There’s an ongoing debate about where marketing technology (martech) should sit in an organization. Does it live with the CMO, the CIO, the CXO–a hybrid strategist with both IT and marketing background–or some collaboration? As technology use grows, it’s tempting to move martech under another role. Before we burn the martech silo, like how McDonald’s, Uber, Mastercard and others are doing, let’s look at the implications for DevOps teams.
A recent article in PR Week cited a University of Texas study claiming “only 40% of a corporation’s marketing-related activities today report to the CMO.” Martech is being siphoned off into other areas–sometimes slowly, sometimes abruptly. It’s because the tech outweighs the marketing, at least in the eyes of the C-suite.
In March 2019, McDonald’s announced they were acquiring Dynamic Yield for $300 million. Dynamic Yield rose to fame as one of the leaders in omnichannel personalization. Translation: they watch visitors searching, viewing and ordering. Then, they show those related results to other visitors. With the deal closed, McDonald’s announced they were eliminating their CMO position and creating an SVP of martech reporting to the CIO. Automating the customer experience with in-store kiosks and mobile app ordering is their top priority.
Another case where mobile app ordering dominates, Uber clobbered both its CMO and COO in June 2019, right after going public. Their rockstar CEO said he wants to be more involved in day-to-day operations. Uber rolled non-martech functions into a VP of marketing communications. For Uber, martech is the product–an automated experience connecting riders and eaters with drivers. Everything else is branding and communications.
There’s a third org chart option: the CXO, or chief experience officer. More digital customer interaction is forcing a partnership between technology and marketing insight. Mastercard hired its first CXO earlier this year, bringing in a veteran from the digital marketing industry.
What do these three moves have in common, besides moving martech out of traditional marketing?
- All have powerful, ubiquitous brands with huge recognition.
- Their core product shouldn’t change much moving forward.
- Personalization shapes their offers using global and local trends.
Here’s the thing: Marketing automation automates what marketing knows. When the current and future requirements are clear, evaluating martech tools is easier. Moving martech out of branding, advertising and communication to IT sounds reasonable until you realize what you don’t know.
The martech silo often houses hunters, not farmers. Marketers have different metrics. They discuss impressions, and click-thru, and time viewed, and calls-to-action, and conversions. Strategy and content often have more impact on results than the delivery technology. In a fast-moving environment with many product or service offerings, what works once may not work elsewhere. Creativity comes into play, with cycles of learning.
In today’s SaaS model, marketing can pick a cloud-based tool and explore possibilities with minimal IT support. That’s good, until data and process accumulate, needing a bigger silo. Be careful. Burning the martech silo can be far worse for the organization than leaving it alone, even with all the shadow IT downside. No matter who does it, picking tools for a martech suite before understanding requirements is a formula for disaster. Without integrated marketing experience, IT is set up for failure. It can cascade into marketing failure and finger-pointing.
For a fluid marketing environment, a CXO is best suited for the job. They speak the language of both sides, along with representing external customers and their experience. If your organization doesn’t have a CXO, modeling a DevOps team responsible for martech in that image is the next best option.
DevOps solves the problem of speed marketing needs in making changes. Teams also have deep experience in maintaining applications and overseeing security IT wants. Many teams already have a product marketing person managing their software requirements. What a martech DevOps team needs is people with customer and digital marketing expertise. This include creative writers, graphics artists and advertising and social media specialists.
If that sounds like a problem without a CXO running air cover, you’re right. Budget and headcount come from somewhere. Both the traditional marketing team and the IT team want input, perhaps even control. The key for a martech DevOps team is behaving as if the silo had disappeared, no matter what the org chart says. The DevOps leader should keep everyone informed, managing up and across. It usually means creating different presentation views, one for marketing, one for IT and maybe one for the CEO. Make sure everyone gets answers to their questions in their language.
We’re going to have more martech moving forward. Creating effective martech DevOps teams is a priority, even without sweeping C-level reorganization. Don’t just burn the martech silo–reclaim the pieces that work for both marketing and IT and build the right team around the customer experience. If you need help getting started on a bigger martech mission, let’s talk marketing strategy.