Is the C-Suite disillusioned about marketing’s handle on technology?
Recent surveys suggest business leaders have a low opinion on the marketing org's technical competence.
A few weeks ago, Rackspace Technology published the results of a survey suggesting that business leaders thought that CMOs ranked almost at the bottom of C-Suite roles when it came to understanding technology (CROs did worse). Recently, the CMO Council followed up with their C-Suite Scorecard, and when they asked business leaders to identify leadership gaps in their marketing organization, 42% pointed to modernization of organization, systems and operation, while 40% called out the absence of technically savvy managers in key roles.
That makes for some painful reading. Scott Brinker discussed the two surveys here, and also started an online conversation about the findings.
The chatter. B2B specialist Karin Schaff drew a distinction between modernization and technology: “You can modernize your martech stack all day long and spend gobs of time and money on doing so. However, if you don’t understand why you’re modernizing and how technology plays a part to further the organization’s growth, you’re simply doing just that… spending gobs of time and money with little value as a result. Modernizing means being mindful of why you’re doing it and how best to go about getting to that next level of maturity — that could mean technology, people, processes, communication, etc. Most of the time, it’s a combination of those and more. To say modernization of Marketing is about technology alone is like saying digital transformation is only about technology.”
Consultant P.R. Smith obsered, “Seems to me that C-Suite do not appreciate Marketing, or Marketing Directors have not presented boards with enough data driven results and projections.” Dave Nixon of Denodo had a gloomy take. Marketing’s resistance to working with IT has left it isolated, he said. “Many years of managing the marketing process using single-point applications, lack of automation and niche technologies has made this domain impossible to own. Now coupled with the sudden realization that this isn’t just about the channels as much as it is about unifying the data to put it to work has made this worse.”
And Onur Polat of Channable tried turning the tables: “What do we think about the rest of the C-Suite? :)”
Why we care. Perception isn’t everything, but it’s important. If a consensus is developing that the marketing organization doesn’t really know what it’s doing with all its shiny toys, and doesn’t really understand technology, that’s bad news. Of course, having access to SaaS tools has made IT’s involvement less necessary, and many would say that’s not a bad thing given the fast pace of change.
But if this is a real problem, what’s the answer. More responsibility in the hands of the Operations teams? Lowered expectations about how much marketers themselves should be involved in technology? Of course, the no-code movement is pushing in the opposite direction. There’s a lot still to unfold here.