It is no secret that CMO’s spending on technology is increasing. Even if Forrester do not agrees with Gartner about CMO spending more than CIO on technology by 2017 (See Forbes article “Digital Marketing Battlefield Map: CMO Vs. CIO And Gartner Vs. Forrester”), the reality is that CMOs need more technology to reach their objectives and move the revenue needle.

How did that happen?

The CMO is playing an increasingly strategic role at the revenue table. This is due to his ability to demonstrate results and direct impact marketing initiatives have on sales, and that requires data. The creation of one single Revenue Cycle Process instead of two disjoint sales and marketing processes was instrumental to help CMO move away from being a cost centre. The CMO fought hard to demonstrate that with rigorous tracking, they can prove the ROI and are not just right-brains spending money without knowing what works.


Now with greater power, comes greater responsibilities and investment in technology is one of them. If CMO don’t want to go back to the cost side, they need to carefully create value out of their technology investment. In a recent post titled “CMO’s – It’s Time to Align . . . . . With Your CIO“, Carlos Hidalgo, CEO and Principal at ANNUITAS, suggest that CMOs should align with CIO for the following three key points:


  • It is not just about Marketing Automation. It is now a Marketing Technology Ecosystem (See fig. 1)
  • Marketing is struggling to see the value from technology investments
  • To succeed with technology, it takes more than just the technology

I agree with that and I think that the CIO will also need to adapt to the fast pace evolving nature of marketing technology.

What’s not working?

What really got my attention is that according to a study published in March 2013 by the ITSMA “Realizing the Promise of Marketing Technology”, only 30% of companies answered positively in terms of receiving value, and less than 30% of them rated themselves as best-in-class when it came to the use of their technology purchases.

Moreover, some of the top barriers to technology success listed in the aforementioned study are as follows:

  • 35% – inefficient process
  • 58% – no strategy or plan, but rather cobbled together over time
  • 66% – no documented policies or governance for integration or interoperability

How to create value out of marketing technology investment?

All those barriers remind me a lot of the ones we experienced when CRM technology came around ten-fifteen years ago. Let’s be smarter and avoid the same pitfalls and start right from the beginning.

  • Define clearly what your are trying to achieve with your new marketing technology investment
  • Review and redesign the processes impacted by the technology. Remember, automate a defunct process will only get you down faster…
  • Align sales and marketing teams
  • Implement KPI from the get-go. Then, you will be able to iterate fast and fix what is not working in your process.

In a nutshell, don’t focus too much on technology when you implement marketing technology. You should rather put your efforts on process design and business alignment. And of course, getting help from experts in the field is always a good way to start your project the right way!