In this economy, CMOs need to focus on training, not technology | Bot To News


Businesses around the world are facing the reality of a “triple squeeze”—inflation, talent shortages, and supply chain disruptions. The marketing organization is certainly not immune to their increasing pressure.

In response to these economic barriers, CFOs and CEOs are prioritizing growth-focused investments that include digital technology (e.g., automation) and workforce (e.g., training opportunities and other ways to retain talent).

One would think that this focus is good news for marketing technology budgets, but the C-suite is not looking so positively at investing more in martech solutions.

According to a recent survey by Gartner, market technologies rank near the bottom (10th and 11th out of thirteen options) in terms of their perceived ability to offset inflationary pressures over the next two years.

What’s more, the use of martech is shockingly low. Marketers report using only 42% of their martech stack capabilities. Therefore, they struggle to prove its return on investment.

Similarly, martech is among the top three areas of capability gaps cited by CMOs in the latest Gartner CMO Spend survey.

This is where the company’s focus on workforce and training comes into play.

CMOs should invest in martech training

Many organizations have the opportunity to invest additional resources in martech training to drive better usage and business value.

CMOs should invest in martech training

If talent and technology are top of mind for leaders, how can CMOs use the current macroeconomic environment to align their own strategies and fill martech skills gaps?

In theory, CMOs can look both internally and externally to fill talent gaps, but we encourage them to think internally first. CMOs looking for contractors and consultants are likely to face internal resistance, as these are two of the three most common areas where CFOs plan to cut.

Where martech training can make an impact

CMOs must cultivate adjacent, complementary skills. The real loopholes are often more than just using the platform, although those certainly exist. The following are common complementary areas of growth.

Campaign experimentation and measurement

The key is to focus on experimentation to identify what works and should be strengthened, versus what needs further improvement.

This requires a commitment to measurement and, when performing more complex multi-level tests, an effort for cross-functional coordination. One of the easiest ways to apply this to martech is through A/B testing.

Go Deeper: The Key to Successful Marketing Experimentation

Customer journey orchestration and next best actions

Calendar-based outbound campaigns – while common – are probably not why CMOs have invested so much in martech.

The CMO’s vision for this technology is likely to be around providing personalized experiences throughout the customer lifecycle. A critical part of personalization is the ability to respond quickly to customer signals.

Dig deeper: What is customer journey routing and how does it work?

Product management and product marketing practices

Digital marketers are often unaware of existing martech capabilities or best practices for using them. CMOs can:

  • Appoint a product manager who packages capabilities into common use cases relevant to their business.
  • Encourage the manager to act as a product marketer by encouraging adoption and co-creation with end-user marketers.

To continue to evolve and advance, the most advanced teams iteratively manage martech capabilities, tailoring a mix of commercial software and custom applications to meet customer and marketing objectives.

Dig deeper: Product acceptance: It’s hard to get a return on investment with something that isn’t being used

Upskilling marketing teams: What CMOs need to keep in mind

CMOs should consider a few things when developing their teams.

Prioritize skills you can learn quickly

Economic uncertainty favors skills that can be learned quickly, in about a month, but still have a big impact. A characteristic of these skills is that they revolve around repeatable techniques or specialized process knowledge that, once learned, can be quickly applied in the workplace.

Consider outsourcing

CMOs who feel their internal teams lack martech leadership are likely to need some well-chosen external collaborators. Upskilling current staff should still be part of the plan, however.

When CMOs turn to external talent, they will face a competitive talent market. While Gartner’s Talent Neuron data has cooled slightly over the past few months, market opportunities are still significantly higher than they were two years before the pandemic.

Focus on driving efficient growth

Regardless of how new martech skills are added to the team, CMOs must focus their executive story on automation and driving efficient growth to alleviate CFOs’ cost concerns.

Marketing managers should rely on plans that build inbound marketing, nesting best practices and customer journey use cases to show how they’ll maximize the use of current marketing platforms while focusing their teams on activities that promise to optimize conversion rates.


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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily of MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About the author

Jason McNellis

Jason McNellis is a senior analyst director in the Gartner Marketing Practice, focusing on how to improve marketing through machine learning, artificial intelligence, marketing mix modeling and campaign measurement.



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