What is a Marketing Technologist?

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Chances are, you’re already dealing with MarTech regularly on a day-to-day basis, even if you don’t realise it. Sending automated emails? MarTech. Maintaining a website? MarTech. Scheduling social? Yep, MarTech

While it’s well and good to invest heavily in marketing technology there’s not much point in having all the gear…and no idea.

The Global market for marketing technology and salestech is estimated to be worth $509.8bn. So, you'll have to get down with the times. Let's jump in. 

“I think the confusion and complexity and fear that people associate with navigating the marketing-tech ecosystem is really a proxy for their struggle with how to make sense of the new marketing environment.

Rethinking how a company will engage its audience and across what channels—that’s a far more daunting challenge than the technical infrastructure to execute on that vision.”

– Scott Brinker

Martech overload

While the most recent iteration of Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic might highlight “only” 27% year-on-year growth*, the 2018 report boasts a whopping 6,829 MarTech service providers – a staggering growth of over 4400% since its 2011 introduction. 

With vendors to help businesses with everything from optimisation, to bots, sales automation to programmatic advertising and everything in between, you’d be forgiven for being a little overwhelmed (and more than a little afraid). 

So, when it comes to deciding which of these technologies to include in your own marketing technology stack, and how to actually harness their power- where the heck do you start? 

As the ecosystem of marketing technology grows at an exponential rate, as it shifts, changes and evolves, it has become imperative to bridge the gap between tech and marketing. Moreover, it is proving ever-tricky to navigate through the broad scope of data, analytics, technology, strategy, consumer behaviour and formulate gripping audience journeys and robust marketing strategies. 

So, onto the main event. What is a marketing technologist? Well, it's easy if you think of a marketing technologist as the bridge between consumer experience and marketing operations. Making sure you utilise and intorduce effective marketing technology starts with understanding the changing consumer landscape, the growing channels, and why both these are happening. 

Companies need to change up their strategies and objectives based on insights from these areas. Then, they need to create the structures, in both people and tools, to support them. This involves deciding which channels and tech to use. This is where a marketing technologist comes in.

Holy marketing technology stack Batman.. now what?

Enter the marketing technologistBut who are they, and what do they do?

Simply put, a marketing technologist is like Batman (bear with me here). Armed with not only the latest and greatest gadgets, Batman has an innate understanding of how to use those gadgets for maximum effectiveness in the field.

Running with this example we might then compare IT to Alfred, a former intelligence agent* who is critical in the behind-the-scenes, and in the development and maintenance of Batman’s equipment.

Ok, stick with me as we draw one more parallel in the ‘Batman’ analogy. It could be said that your Marketing Officer is like Robin. Defined as a highly competent athlete, martial artist, detective, a fearless vigilante, Robin is a front lines bad ass.

gif of batman and robin running

While formidable in their own rights, there is a discernible gap between the specialisms of Alfred (IT) and the specialisms of Robin (marketing officer) – bridging the gap between the two specialisms is the remit of the marketing technologist.

Ok, marketing technologists as superheroes may be a tad hyperbolic – but it’s no exaggeration to say that modern marketing is becoming increasingly dependent on data and technology, giving rise to this new breed of marketing professional.

A marketing technologist serves a hybrid functionality, an individual who can speak both marketing and IT, translating their technical fluency into highly effective marketing campaigns, customer experiences and programs.

So, a marketing technologist is a technically skilled person who designs and operates tech solutions in the service of marketing. As we've clarified, this isn't about just embedding IT services within marketing. The best marketing technologists strive to understand the context of the tech. You wouldn't expect Batman to understand the mechanics of the grappling hook right? But by God, does he know how to use it to fight bad guys. 

Understanding ever-changing consumer patterns, looking for new ways to analyse the data and determining which technologies will most effectively leverage that new data is the core function of the marketing technologist.

Marketing technologists are passionate about reimagining what marketing can do in a digital world. They help nontechnical marketers craft the best campaigns they can, and develop great customer experiences, all by leveraging software and data.

They help manage new kinds of technical interfaces that marketing has with agencies and service providers - the API (or application programming interface) layer between them. 

This means marketing technologists are hybrids. And in a world of greater intersections between disciplines and functions, and the need to break out of legacy organisational silos, these types of positions work for real change. 

As marketing technologists have the ability to see both sides of the coin, they can:

  • Put into perspective the strategic needs of their company
  • Understand how to integrate martech tools (or have the context and insights to figure out how to do this)
  • Take into account the martech vendor's ability to support them
  • Ensure any new tools fit within the martech stack
  • Can match the right tools and uses with the needs that are clearly identified
  • Use their knowledge of the market to select the right service providers

What Does a Marketing Technologist Do?

What According to the "Godfather of Martech" Scott Brinker himself, there are four marketing technologist roles, each with its own responsibilities and skills. These are the:

  • Brand/Demand Builder (MARKETER) — a tech-savvy marketer who uses martech
  • Operations Orchestrator (MAESTRO) — a marketing technology and operations leader
  • Analytics Architect (MODELLER) — a marketing data and analytics specialist
  • Marketing Maker (MAKER) — a marketing developer who builds sites and apps

In fact, Scott recently saw an encouraging trend. More marketing technologists have been taking responsibility for data privacy and compliance reviews, up to a three-year high of 41%. 

The study also found a few interesting specifics on the nuances of each role:

  •  91.2% of “maestros” train and support marketing staff in using marketing technology products
  •  91.2% of “maestros” design and manage internal workflows and processes
  • Operations Orchestrators are the ones most likely to recommend martech tools (88%), approve their purchase (49%), negotiate with martech vendors (50%), and pay for martech products out of their budget (54%).
  • Operations managers work in project management tools (55%)
  • Analytics experts work in business intelligence (BI) tools (57%)
  • Makers/developers work in content management systems (54%)
  • Operations managers are wizards with spreadsheets (72%)
  • Analytics experts know SQL (53%) — and are the only ones who know R (20%)
  • Makers/developers know HTML/CSS (73%) and JavaScript (54%)
  • Marketers run campaigns (85%)
  • Operation managers run workflow and process (91%)
  • Analytics experts do data science (70%)
  • Makers/developers build sites and apps (46%)

Basically, it covers all aspects of our Periodic Table of MarTech and Marketing Operations! Check it out below:

MarTech & Marketing Ops Periodic Table

Download a large, high-resolution version of the MarTech & Marketing Ops Periodic Table by completing the form, here. 

But what are the challenges of the job?

The Challenges of a Marketing Technologist

Being a marketing technologist can be a tough job. The environment and consumers are constantly changing and shifting. 

On top of this, technology purchasing decisions can happen in siloed groups. marketing technologists can be tasked to centralise that, and have a check-and-balance process. Introducing that friction to bringing on tech is tricky, due to the added work and extra steps. So, marketing technologists must ask: “What are you trying to accomplish? What is this tool going to do that other things can’t already do?”

As we've mentioned tech and the role itself are constantly evolving. The ecosystem can be shaky and constantly moving. This means the role is difficult, as the individual must keep up with everything, including tech, marketing, and the market itself. The role itself will continue to evolve with the technology and the needs of companies.

They might not be fighting crime and saving the world, but the role of the marketing technologist is definitely helping redefine modern marketing and that’s gotta count for something, right?

*The landscape of marketing technology providers has seen exponential growth since Scott Brinker first unveiled his infographic in 2011 and while the increase in marketing technology providers from 2017 to 2018 may not seem as significant as past years, it’s worth noting the providers outlined in 2018 are the effectively the sum of all those listed from 2011 to 2016.   

Year

Companies / Solutions YoY Growth Growth Since 2011
2011 150 -  
2012 350 133% 133%
2013 - - -
2014 947 171% 531%
2015 1876 98% 1151%
2016 3874 107% 2483%
2017 5381 39% 3487%
2018 6829 27% 4453%

 

Plus, I'm sure you've heard of the martech skills gap. Let's have a look.

The Martech Skills Gap

If we think about martech maturity vs marketer tech skills maturity, you have to imagine it like this: one is wearing chinos in a wine bar, talking about taxes. The other is kicking the stuffing out of a lamppost outside the local Tesco's, and yelling about Roblox. 

With more than 65% of respondents rating their company or clients as subpar to standard in terms of people and teams, and their ability to deliver martech initiatives, it’s clear there is a lack of people skilled in data, technology and analytics. 

The Martech Skills Gap in 2021

The thing is 78% recognise that "having a large digital skills talent pool as essential to driving UK competitiveness on the global stage". So the skills gap poses a serious problem to productivity and success.

And although 72% of respondents surveyed viewing marketing talent as more essential than technology, the gap persists. 

According to Frans Riemersma, people with these skills can be hard to find:

Why? First, they combine marketing and technology skills. Second, they need to be business savvy, in the sense that they can structure processes, data, and technology to “follow the money”.

One solution to this challenge is to invest in the training needed to enable companies to make the most effective use of martech, and to ensure that budgets are invested in the right areas.


Great tech doesn’t take care of itself, though it’s not uncommon for organisations to make the assumption it does. CMOs can be guilty of making the necessary investment in great martech tools without fully appreciating the need to upskill, recruit the marketing talent or commission the specialist agency services to make best use of them”.

- Carlos Doughty, CEO & Course instructor, MarTech Alliance

Check out The Martech Report 2021/2022, by Moore Kingston Smith and MarTech Alliance here for insights into skills gap, martech maturity, and more. 

Want to fix your skills gap? Well then, have we got the answer for you! Become a top-tier marketing technologist with our course, here!

What Does the Role of a Marketing Technologist Look Like in 2023?

Within the last few years, the role has gotten even more high-tech. We're thinking laser guns, spaceships, and artificial intelligence taking over the world...okay maybe only the last one. 

In the whirling tornado of marketing trends, the role of a marketing technologist has undergone a wild transformation. These chameleon-like creatures are now the unsung heroes, helping businesses navigate the treacherous terrain of data-driven marketing and conquer their goals with flair.

So, what's on the agenda for these dynamic individuals in 2023? Let's dive in:

  1. Tech: Marketing technologists are the masterminds behind selecting and implementing cutting-edge marketing technology solutions. Armed with their expertise, they evaluate various platforms, align them with business needs, and seamlessly integrate them with existing systems. They are the champions of efficiency and effectiveness.
  2. Data: In the age of big data, marketing technologists are the V.I.Ps who tame information overload. They collect, store, clean, and analyse vast amounts of data, extracting valuable insights that illuminate the path to success. Armed with their analytical skills, they unlock the power of data to make informed decisions.
  3. Campaigns: Collaborating with marketing teams, marketing technologists don their strategic armor to craft and execute winning marketing campaigns. They develop smart strategies, create compelling materials, and track campaign performance like seasoned detectives. Their mission: capturing the hearts and minds of the target audience.
  4. Optimisation: With their analytical prowess, marketing technologists are relentless in their pursuit of optimisation. They scrutinise campaign results, identify areas for improvement, and fearlessly experiment with new strategies. Their goal: to unlock the hidden potential and maximise marketing performance.

But hold on, there's more! These versatile professionals may also delve into the realm of innovation, developing cutting-edge marketing technologies. They become the teachers, imparting their knowledge to marketing teams and empowering them to leverage technology effectively.

The role of a marketing technologist is a thrilling blend of challenges and rewards.

It requires a unique blend of marketing acumen, technical expertise, and analytical thinking. These professionals must be agile problem solvers, and adept at collaborating with diverse teams.

As businesses continue to invest in marketing technology, the demand for skilled marketing technologists is set to soar.

For those who aspire to embark on this exciting career path, certain skills and qualifications are essential. Proficiency in marketing technology platforms, such as CRM systems, marketing automation tools, and data analytics software, is a must.

A solid foundation in marketing strategy, planning, and execution is crucial. Strong data analysis skills enable marketing technologists to unravel insights from complex data sets. Effective communication skills bridge the gap between technical jargon and clear explanations.

In conclusion, the evolution of marketing technologists in 2023 is a thrilling adventure driven by innovation and data-driven insights.

They are the catalysts behind successful marketing endeavours, leveraging technology to unlock new possibilities. As businesses embrace the power of marketing technology, these skilled professionals will continue to shape the future of marketing with their strategic expertise and technical wizardry.

Hey there, martech fans. Want to expand your knowledge on the space to the nth degree? Well, have we got a treat for you.

It’s our goal at LXA to help marketers understand and deploy marketing technology. Our 4Ps of MarTech & Marketing Operations guide will provide you with a practical framework for doing exactly that. Check out our 4Ps of marketing technology ebook here!