Four Things CEOs Should Know About Marketers
CEOs typically operate with a high-level vision of the company, understanding the basics of each department without deep insight into day-to-day operations. So as your company’s leader, you may have signed off on the overall marketing strategy and budget, but you probably don’t have a true understanding of how the marketing team thinks and works on a daily basis. While it may not make sense for you to be involved in the daily operations of your marketing department, it is important to better understand how your marketing employees work best in order to truly help them succeed.
As part of its State of Marketing Technology 2016 study, Walker Sands Communications surveyed more than 300 marketers from entry-level employees to CMOs about the technology they use at work. The report finds marketers are incredibly tech-savvy, but they also feel they aren’t provided with the technology they need to do their jobs effectively. And in many cases, marketers are frustrated because they’re running into internal obstacles and a lack of executive buy-in for tech investment.
While your employees are smart and resourceful enough to get the job done with outdated technology, your marketing department as a whole will not reach its full potential without the tools it needs to be successful. As the CEO, it’s important for your to understand their needs and wants, and communicate with them in a way that acknowledges their concerns and values their priorities.
So with that goal in mind, here are four things all CEOs should know about their marketing teams.
Marketers are tech-savvy
In general, marketers are among the first to adopt the latest gadgets. When asked about the technology they use in their personal lives, 43 percent of marketers say they consider themselves innovators or early adopters. Only 18 percent consider themselves among the late majority or laggards. Whether it’s the latest iPhone app or the newest smartwatch, your marketing team has likely already incorporated it into their personal lives.
Early tech adopters tend to bring this open-mindedness to work. This means that marketers are eager to try the latest tools and incorporate new technology into their day-to-day jobs. They’ll take the time to learn how new tools work and will probably actually be excited about it. Other departments within a typical business — like accounting or sales, for example — might not be as savvy. Keep this in mind when making new technology decisions for your business. Your marketing team expects to be on the cutting edge technology and will get frustrated by outdated tools.
Most think their companies don’t spend enough on martech
When asked the same tech adoption question about their businesses, marketers responded with the opposite sentiment. Only 20 percent say their companies are innovators or early adopters, with 51 percent indicating that they consider their company a late adopter or laggard. Even more shockingly, 51 percent feel their company doesn’t invest in the right amount of technology, and 42 percent say the technology they currently use doesn’t allow them to do their jobs effectively.
To keep your tech-savvy marketing teams happy and productive, it’s important that you provide them with the technology they need. Not only are they open-minded when it comes to new tools, but they’re also unsatisfied with the technology they currently use. Become an early adopter to keep your best employees engaged.
They want to be involved in the decision-making process
When your business does invest in a new marketing tool, your marketing teams want to be involved in the decision-making process. According to the survey, 66 percent of marketers feel they are able to provide input into decisions about new technology purchases. While this number varies depending on the type of technology being purchased, businesses today involve more employees within technology purchase decisions than ever before.
In fact, 57 percent of marketers say three to five people are typically involved in decision-making processes about new technology. And this includes 53 percent of entry-level employees and 55 percent of millennials. To truly make the best decisions when it comes to martech purchases, incorporate insight from all levels of the organization, especially marketers on the front lines who will be using the tools every day.
Some are too dependent on technology
While it’s important to recognize your marketing team’s passion for technology both at work and in their personal lives, it’s also worth noting that marketers can sometimes become too attached to the tools they use. When this happens, creativity can be hindered and marketing strategies become stale.
Invest in the right technology to keep your marketing teams engaged and productive, but also leave room for people to think on their own. Technology will not solve every single issue your marketing department is facing. Take time away from screens to challenge your marketing teams to think outside of the box and really take your business to the next level. Creative people combined with powerful technology can be the perfect recipe for a successful marketing strategy.
Overall, CEOs should keep in mind that their marketing department is comprised of unique individuals who are not only tech-savvy personally, but they’re not afraid to change the status quo at work. Give them the tools they need to do their work effectively, the ability to provide input on technology and the freedom to be creative, and they’ll do their best work.
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By Dave Parro, partner and account director at Walker Sands Communications.
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