Are you leading technology changes or is technology leading you?

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Jean-Luc Ambrosi is an award winning marketer and recognised expert in branding and customer relationship management. He is the author of the new book, Branding to Differ, a strategic and practical guide on how to build and manage a successful brand.

In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing.

Initially, I thought he might be referring to the technical components of digital changes and that his marketing team was focused on the experiential changes. But no, he reaffirmed marketing was not in the driving seat nor at the conversation table.

It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?

I understand, as a marketer, that the technological landscape is daunting. As soon as we want to initiate changes, we suddenly face the exponential proliferation of zeros linked to cost of implementation. Not to mention dealing with the creative fertility of new technical terms that even we marketers would only dream of conceiving.

But with many business models moving to a digital-first environment, marketing has no choice but to take a leadership role or at least be at the discussion table. These technological decisions will have a direct impact on customer interaction models and the ability for brands to differentiate themselves.

But understanding the technology by itself is almost, dare I say, irrelevant. What marketers must do is understand the concrete impact and opportunity these technological changes bring to the fore. What opportunities do they generate and, one must also ask, what do they limit? Technology is about choices and customer interactions will always be impacted by these choices.

As an enabler, technology really empowers us to question things. This then allows us to differentiate through real change and to identify fads from critical trends where a core investment needs to be made. But to do this, marketers need to get their heads around technology.

For example, adopting APIs will allow marketers to integrate different vendor applications, enabling the enrichment of customer interactions in different shapes and forms. But this also requires changes to the way an organisation builds its infrastructure. On the flip side, keeping a closed ecosystem might not rock the boat, but will limit this flexibility.

Surely most marketers would want a say in this?

The reality is that many, if not most, marketers want to shape change. Issues arise when marketers don’t voice their needs in technology transformation programs because these are seen as technology driven rather than business need driven. Hence, an understanding of technology, from an end user point of view, must be part of every marketing leader’s arsenal. This is critical to mitigating the risk of becoming a prisoner of platforms that do not meet marketing core requirements, customer and brand strategies.

So as the Baron de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games used to say: “What really matters is to participate”.

Tags: digital marketing, marketing strategy, marketing technology

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

State of the CMO 2019

CMO’s State of the CMO is an annual industry research initiative aimed at understanding how ...

More whitepapers

Blog Posts

Does your brand need a personality review?

There are five tell-tale signs your brand needs to take a long hard look at itself.

Charlie Rose

Senior Strategy Consultant, Principals

How to create profitable pricing

How do we price goods and services? As business leaders, we have asked ourselves this question since the history of trading.

Lee Naylor

Managing partner, The Leading Edge

Sport and sponsorship: The value of event sponsorship

Australia’s cricketers captured the nation’s attention during their recent run to the semi-final of the ICC Men’s World Cup. While the tournament ultimately ended in defeat, for over a month it provoked a sense of belonging, hope and empowerment for millions of people across Australia. Cricket, and sport in general, has a near-unique ability to empower individuals, irrelevant of their background, demographic or nationality.

Nikhil Arora

Vice-president and managing director, GoDaddy India

I should check these guidelines. I think it's important for me. Thanks for the info!

Juana Morales

IAB releases social media comment moderation guidelines

Read more

I didn't know about that. Thanks!

Jamison Herrmann

Twitter 'recap' helps you catch up with missed tweets

Read more

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

Max Polding

What it takes to turnaround an iconic Australian brand

Read more

I spend a lot of time in my professional life as a provider of marketing solutions trying to persuade customers that CX, UX, UI and Custo...

sketharaman

Gartner VP: Why CMOs and CIOs must band together to make CX a discipline

Read more

I live the best deals at LA Police Gear.

Tyrus Rechs

6 Ways to ramp up Social Media to Your Web Design

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in