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The making of a
A how-to using the Widen MARTECH framework
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 The making of a marketing technologist
In today’s digital world, marketing is undeniably linked to
technology. Industry thought leader Scott Brinker1
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
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
• 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
1. Technical: IT professionals, software developers,
computer scientists, and business specialists with
an interest in marketing, analytics, and connecting
2. Marketing: Digital marketers with a passion for
technology, data analysis, and efficiently connecting
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
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
7 The making of a marketing technologist
The MARTECH competency framework
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.
Most often applied to software development, agile methods in market-
ing mean a people-centric approach to operations and, as a result,
Solving problems and finding answers are essential for the marketing
technologist – for their own work and the people around them.
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
Let’s get to it, shall we?
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
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 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
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
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
• 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
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
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
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 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
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
• Communication skills
• Sales skills
21 The making of a marketing technologist
You can use their principles to build your own cultural
• 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
• Dialogue + Listening: Employ a range of tools
and processes to gather data for informed
• 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
• 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.
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
• 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
Are you ready to become a