Fluidity between IT and marketing departments is in greater need than ever, and 70% of marketers believe brands will be looking to install ‘Chief Marketing Technologists’ in the next five years.

The findings come as part of a study by programmatic software company DataXu, examining how technology has changed marketing practices, causing a ‘fundamental shift’ in spend and leadership.  

With continuing industry dialogue around silo breakdown within businesses, the growing prevalence of the CMT can be put down to a greater need for technological ‘know-how’ in what’s becoming a data-driven profession, says Chris Le May, DataXu’s managing director, UK & Nordics.

“Technology is playing a crucial role for today’s marketers and brands need to invest more in the right talent to fully harness the power of data-driven marketing,” Le May adds.  

On the fence

Conducted on 250 decision-makers in the UK, the report found that one in three feel that the role has become so vital that it will eventually replace the ‘traditional’ chief marketing officer.

There could be an opportunity for switching codes, with 31% of marketers being happy to take on the role themselves.

While a quarter of those in the survey didn’t believe the hiring of CMTs and tech-focused marketers would be an ongoing trend, one in three claimed up to half the requirements of their roles revolve around technology, with 38% expecting their jobs to become more dependent on it in the next five years.

Overall, the industry still seems to be in a state of flux about where the role sits within the current hierarchy, with a ‘middle ground’ vied for by 51% of the study in the form of joint responsibility between CMOs and CMTs.

The remainder agreed that both roles should be at board level, reflecting a belief that marketing and technology should sit at the same table with a more equal weighting of business impact.

“Whichever route they take – hiring a CMT or fortifying the CMO role and marketing division with enhanced technological capabilities – proactive moves need to be made now to equip businesses for a tech-focussed future”, Le May concluded.