Data-driven marketing and sales

5 signs that you need a marketing technologist on your team

02 May 2017

Successful companies use data-driven customer information and data analytics more than ever before. On average, a marketing manager spends as much or more on technology as the IT manager does, according to the IT research company Gartner. Is it time to recruit a marketing technologist to join your team? Here’s how you know.

A marketing technologist works with optimizing the potential that arises in the overlap between IT and marketing. Or conversely, if there is a gap between IT and marketing, the marketing technologist is the increasingly important bridge between the two.

“We are at a historical tipping point where machines are taking over more significant marketing tasks from humans. More and more marketing is done through automated processes. Campaigns are sent to a customer the moment they click on a link, or when they don’t pass their car inspection, or when their credit rating changes,” says Daniel Nyberg, marketing technologist at Dun & Bradstreet.

Marketing processes are frequently based on complex rules. Different systems need to be able to communicate with one another; for example the sales support system needs to connect with the content platform. At the same time, you need to understand what data collection is necessary and how it can be automated.

“We are at a historical tipping point where machines are taking over more significant marketing tasks from humans. More and more marketing is done through automated processes.”

Daniel Nyberg, Marketing Technologist at Dun & Bradstreet

Here are five signs that it’s time to add a marketing technologist to your team:

1. Your company handles large amounts of transaction data and you often work with data in your marketing

The larger the volume of business you get from transactional products, the larger the need there is for a person that has dual competencies within IT and marketing. The more products, the more customers, the more data, the more need there is to monitor and control all these things, all of which lead to the need for automation.

It’s exactly this type of thing that a person like Daniel knows how to handle. ”Up to a certain level, you can manage with an Excel spreadsheet and individually acquired marketing services. But when the complexity and volume expand heavily, these ”homemade” solutions are not enough to succeed in your marketing, especially within B2B with its generally more complex sales processes,” says Daniel.

2. The technical optimization of the customer journey is becoming a bit overwhelming

Traditionally, the sales department took ownership of a prospect or customer when the lead had been captured through marketing initiatives. Today it is the marketing department’s responsibility to move leads along through various nurturing processes that are increasingly automated. Furthermore, marketing often ensures that the customer experience is positive even after the purchase, so that you have a satisfied customer that will buy more or renew their subscription.

”If someone hasn’t logged in following their purchase, even after three emails to help the customer get started, it might be a good idea for someone from sales or customer service to call the customer.” How do you get these processes to work smoothly?

Daniel works with this sort of thing every day. “It is my responsibility to see what can be done technically to drive sales and what the systems will cost to implement in terms of both time and money. I also examine the compatibility between systems and develop sustainable ecosystems with many integrated solutions.”

3. You have started to notice limitations or flaws in your IT solutions

A common downfall in a marketing team is the so-called unknown knowledge gap. You don’t know what you don’t know in terms of technology. Maybe you’ve licensed a service or a system only to find that it can’t be integrated with your other systems.

“My role is about seeing the bigger picture and anticipating what’s coming around the next bend. For example, I consider what Dun & Bradstreet’s position will be in 2019. Of course we can’t know everything, but we do know that automation will be necessary to consolidate our work across Europe. I also envision a Center of Excellence and a common IT architecture from which best practice can be shared. But to get there, we have to start the thought process now.

4. The IT department doesn’t fully understand your needs in marketing, and you don’t understand what the IT department is talking about

The IT department likes their networks and software development, and they are highly skilled at technical details. Getting them to see your marketing needs in a bigger perspective, and communicating around it so that you understand each other can be a challenge, to say the least. IT can’t be expected to have deep knowledge about how marketing works. A marketing technologist can “translate” the business needs, understand the technical prerequisites, and find well-designed solutions that provide the right data points, analyses and insights. Based on his or her deeper knowledge about marketing’s requirements, the marketing technologist can ensure that the requirement specification is on target when it’s time to invest in a new system.

5. Technology is starting to steal your focus and energy from what you do best

Everything that is difficult, slow and demanding for you in your work to improve customer communication is exactly what energizes a marketing technologist.

”I am driven by my ambition to reach a situation where all our marketing systems and processes are running optimally. I get a kick from technology – it’s as easy as that. ’Machine learning’ is one of the coolest things; I can see how much it will influence marketing in the future. For example, say that you have uploaded en email that is going to be sent out. Instead of sending it at a time that you decide, the machines can tailor the optimal moment for each individual, based on when the individual has previously opened their mail, and when it is most likely that they will click through. I love stuff like that. If you’re going to send an email blast to 100,000 people, this technology is fantastic. Being able to do things like that, reaching that level of automation, really inspires me.”