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The Making of a Marketing Technologist

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A how-to using the Widen MARTECH framework. Learn more at http://www.widen.com.

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The Making of a Marketing Technologist

  1. 1. The making of a marketing technologist A how-to using the Widen MARTECH framework
  2. 2. WELCOME As marketing shifts from traditional to digital and audience engagement evolves, marketing professionals are looking for new ways to collect, create, automate, and share information. Enter marketing technology, or MARTECH, a term that describes the variety of digital marketing tools available today.
  3. 3. 2© Widen Enterprises 2016 This book focuses on the people of MARTECH – the marketing technologist that reviews, selects, and uses systems to manage the modern marketing process. We’ll explore the makeup of a marketing technologist through a framework using the MARTECH acronym as the structure: Marketing, Agile, Resourcefulness, Technical, Entrepreneurial, Culture, and Hero. Along the way, we’ll connect you to resources, ideas, and real life examples of what it takes to be a marketing technologist. Table of Contents What is a marketing technologist?.............................................................3 Marketing: Key skills for the MARTECH pro.............................................10 Agile: Innovative, people-centric approach to engagement...............12 Resourcefulness: Encourage initiative in yourself and others............14 Technical: How to increase your expertise.............................................16 Entrepreneurial: Use your innovative side to create change..............18 Culture: The importance of environment...............................................20 Hero: Use your skill set to help others.....................................................22 Closing...........................................................................................................23 About this book...........................................................................................24 Resources......................................................................................................26
  4. 4. 3 The making of a marketing technologist In today’s digital world, marketing is undeniably linked to technology. Industry thought leader Scott Brinker1 suggests that the MarTech landscape includes 2,000 vendors across 43 categories, all offering software to support marketing operations. Successful evaluation, selection and implementation of these products and services must be managed by someone with expertise in marketing and technology, in equal measure. This expert is a marketing technologist. Because of the required skill set and newness of the role, skilled marketing technologists are rare and the profession is in a formative stage. We’ll explore the scope of this role, why companies are increasingly eager to add technologists to their marketing teams, and the MARTECH competency framework. What is a marketing technologist?
  5. 5. 4© Widen Enterprises 2016 Scope of the marketing technologist role There is a lot behind the changing marketing industry. Today’s priorities are a lot different than they were ten years ago. Look at the list below. What do they have in common? • Gathering and leveraging customer data • Storytelling and making emotional connections across digital touchpoints • Orchestrating a personal customer journey • Considering mobile applications for all aspects of the brand experience • Developing an appropriately-scaled social strategy Is it a job for marketing or IT? Because marketing might not fully understand IT capabilities and concerns, and IT might not understand how to best translate marketing needs into technical specifications, it makes sense to combine these two functions into one role: the marketing technologist. A marketing technologist bridges the worlds of marketing and IT. As Scott Brinker and Laura McLellan2 state it in their article, “The Rise of the Marketing Technologist,” marketing technologists are “part strategist, part creative director, part technology leader, and part teacher.” Here’s what they share – the successful execution of each requires integrated, agile teamwork, an environment without silos, and technical expertise.
  6. 6. 5 The making of a marketing technologist The role goes by a variety of titles, including marketing technology strategist, chief information marketing officer, global head of marketing technology, and business information officer for global marketing. According to Gartner3 , these positions share the same primary responsibilities: • Aligning marketing technology with business goals • Serving as a liaison to IT • Evaluating and selecting technology providers • Prioritizing funding for marketing technologies • Crafting technology-enabled digital business models Typically, people come to marketing technology from two routes: 1. Technical: IT professionals, software developers, computer scientists, and business specialists with an interest in marketing, analytics, and connecting technologies. 2. Marketing: Digital marketers with a passion for technology, data analysis, and efficiently connecting to audiences. Marketing technologists are passionate about data, new tools and ideas, and working smarter. They can bring innovation to existing processes and generate insights to aid in decision making and marketing priorities. Given the ongoing shift to digital communications for companies and individuals, the role promises to have long-term staying power. Marketing technologists need technical depth and adaptable learning skills to keep up with the pace of change in marketing technology.
  7. 7. While the demand for marketing technologists grows, the position is still in a formative stage. With the help of Widen CEO Matthew Gonnering, we’ve developed a framework to define the competencies required of a MARTECH professional. Use it to guide hiring processes or serve as a roadmap for pursuing this career. Here’s how each letter of the MARTECH acronym relates to the competencies and skills required by a marketing technologist.
  8. 8. 7 The making of a marketing technologist The MARTECH competency framework by M A RMARKETING Obvious, right? Knowledge of day-to-day marketing processes and the ability to effectively communicate marketing value to stakeholders are must-haves for a marketing technologist. AGILE Most often applied to software development, agile methods in market- ing mean a people-centric approach to operations and, as a result, improved communications. RESOURCEFULNESS Solving problems and finding answers are essential for the marketing technologist – for their own work and the people around them.
  9. 9. 8© Widen Enterprises 2016 T E C HTECHNICAL Technology expertise is half of the marketing technologist role, and it can be learned through training and curiosity. ENTREPRENEURIAL The drive to experiment, improve, and take risks are characteristics marketing technologists can borrow from entrepreneurs. CULTURE In terms to teamwork, culture refers to an organization’s values, management styles, and physical environment. By adopting traits of a healthy workplace a marketing technologist can create a great space for collaboration and quality work. HERO As a MARTECH hero, it’s your job to provide other people with data and technologies to support them and improve their work. You’re turning other people into heroes.
  10. 10. The marriage of technology and marketing is going to be a long and prosperous one. This is exciting for all marketing professionals, especially those interested in pursuing the marketing technologist role. Demand is only increasing. Of course, not every marketer needs to become a marketing technologist, just as every marketer does not need to be a designer. But having one on the team helps ensure that technology is helping the entire team work smarter in creating an effective and valuable customer experience. Let’s get to it, shall we?
  11. 11. 10© Widen Enterprises 2016 arketing: Key skills for the MARTECH pro The marketing competency is framed two ways: 1. A firm grasp of daily marketing functions, 2. The ability to effectively communicate marketing value to stakeholders. Many marketing technologists measure their success in terms of more effective and efficient marketing. More effective marketing • Improved customer value, loyalty, and retention • Higher online marketing ROI • Higher campaign ROI • Increased response rates More efficient marketing • More campaigns with the same resources • Reduced cycle times for marketing efforts • Reduced marketing costs • Lower customer acquisition costs 1. Understanding basic marketing functions Excellent day-to-day performance of marketing operations is fueled by a curious and open attitude. More specifically, an insatiable appetite for new tools, methods or processes, paired with a desire for experimentation. This kind of attitude allows for an innovative working environment where new ideas are constantly being adopted and refined in the quest to create and communicate value. Central to the success of this is a strong and meaningful social network that is developed through connecting with industry leaders and event participation. M
  12. 12. 11 The making of a marketing technologist 2. Communicating with stakeholders The second aspect of the marketing competency focuses on sharing with stakeholders like HR, software development, and customer service. Communicating marketing goals, strategies, and initiatives to departments across the organization allows colleagues to understand and appreciate what marketing is doing and why. More importantly, getting your colleagues up-to-speed and excited about marketing activities can create ambassadors to share your messages and generate a feedback loop on ideas and projects. An effective company-wide communication strategy is not unlike an effective brand campaign: it provides the right information to the right stakeholder at the right moment. Consistent messages should be delivered through a variety of channels, including the intranet, live presentations, department open houses, shadowing opportunities, or whatever other channel makes sense for the audience.
  13. 13. 12© Widen Enterprises 2016 gile: Innovative, people-centric approach to engagement Agile methodology was originally designed for software develop- ment as an iterative approach that puts the audience at the center of all product decisions. Marketing has adopted the idea because of the potential for improvements in revenue, speed-to-market, and quality and risk management. The values in the Agile Marketing Manifesto4 give a good overview of what agile marketing means: • Validated learning over opinions and conventions • Customer focused collaboration over silos and hierarchy • Adaptive and iterative campaigns over Big-Bang campaigns • The process of customer discovery over static prediction • Flexible vs. rigid planning • Responding to change over following a plan • Many small experiments over a few large bets Agile software development is more advanced than agile marketing and can provide examples of how projects are structured. Release planning, a staple of software development, creates hard time lines. Within each release are “sprints” where developers spend focused time on a specific element of the software. Decisions are made with the customer in mind and they are often interviewed, consulted, or asked to test new features. Wondering how to advance agile skills? If you are working in a traditional marketing atmosphere, there are ways you can grow your agile competency without disrupting the processes already in place. A
  14. 14. 13 The making of a marketing technologist 1. Understand the foundation: The Agile Marketing Manifesto is a great place to start learning about agile methods. I recommend you go to the source and learn about how the movement started. Check out the website for the Agile Alliance at [www.agilealliance.org]. If you sub in “marketing” for “development” and “information” for “software,” you can see how the basics apply to marketing. 2. Be inquisitive: Go beyond the foundation by observing how agile teams work, reading more about how marketers use agile, discussing with interested co-workers, and talking with your team about how to move into agile. Don’t limit your exploration to agile marketing, because you can get a lot out of seeing agile software development in action. 3. Seek leadership endorsement: Educate and inform leaders in your workplace. Be transparent about the new idea and get creative with how you share it. Draw it out on a whiteboard, share examples of agile success, or outline what it could look like with your team. With an emphasis on innovation and response to customer needs, agile methodologies can pay off. 4. Experiment: How about attempting an agile approach for one new project? Start small and test a more disciplined agile process. Don’t feel obligated to stick to a certain agile methodology path, you can combine elements to create a system that works for you. Tips & resources from Widen CEO Matthew Gonnering to develop your agile skills:
  15. 15. 14© Widen Enterprises 2016 esourcefulness: Encourage initiative in yourself and others To be resourceful means having the ability and initiative to solve problems and find answers. It’s a must-have skill for you, and if you can encourage it in your colleagues, the benefit will be enormous. People who seek answers and discover (or create) solutions are an asset to any organization. How do you grow your resourcefulness? Start with knowing your strengths and weakness and believing in the value of your work. Trust your instinct. Don’t be afraid to fail because if you never try anything, you’ll miss opportunities for growth and innovation. Here are some ways you can encourage resourcefulness in the people around you: • Framing problems in a way that allows people to respond with their unique skills • Allowing people to explore solutions with room for successes and failures (the unsuccessful avenues still result in valuable knowledge and can make the work more enjoyable) • Extending their professional network to colleagues in support of learning and knowledge sharing • Being responsive to requests and needs in an effort to keep processes moving quickly • Mentoring by asking good questions (instead of lecturing) • Recognizing your colleagues’ impact and effort Frame problems as challenges to your skill set, explore solutions, connect with new professional networks, find a mentor, and recognize your own impact on the company. R
  16. 16. 15 The making of a marketing technologist If you weren’t born with resourcefulness, good news! It can be learned. Expand your resourcefulness: Here are a few ways to increase your resourcefulness skills to solve problems and complete projects. • Be confident in your skills. You’ve got this. You were hired for a reason, probably because you have a skill or expertise that your employer wants. Keep that in mind as you express new ideas and ways of doing things. • Keep an open mind. Questions, suggestions, and feedback can be challenging to accept when you know how you want to do something. Make sure to listen to diverse viewpoints – your colleagues have a wealth of knowledge, and taking the time to consider new and different options can be very rewarding. • Be creative. Find new ways to use things you already have (like content, technology, even physical space) in new, exciting ways. Do something different you’ve been thinking about or go out on a limb to suggest a change. • Communicate well. You’ll need communication skills that go both ways – listening and presenting. To be resourceful, you need listening skills to understand the issues and presenting skills to explain your work or point of view. Use your communication skills to collaborate with others, because nothing says resourceful like putting together a top-notch team. • Get what you need to do your job. Beg, steal, or borrow. Ok, kidding about the steal part, but the truth is you will need the right resources to get your work done. Chat with your boss about resources like time, technology, and money. Asking can be difficult at first but having the right tools to work makes things easier.
  17. 17. 16© Widen Enterprises 2016 echnical: How to increase your expertise If you are approaching the MARTECH role from an information technology or analyst role, it’s likely you have the technical side of things down. If you are coming at it from a classic marketing background, you probably have a lot of exposure to new technologies. Here’s how you can build your skills. 1. Talk to the pros: Reach out to technology professionals at industry events or within your own company. A lot of tech knowledge can be gained by asking the right questions, such as, “What is your technology strategy?” Or, “What technologies do you see as essential for our company’s future?” Invite people to coffee, attend social events and meetups, and engage over social media. T
  18. 18. 17 The making of a marketing technologist Remember, these sessions are not about you. Use the time to listen, ask questions, and discover the depth of someone’s knowledge. 2. Start playing: Many marketing technologies offer free versions or trials (examples: automated email service Mail Chimp, survey software Survey Monkey, social media publishing platform Hootsuite). Get in and play around with them. Participate in demos of software that interest you. 3. Get additional training and certifications: For the programs you are using, take certification courses if they are available or prep of the future by learning to manage upcoming technologies. Discover a better way by Matthew Gonnering While you are in the trenches performing marketing functions, you might catch yourself saying, “there has to be a better way!” I am pleased to report that there is most certainly a better way. In my own experience as a young, inefficient, phonebook-trolling, cold-calling machine, I used contact tracking and activity logs in a system designed for financial reporting. It was a painful process of entering, managing, customizing, and reporting. Although it took awhile to realize there was a better way, once I started looking, it was like I discovered a whole new world. I found systems that gave me control while also having design appeal, and it was easy to roll those systems out to other people to use. If only I had taken action a few years prior!
  19. 19. 18© Widen Enterprises 2016 ntrepreneurial: Use your innovative side to create change An entrepreneurial spirit is central to the marketing technologist role. You don’t have to own your own business or quit your job to adopt the entrepreneurial mindset. It’s a way of thinking. As we see it, entrepreneurs and marketing technologists share the following seven defining traits: 1. A desire to make a difference in the customer experience 2. A willingness to own a range of responsibilities from data entry to strategic board presentations in the interest of optimizing business success 3. A talent for seeking and obtaining funding for new ideas 4. The capacity to acquire enough data to inform both business decisions and effective risk management 5. A commitment to measuring and sharing results and value 6. A commitment to attracting other talented professionals to the team 7. A level of comfort taking risks To inspire an entrepreneurial mindset, think of your project as a start-up inside of the company or organization you work for. You can leverage all the traits in the list above within the comfort of your current position. E
  20. 20. 19 The making of a marketing technologist Where do you find room for improvement in the customer experience? Develop an idea, own the project, and make the ask. While you aren’t asking for money like a traditional entrepreneur, you are asking for time – time at work you could be spending on something else. Let’s say you make a case and the idea is approved. Build a team and set benchmarks and goals for success. Evaluate yourself against your goals. Finally, whether the project was a success or not, follow up with your boss or colleagues to let them know. Transparency is key. Build your entrepreneurial skills Entrepreneurs, or people who organize and manage businesses, come from all types of backgrounds. Though the word brings up images of wholesome young adults in suits pitching ideas in front of a panel of sharks, the taco stand down the street and the one- woman accounting service are both the work of entrepreneurs. In the diverse world of entrepreneurs, there are some shared elements: determination and work ethic. Here are a few other elements common in successful entrepreneurs: • Focus • Self-reflection • Resiliency • Communication skills • Sales skills • Independence • Patience
  21. 21. 20© Widen Enterprises 2016 ulture: The importance of environment It’s not always talked about, but workplace culture is crucial. Think of your company or organization. What are their characteristics? Is it friendly, accepting, and encouraging? Studies show5 that creating a place where people feel comfortable and valued has huge implications for productivity, and as a result, profits. The heart of having a good culture is putting people first. Sometimes that means perks like standing desks, free coffee, or bonuses. Creating a great culture doesn’t always mean spending money or buying things. Recognizing accomplishments, setting clear goals, and communicating clearly are all ways to respect your colleagues. Ensuring a healthy culture by Matthew Gonnering We don’t play when it comes to creating the best environment for our people. As a marketing technology software company, we know that our staff is the most valuable thing we have. To meet the culture competency, Widen turns to WorldBlu’s 10 Principles of Organizational Democracy6 . C
  22. 22. 21 The making of a marketing technologist You can use their principles to build your own cultural competency: • Purpose and vision: Establish and share a MarTech strategy that supports the company mission and encourages customer loyalty. • Transparency: Be open with employees about the company’s financial health, strategy, and agenda. • Dialogue + Listening: Employ a range of tools and processes to gather data for informed decisions. • Fairness + Dignity: Develop emotional intelligence and the drive to support others. • Accountability: Own the result of your actions in shaping the customer experience. • Individual + Collective: Focus on individual and team goals. • Choice: Arrive at decisions after consulting the team, peer groups, mentors, and other experts. • Integrity: Act in the best interest of stakeholders and do the right thing. • Decentralization: Enable or expand power so everyone can work effectively and efficiently. • Reflection + Evaluation: Seek continuous feedback to help shape the marketing technologist role within the organization.
  23. 23. 22© Widen Enterprises 2016 ero: Use your skill set to help others As much as we know you are looking forward to picking out a superhero cape, talented marketing technologists are “servant leaders” – making sure that other people’s needs are met so they can perform to the best of their ability7 . They enable others to be heroes (and yes, make themselves heros in the process – in a background sort of way). As a marketing technologist, it’s your responsibility to guide, advise, enable, and inform the content, campaigns, and products that other people develop. We have several suggestions for living this competency. 1. Focus on the team. Your role is to help people and because of that, team success should be at the top of your list. 2. Manage up. If you are working in a traditional company with a “top-down” style of leadership, you’ll have to adapt your communication style to work with your boss. Use your expertise to advise and coach your boss through technologies or topics they might not be familiar with. 3. Develop self-awareness. Know yourself, your communication style, and the effect you have on others. Are you empathetic? Do you offer helpful, constructive criticism? If you find that people misinterpret you a lot, it’s probably time to review your communication style and make adjustments to help your colleagues. 4. Share your expertise with your community. Start with your work team and expand to local marketing and technology groups. If possible, consider hosting interns or mentoring students. In essence, this competency is about support – for your team, your work, your customer, and your community. H
  24. 24. Conclusion Marketing has taken a permanent turn towards digital and the need for marketing technologists will only grow 2 . Luckily, the skills that define marketing technologist – marketing knowledge, agile approach, resourcefulness, technical expertise, entrepreneurial spirit, healthy culture, and heroic help – will benefit you regardless of whether you decide to morph into a new role. As a MARTECH pro, you can provide the following support to an organization: • Help your organization meet business goals by evaluating and selecting appropriate technology for marketing functions • Foster communication between marketing and IT • Gather, analyze, and share customer data • Create a compelling customer journey across digital touchpoints • Develop content and social strategies to boost audience engagement and conversion Are you ready to become a marketing technologist?
  25. 25. 24© Widen Enterprises 2016 About this book “The Making of a Marketing Technologist” is based on a series of articles on the MARTECH competencies written by Widen CEO Matthew Gonnering and published on LinkedIn throughout 2015. For an overview of the series, visit the blog post “MARTECH is more about butterflies than unicorns” at go.widen.com/martech-butterflies. Special thanks to the Widen marketing team for their work creating content, editing, and designing the book. As a marketing technology company, Widen is invested in creating software solutions that help people create, distribute, and evaluate intelligent content. Organizations of all sizes use Widen’s digital asset management (DAM) solution, the Media Collective, to streamline their marketing and creative workflows and make their content work harder. We’re excited to have new products in the works focused on creative collaboration, content planning, and workflows. To learn more about Widen, visit widen.com.
  26. 26. 25 The making of a marketing technologist
  27. 27. 26© Widen Enterprises 2016 Resources 1. Brinker, S. (2015). Chiefmartec.com Marketing Technology Supergraphic. http://chiefmartec.com/2015/01/marketing- technology-landscape-supergraphic-2015/ 2. Brinker, S., McLellan, L. (July-August 2015). Harvard Business Review. The Rise of the Marketing Technologist. https://hbr. org/2014/07/the-rise-of-the-chief-marketing-technologist 3. McLellan, L. (January 2014). Gartner. How the Presence of a Chief Marketing Technologist Impacts Marketing. https:// www.gartner.com/doc/2652017/presence-chief-marketing- technologist-impacts. 4. Agile Marketing Manifesto. General format. Retrieved from http://agilemarketingmanifesto.org/ 5. WorldBlu (2016). 10 principles of organizational democracy. General format. Retrieved from https://www.worldblu.com/ democratic-design/ 6. Cameron, K., Seppala, E. (01 December 2015). Harvard Business Review. Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive. https://hbr.org/2015/12/proof-that-positive-work-cultures-are- more-productive 7. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership (2016). What is servant leadership? General format. Retrieved from https://www. greenleaf.org/what-is-servant-leadership/