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The change agents among us:

11th May 2017

CMO

Are you a Tech-Savvy Marketer?

 

I like to spend a lot of time with customers and I encourage my marketing team, and any marketer reading this blog, to do the same. It’s an ideal way to understand customer pain points and aspirations, as well as to pressure-test marketing strategies and messaging where it matters—with real people who are likely to buy (or not) based on the value you and your brand deliver.

 

I recently went out on a customer roadshow with Sitecore’s account reps, where I met with over a hundred business and technology leaders across a number of geographies and vertical industries. While out on this roadshow, I discovered a common persona amongst those who, based on my observations, are in the forefront of marketing. This persona was not tied to a particular job title or level on the org chart—sometimes I saw it in a CMO; and other times in the head of digital marketing or the person running an online store or website. All shared similar traits and I’ll collectively refer to them simply as the Tech-Savvy Marketer.

 

Characteristics of a Tech-Savvy Marketer

Tech-Savvy Marketers are a force of creativity and adventure, and they are never content being idle in their quest for the right tools and technology. Their constant thirst for knowledge combined with a long-term vision to better the customer experience propels them forward on a definitive course of action. They’re always in motion, their tastes are constantly evolving, and they’re never afraid to embark on a new journey, even if it means walking that road alone. It was inspiring for me to talk to them, to hear about their business challenges and, more importantly, to learn about the innovative ideas on their minds.

 

I noticed another thing, too: Tech-Savvy Marketers view technology as the paintbrush and marketing as the paint—and the result is a beautiful picture of art and science that gets straight to the heart of what customers want. While traditionalists may see the evolution of technology as threatening, Tech-Savvy Marketers do not. They see opportunity. They see how new tools fit into an overall framework focused on delivering the personalized experiences their customers increasingly expect. One customer referred to it as like walking into a “do-it-yourself” building supply store where the focus is not on the supplies, but rather the vision of what they could collectively build. I found that view refreshing.

 

Tech-Savvy Marketers are customer advocates

Don’t get me wrong, the title I selected for my persona, “Tech-Savvy Marketer” doesn’t mean a bunch of “gearheads” who simply like to tinker. Actually, from their point of view, technology is merely the enabler that keeps their customers at the epicenter of everything they do because creating a personalized, cohesive experience across all channels is the ultimate goal.

 

Amazingly, while 73 percent of marketers generally proclaim customer-centricity as critical to the success of the company, only 32 percent actually have a customer-centric structure. That’s the mainstream talking. It means that Tech-Savvy Marketers are tasked with a lot of change management. The marketers I talked to realize this.  While they are energetic, they are also aware of the challenge to break obsolete habits that are barring marketing organizations from advancing as quickly as their customers. However, they know that it’s entirely possible to move past the bottlenecks and barriers with a change of mentality, some grit, and the willingness to take some risk. All the Tech-Savvy Marketers I talked to are up for it!

 

Becoming a Tech-Savvy Marketer

While some are born with the Tech-Savvy Marketer gene, for others, becoming a Tech-Savvy Marketer takes time. The critical first step is to understand customer preferences and behaviors today. Next is to recognize the need for digital transformation. Digital transformation is a top priority for Tech-Savvy Marketers because they know that the shift towards digital technologies opens up a whole new world of possibilities. These are the tools they need to deliver that personalized customer experience across all channels, every single time. 

 

Stepping into the role of a Tech-Savvy Marketer is not just about digital transformation; it’s about overall transformation. And that transformation starts with IT. Yes, IT has typically generated the proverbial eye roll from marketers everywhere but, in an age where technology is the kingpin, marketers absolutely need IT and there must be alignment to succeed. Tech-Savvy Marketers bring speed, agility, and innovation to the equation, but they also recognize that they need IT to ensure the technology can scale, is secure, and integrates with other systems. So, it’s time to take IT out for a beer and build that relationship.

 

Big thinking is allowed

Finally, because Tech-Savvy Marketers always operate with the grander plan in mind and are always ahead of the crowd, they know they need buy-in from the C-suite. They’re always looking for quick wins to highlight success, and balance that with their mission to be better, faster, and more personalized than the next brand. This ability to open up new channels for communication and commerce is what keeps competition on their toes, and the ability to balance those long-term goals with short-term, rapid-fire strategies is what keeps us ahead of the curve.

 

The passion of Tech-Savvy Marketers lies in what could—and should—be, and the mission is to close the gaps between customer expectations and what brands are delivering. Through the application of new technology, we’re personalizing experiences in ways that were never thought possible, and these efforts are cultivating rich, long-term relationships with customers. For Tech-Savvy Marketers, the ultimate focus is to create an authentic and personal customer experience, and this means placing customers at the center of the business.

 

Scott Anderson is Chief Marketing Officer at Sitecore. Follow him on @Scottsvoice.

 

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