If you happened to be in the vicinity of New York City’s Jacob Javits Convention Center during Comic Con, you probably noticed more than a few attendees dressed as their favorite dynamic duos. In this age of increasingly complex ad and e-commerce tech, however, there’s one pair that’s in way more need of fans—the CMO and CTO.
Historically at odds with one another, CMOs and CTOs now, more than ever, need to come together to best determine which solution will have the most impact and help their business grow. Otherwise, we’ll never eliminate the lingering mentality of our industry’s early days where in-house solutions were built with a "see what sticks mentality" and the two had competing plans and schedules for deployment requiring appeals to the CEO for resources.
When a CMO and CTO are aligned, they will inevitably begin to speak a mutually understood language that will benefit them both—from streamlining processes to CMOs assisting CTOs in prioritization by creating a "protective dome" around them, to CTOs thinking with a CMO hat on. But, even more importantly, they can then make more informed requests of one another for access to the divergent data sources—from clients, consultants, and suppliers—with which they work and are needed to understand what tech is working effectively. When such information is shared, they can start seeing how their business is performing on multiple platforms—mobile, web, and other entities.
Simultaneously, there’s an improvement for the organization from a people standpoint. If the CMO and CTO create cross-disciplinary teams that have experience in both marketing and tech, then the old siloed structure of the past disappears in favor of a work environment that’s more like a lovefest. This is especially important when you consider the hundreds of different vendors out there now that need to be evaluated for what their tech can bring to a business. Each one claims to be the best at what it does. Moreover, there’s the issue of the 60-page RFPs that need to be sifted through. It’s a gargantuan task, so only a team that understands how both marketing and tech are needed to improve a company’s bottom line can be able to identify the companies with "the next big idea" with whom it should be partnering.
Beyond understanding what might work best, there’s also the essential element of testing the claims of a vendor and such hybrid teams are a necessary component to the continual evaluation required to figure out what’s working, what isn’t, and what should be changed. We all know that segmenting out data from the various sources it’s obtained from is difficult if you’re trying to figure out how one technology is performing better than another when it comes to the standpoint of conversions and profitability. Plus, there’s the issue of bandwidth. It’s a regular challenge when it comes to effectively evaluating a business model. Such an arrangement can contribute to a more effective management of what’s being spent, especially given the number of locations where you’ll need to reach a target audience with the rise of omni-channel engagement opportunities—physical locations, mobile, and, of course, the web.
In this time of the new "new" things, it’s not time for the C-suite to expand or contract, but instead, it’s time for the CMO and CTO to recognize the value of interdisciplinary thinking. Access to each other’s data helps better determine what’s working. Teams that involve marketing and tech can assist one another in understanding the claims made by a vendor. Claims that involve data are then more easily evaluated based on performance across channels. With such a relationship in place, CMOs and CTOs can truly transform a business’s marketing efforts.
—Greg Coleman is President of Criteo, a leader in digital performance display advertising. He was formerly the president and Chief Revenue Officer at the Huffington Post and the EVP of global sales at Yahoo. Follow Criteo on Twitter at @Criteo.