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I’m a CMO. Please Don’t Ask Me to Be a CTO

Greg Sobiech   
September 7, 2018  3min. read
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Many of you reading this are most likely CMOs. I know your world has changed. A couple years ago there was a lot of buzz about the role of the CMO morphing into more of a CTO or a CIO. If you are a CMO my guess is that you want to be just that—a CMO…not a CTO, CIO, CXO…any sort of a hybrid. Right?

However, I think you’ll agree that data has been the currency for a while now. That being said, this has directly affected your role.  Most CMOs (or VP of Marketing) roles have evolved. Conventional measures such as brand recall, acquisition, distribution and the like have been turned upside-down. Today’s CMO must have a data-driven approach to what was conventional. This applies to building brand awareness, engagement and driving sales among others.

CMOs are at the forefront of executing growth strategies alongside CTOs. Has this happened to you? Are you are expected to know about technology and more importantly data? That concept isn’t going to change. However, to set you apart the data currency reality should evolve.

Just think about it, we been through the hype of “data” then “big data” then to some, “small data.” It’s quite clear that data is an integral part of how you brand and how you sell. We have heard from many clients that their pain point lies within things being scattered all over the place. They have a set budget and set goals to hit.

Behind-the-scenes they may have contracts and agreements with multiple vendors, platforms, media and agencies. You have buckets of data coming in from paid and organic search and social, display, email…the list goes on.

Added to this reality is another one where everyone says they can “streamline” this for you to be more efficient. They say they can better “optimize” and “increase ROI.” This has not been true. The reality has pretty much stayed the same: buckets of data are everywhere. Oftentimes there could never be enough people power in-house or with your agencies to sift through it, optimize and shift accordingly in a realistic timeframe.

By now, we are all bought into the notion that, “If I use my own /1st party data, for marketing, I’m probably going to grow faster.” That too is easier said than done. Datasets live in different places. You or your VP of Marketing needs those datasets to be connected. They need to “talk” to each other in order for you to paint a holistic view of the consumer. It doesn’t matter if the customer transacted online, in the store or on the phone.

This is problematic. You as the CMO are supposed to have a support system of the CIO, CTO and/or CDO behind you. Has that happened? Probably not. In many companies that support hasn’t materialized. As a result, “Data as currency” is still elusive.

CMOs need brand data to become the currency that should power growth. Well, just about all my meetings with C-level execs reinforce the need for data to be streamlined. The talks about single-stack solutions scare many of these people. Several people fear that such a solution would cost too much money or take too long. I truly believe that the CMO should continue to be the CMO not the CTO. S/he should take advantage of the CTOs buy-in and embrace the right technology to activate his/her data. But how?

Oh believe me, I’ve been burned many times in the past. Vendors have promised amazing tech. Often it was just that. However, it was a siloed approach. I needed one-stop-shopping for our clients. I needed something that took into consideration the complexities of the customer journey of path-to-purchase. I needed something that did not take marketing effectiveness as a single-channel.

You need a solution that has everything in one place. It shouldn’t require you to be a techie but allow you to know everything that is going on. Rest assured, I’m here to tell you there is a realistic solution. For instance, my team helps companies by using the Google Marketing Platform (GMP). It allows us to have one central repository for all data from display to search to social. It’s one-stop-shopping gives us the opportunity to have efficient turnaround times on behalf of our clients. After all, data doesn’t sleep, does it?


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