CMOs: What’s Your Marketing Tech Blueprint?

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scottvaughan"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Scott Vaughan, chief marketing officer at Integrate.

You’ve heard the Gartner hype: “CMOs will spend more on tech than CIOs by 2017.”

Buy into it or not. With the increased investment in marketing tech, CMOs are becoming the catalyst that drives an organization towards a common purpose. But along with increased tech responsibility and budgets, marketing executives must also effectively evaluate the ways new technologies will work with existing processes

Mounting CMO responsibilities are compounded by the confluence of advertising technology (ad tech) and marketing tech. This meme has recently gained momentum and is poised to set the tone for the 2014 marketing discourse.

There is a growing effort to merge anonymous third-party data, such as cookies, with identified or known customer data (including email or job title) to engage audiences with customized, relevant messaging, and attribute sales performance to specific advertising experiences. To do this, CMOs are investing heavily both in their marketing tech stack and the ad tech solutions that fill the gaps and expand capabilities. Most CMOs are allocating 3 to 5% of budget to technology, and some are even approaching 10%, according to IDC.

In this converging landscape, CMOs and their teams are learning. They’re getting better at defining and prioritizing tech investments based on their needs and opportunities. However, there’s still room for big improvements. An effective way to make smarter, quicker decisions and have an immediate impact is to develop a marketing tech blueprint.

Like constructing a great house, modernizing marketing with technology starts with a smart architecture and a solid blueprint. In this case, a marketing tech blueprint is essentially a diagram or visual representation that illustrates how your technologies connect and work with each other to drive all or part of your marketing processes. The blueprint can be detailed or visionary, a schematic or an infographic; format doesn’t matter as much as the usefulness of the content in helping to communicate and advance the impact your technology investment has on capabilities and performance.

Blueprints like this can help CMOs and media executives make smarter decisions both for new and incremental investments by painting a clearer picture of which marketing and ad technologies have already been adopted, the ways they connect (or don’t) with each other and how they connect customers/prospects to your internal resources and processes. It also helps make the case for increased investment, and can serve as a guide for identifying holes or areas of weakness.

Here are useful ways to utilize a marketing tech blueprint:

• To effectively work and communicate with prospective technology providers who come knocking, or with your CEO when he says “Take a look at this XYZ technology.” The next time the marketing tech sales person calls, you can hand them your blueprint and ask:

• How and where does your tech solution fit into our blueprint?

• How will your solution integrate with my other existing marketing tech systems, such as CRM, lead gen, marketing automation or ad server?

What tangible value can your technology/solution add to our business, process or customer experience? How can you demonstrate that?

• Which of our current resources or technology would your technology replace, make more efficient or reduce the cost of?

• To easily and clearly inform all stakeholders in your organization of which resources you’re using as well as why and how you’re leveraging them, making it much easier to take inventory and plan.

• To demonstrate — quickly and simply — redundancy in systems, the disconnection between systems and processes, and which tech is supporting which business and processes.

• To create an effective way for your CIO and CMO (and teams) to align, speak the same language and share a common vision and plan.

• To prepare a technology road map and prioritize the order of actions needed, such as where to start or focus next.

• To identify the skills and capabilities your marketing team needs today and in the future (really good for new hire conversations, too).

Especially in today’s converging landscape, the countless marketing and ad tools and technologies available drive the need for a more efficient way for CMOs and their agencies to evaluate different vendors in light of existing processes. As CMOs and marketing departments continue to drive an organization’s overarching business goals, a marketing tech blueprint becomes an essential tool in evaluating, informing and supporting marketing tech spend across the entire organization.

Follow Scott Vaughan (@ScottAVaughan), Integrate (@integrate) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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