The selection and operation of sometimes complex marketing technology raises a lot of questions around management and responsibility.
Marketing departments are the ones operating the tech day to day - creating content, sending out emails etc - but the technical expertise within organisations is generally found within the IT department.
With martech now central to marketing strategy, and accounting for 23% of marketing budgets, this is an issue which becomes ever more important.
Now, with most companies thinking digital first, and most of their target customers online, providing a great customer experience is what separates brands from their competitors.
This customer experience is primarily the responsibility of marketing. It's marketing that creates the content that customers read on site, sends emails, manages social media accounts and websites.
However, it's marketing technology that underpins this - the CRMs, CDPs and DXPs that help marketers to manage customer interactions, the social media tools that allow them to track mentions and analyse strategy.
A combination of the increasing need for martech, and its growing complexity means there is a need for marketers with the necessary skills and knowledge.
Our recent Martech Report found this problem. There is a skills shortage in the market, a statement which 57% of respondents to our survey agreed with, and only 25% disagreed.
This skills shortage is a natural effect of the rapid growth of martech, and the (digital) transformation of marketing over the past decade or more.
As Scott Brinker told Martech Alliance:
Technology moves so fast that it’s a challenge for the people actually implementing this stuff and harnessing it and learning it and leveraging it. There’s basically no way we can’t be in a position where there is almost an evergreen skills gap.”
Does this skills shortage mean that IT should have control of martech? We asked respondents (a mixture of marketers and agencies) where the responsibility for martech lies.
We found that more companies have marketing entirely in charge of this process (9%) than those with IT entirely in control (1%).
The results are different to what we would have seen a decade ago, and suggest that the importance and impact of marketing is greater than ever.
According to Damian Ryan of Moore Kingston Smith:
One obvious issue is that the operation of martech can be a challenge, a point Robert Rose made in a recent podcast reviewing our report:
I think one of the big challenges we’ve been through over the last 20 years is what could be described as a tussle between IT and marketing about who is in charge of the customer experience.
In the early days of the internet, the IT department had more control because they looked after the website. I think it’s actually taken a digitally native generation to get themselves into those positions of influence and control and tip the balance towards marketing.”
These are expert systems that are hard to learn and we need experts in not just implementing them but managing them. Marketing hasn't invested in that yet. We need to just be okay with the fact that marketing technology is difficult.Nobody expects you as an accountant to run and be able to run a financial system on day one, you have to learn it, you have to get involved in it and you become expert at it. The same thing should be true with marketing technology and we shouldn't shy away from that."
Responsibility for Martech strategy shouldn’t just sit in with one team, whether this is IT or marketing. It straddles both, and organisations need a number of roles working together to produce results, and this includes other teams around the business.”