of that data, you will definitely need to marry technology with marketing to achieve your objectives.
- Integration of Customer Digital Experiences. One thing is certain: there will continue to be growth in ways you can interact with customers and prospective customers across the digital realm. From the early stages of attracting attention for initial consideration, all the way through the customer purchase cycle, to support of existing customers, the options for touching them will continue to broaden. If you are interested in an agile response to rising opportunities that match your customer needs, you will need to marry technology and marketing. Whether you will create a game to teach customers how to use your product, or create a dealer portal that actually assists and speed ups the purchase process, or simply want an effective method of channel attribution, marrying marketing and technology will enable you to leapfrog efforts of others driven by technologists or driven by marketers.
Bottom line, in this day and age, if you intend to be a company to contend with in your industry, you will find yourself needing to develop a way to closely integrate marketing and technology. Call the role a marketing technologist, call it a technology marketer, this will be a critical position within your company. Reporting directly into senior management will communicate the importance and fast track the payoff. And, if you are looking for just the right partner to move you through the early stages as you grow this capability, call us. This is what we do.