The New Role of Marketers In The Age of Big Data

We are living in a transformative era for marketing roles. The integration of Big Data in the customer journey has forced CMOs and their teams to face a new paradigm. These roles used to only revolve around outcome measurement, but now they need to refocus towards technological skills in order to keep their relevance. Many are already making strides towards this goal. In this article we explore this metamorphosis.

From marketing specialist to tech marketer

Technological advances in the 20th and 21st century have brought digitalization to our lives. Many manual tasks have been simplified – and the same can be said about marketing. New, powerful techniques and useful digital tools have revolutionized the industry. But the biggest transformation of all has arrived along with the huge amount of data available.

This transformation has been so radical that it has brought in data scientists, engineers and IT specialists, among others, to many companies in lieu of marketers.

A new term has emerged to describe these technical profiles that are starting to join marketing teams: they are marketing technologists. And they’re becoming increasingly important in the current landscape, as they provide a hybrid profile (50% marketing, 50% IT) that put technological advances at the service of marketing in order to attract sales opportunities and provide better outcome analysis.

Roles are clearly evolving, and CMOs should take global marketing team transformations as their priority. This will help immensely during the transition from the old, analogue dynamics to the new, technical-focused ones. Finding usable technical solutions that allow teams to access big data directly (without having to depend on IT teams) should be another priority, as well as providing specific training to employees so they can fully grasp relevant business metrics.

The end of accountability without authority

One of the main problems that CMOs have faced throughout their history is the need for accountability. They’ve been pushed to provide sales results but been deprived from real authority to put new business and commercial strategies forward.

Reputable sources such as Forrester are predicting a future decline of the CMO position if this role isn’t radically transformed inside companies. This is their convincing explanation:

“Forrester sees 2022 as a tale of two CMOs: some with the CMO title will continue to be sidelined by the likes of another chief “something” officer — relegated only to the subset of marketing involving brand and promotion — while elite CMOs (those with data, martech, customer experience, and product chops) will capitalize on this moment in time to duly expand their remit across the marketing mix.”

It’s clear that the advent of Data-First Marketing has brought a new paradigm where CMOs can support their stances and reinforce the role of their marketing teams through big data.

The advent of Data-First Marketing

Data-First Marketing focuses on making the most out of the huge amounts of marketing data currently available, and on using them smartly in order to create a real competitive advantage in any industry. Data analysis is used to define and optimize the sales goals and strategy. For that purpose, a complete transformation from top to bottom is required. That includes human resources, processes, technologies, data and business values.

Current landscape

Priorities have changed for CMOs since the most recent data explosion. The ample availability of behavioral data and detailed information about customers, as well as the role of growing, evolving CDP platforms, have been instrumental in this shift.

Nowadays, this role should be focused on:

  • Quantitative and qualitative customer data collection.
  • Data control.
  • Customer journey and purchasing experience personalization using big data. The goal is to improve conversions, increase the repeat customer rate and, overall, boost business revenue.

Data analysis can now be used by CMOs to showcase the importance of the marketing role for overall business success. Metrics can prove that!

Despite data being an obvious asset to boost sales, many companies haven’t been able to adopt a Data-First mentality yet. That’s why many CMOs and marketing teams are still transitioning towards this new paradigm. Unfortunately, there are countless businesses which are still immersed in 20th century processes and methods.

The Forbes report Data Versus Goliath, Customer Data Strategies To Disrupt The Disruptors highlights a few relevant findings in that regard:

  1. Only 13% of the companies express a high degree of confidence that they are making the most of their available data.
  2. Only 1 out of 5 executives considers their company to be a leading force in data management.
  3. Only 1 out of 4 executives feels capable of making the most of their available data.

Final Thoughts

Integrating technology into the CMO role is now more critical than ever. Those who are able to select and apply the best tools to make the most of the available data will be the ones who ultimately keep their positions. And not only that: they’ll get the opportunity to highlight the value of their business role through objective metrics that will prove how their work impacts revenue increases.

In this new era, CMOs will have to acknowledge their duty: they’ll be responsible for boosting a transformation inside their companies so a Data-First approach can be adopted. This is the only way they’ll be able to strengthen their position and get the authority they need to finally take part in strategic decision making.


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