When Being A CMO Means Also Being A CTO

When Being A CMO Means Also Being A CTO
When Being A CMO Means Also Being A CTO

Stephanie Chavez, CTSM is the President at Zen Media and a Cynopsis Top Women in Media honoree for 2019.

You might be surprised by how many tech-related questions CMOs field every day: How should we track this metric? What’s the best tool for managing a social media campaign, email marketing campaign or SEO? Can you take a look at the website? The role of a CMO has evolved tremendously in the digital age.

CMOs have always been responsible for the marketing messaging and how their company shows up in the world. But now, the primary way your company shows up in the world is online. Think about it. You generate brand awareness through digital outlets like social media. Your website is the first port of call for prospective customers looking for more information about your brand. Email marketing is your key method for wooing prospects and maintaining current customers. You’re the bridge between the message and its recipient. But modern CMOs are also functional CTOs. They must understand industry trends, emerging technologies and the data that drives their marketing strategies.

Here are a few reasons why CMOs act as functional CTOs, and why that’s a good thing for the future of marketing.

Integrating Branding And Tech

Today’s CMOs are poised to be more effective and impactful than generations before—as long as they’re ready to immerse themselves in new technologies. The role of the 21st-century CMO sits at the intersection of storytelling and engineering. With their brand stories, CMOs craft marketing strategies, brand campaigns and growth plans. To execute these plans in our digital age, technology is crucial.

Modern marketing is as much about delivery as it is about branding. You can have the best brand in the world, but if you can’t deliver that message to your target audience, who cares?

CMOs must combine their intimate knowledge of the company’s brand message with tech designed to implement strategies and boost growth. Knowing which technology pathways will best deliver key messaging has become another tenet of the position, and savvy CMOs will step up to become experts on martech products.

Boosting PR And Engagement Through Tech-Driven Engagement Tools

The market research that CMOs and their teams conduct is essential to the success of PR. With these insights, companies can identify the critical topics that impact their industry and use data analytics tools to see what most resonates for each audience segment.

Similarly, the technology marketers use to measure engagement (on social media, websites, digital campaigns, advertising and more) can help direct the strategy and boost the impact of new tactics. For example, if a particular ad campaign drove sales and brand awareness, marketers can infuse that messaging into a PR strategy. On the other hand, if you get a great PR hit, you can use data research to determine how to best share and amplify that hit on social media, giving your PR a broader reach.

By determining which tech-driven engagement tools yield the most impactful and valuable information to support marketing campaigns, CMOs can, again, bridge the gap between a traditional marketing role and the role of a technology expert. Their close-up view of marketing efforts will help them determine which engagement metrics to prioritize, which will help them identify the best technology tools to track and analyze those metrics.

Creating Platform-Specific Growth Strategies

Prior to the emergence of digital marketing and social media platforms, marketing strategies were dispersed in fewer forms—print media, a TV commercial if you could afford it, and sometimes a billboard or radio ad.

Now, there is an abundance of ways to share your brand’s message—it’s almost overwhelming. And modern marketers know it’s essential to tailor their messaging to each platform to garner the best results and encourage growth. An ad campaign for LinkedIn will have a different format and phrasing than an ad campaign for Instagram or TikTok. Marketing and technology have never been more interrelated than they are today.

The modern CMO must also play the role of functional CTO if a brand wants to succeed in today’s ever-growing digital world. While becoming well versed in tech isn’t a small task, tech-enabled marketing will increase your success and keep you ahead of the game.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?