Chief marketing technologist is a growing title, a growing category, and a much-needed one. A new study, however, suggests that the perfect blend of marketing art and technological science is still far from being realized.
“Today’s marketing technologists cluster into 6 distinct archetypes, and they are not equivalent or interchangeable,” the report from SapientNitro says. “In our data, we found a roughly even split between marketing and technology orientations.”
While 48 percent of marketing technologies self-identify on the science side, specializing in data, or infrastructure, or customer experience platforms, a slightly larger cohort of 52 percent identify as a little more artsy, specializing in marketing, or content, or media metrics. The differences between the six distinct categories are quite large, report authors say, and the rarity of finding someone who bridges some or all of the categories ensures that the perfect blend of hard and soft skills is still rare.
Incredibly rare, in fact.
Because while most marketing technologists say that bridging technical and marketing skill can be done in one person — 94 percent agree — the data shows that they actually see themselves as one or the other.
That has implications for hiring and promotion, of course.
“The needs of an organization may in fact require that the CMT embody a combination of at least two and possibly as many as all six of the archetypes,” report authors write. That’s hard to find, however, and critical gaps exist: “It should be deeply concerning to both marketing technologists and the brands that rely on them that the largest skills gaps are in areas of significant opportunity ([such as] targeting, CRM, and data) and high risk ([such as] information security, performance and resiliency).”
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Only 26 percent of marketing technologists actually have STEM degrees, for instance. And most technical skills have been learned on the job, resulting in uneven development and inevitable missing links.
Interestingly, the five skills marketing technologists identify as “most important” for their future jobs span two technology-focused areas, two marketing-focused, and one business-focused. For technology, web design and CRM systems led the pack — which seems a bit retro these mobile days — while marketing strategy and target market identification are the top two desired marketing skills.
The third, a general business-oriented domain, is the ability to persuade and negotiate, doubtless something that is increasingly important as marketing technologists buy and connect dozens of disparate technologies.