Data Savvy Marketers Will Own 2013

4 minute read
Anthony Myers avatar

Marketers, and particularly those in the CMO positions will be forced to deal with the changing nature of the field in 2013. In addition, many marketing departments in all industries will need to become much more technically sound.

That's one of the conclusions Rich Vancil and Kathleen Schaub, analysts at IDC, came up with in a recent webinar on 2013 CMO predictions. It was a great session, and Schaub and Vancil, both long time marketing practitioners and consultants, were blunt about the jarring changes going on in the marketing world.

Organizational Dynamics

Marketers need to become masters of data and technology, Vancil said, and that's because the last year has seen more changes than maybe the last 30. B2B buying has totally changed and vendors have lost the power they had over buyers. Companies cannot ignore this anymore.

Says Schaub:

A shattering transformation has taken place in buyer behavior because of digital communication.

Vendors used to control what and how much information got out to potential buyers, and because that is not true anymore, marketers are gaining influence at the C suite level. In pre Internet times, CEO's didn't have to pay much attention to marketers because they were often simply left to their own devices, Schaub said.

But now, customers are using the Web and social media to become self educated, and participating in all that digital media leaves lots of fingerprints, she said. 

Buyers are never, ever, ever offline; I don't care what industry they are in."

The most advanced CEO's are now realizing marketers are not playing a Webby, Twittery, Facebooky game, Schaub said. Buyer behavior has been forever changed, and it is fundamentally altering how business is conducted. It's not just a risky time for CMOs but for CEOs too. There is even a widening performance gap between the companies that get it and those that don’t. The winners are using more technology.

Technology may be taking away some of the power of vendors, but it is starting to give it back in the form of marketing automation and data analytics, Schaub said. 

CMO's 2013 Agenda

CMOs were asked about what marketing challenges they are facing, and while some are things CMOs have been saying for a long time, others are more specific to the transformational times we now live in. CMOs will be under more scrutiny than ever because of the power of the self educated buyer. Analytics and automation will compound this because they will increase the expectations of accountability, Vancil said.

Furthermore, because of the increasing use of technology, CMOs will start leaning on the CIO to help them become more technically savvy. CMOs may not think they have the expertise or staff to meet the challenge, and CIOs will increasingly be leaned on to help out marketing departments.

Learning Opportunities

This could even translate directly to marketing  budgets where currently, marketing puts out about two thirds of its spending. IDC predicts this will shift to about 50/50 by the end of 2014. Marketing department dollars will also increasingly be spent on marketing automation. Where this kind of tech only accounted for maybe one or two percent of marketing budgets a few years ago, it could go as high as 10% in the near future.

Unfortunately for many CMOs, the added pressure will likely be too much, and so IDC predicts there will still be plenty of positions eliminated. CMOs will need to be business leaders, and they will need a more technically sound staff to help them.


More marketers will be hired from other disciplines, and that is why data savvy ones will own 2013.

Marketing Hires Need More Tech Skills

IDC makes some bold predictions here. It says 50% of new marketing hires will need technical backgrounds. Read that again. Half of the people going into marketing will need have IT, analytics, operations or some combination in their background. In fact, most of the new marketing jobs are going to be in positions that didn't even exist a few years ago. Among the companies surveyed by IDC, the fastest growing marketing job types were in campaign management and other marketing science jobs.

Other predictions IDC made were on the social media, mobile, CRM, content and sales pipeline fronts. IDC predicts 5% of CMOs will adopt a mobile first strategy, and social media growth will actually take place mostly outside of marketing.

As for CRM systems and the sales pipeline, more CRMs will be replaced because they don't integrate so well, and target to deal ratios will improve as more companies turn to automation and analytics. Only by tying marketing to corporate objectives will data savvy marketers own 2013.