Where does the CMTO fit into the Agency World?

November 7, 2017

Blog | Strategy | Where does the CMTO fit into the Agency World?
where does the cmto fit into the agency world?

If you’ve been around major league baseball sometime in the last two decades, you’ve probably known or heard of the legendary Yankees closer, Mariano Rivera. For those who don’t know baseball, a closer is a type of pitcher who you need on your team to secure your win at the end of the game. Each time Mariano took to the field, the stadium would roar and the Metallica song, “Enter Sandman” would blast. Mariano was the closer that teams wanted because he was one of, if not the best man for the job.

Enter the Chief Marketing Technology Officer (CMTO), or Chief Marketing Technologist, the Mariano Rivera of marketing teams. This is the position that you’ve been hearing about for the last few years. The role every Fortune 500 Company has been staffing up for in order to begin the process of “Digital Transformation” for their companies. They’re the ones that are a hybrid of the CTO and the CMO, understanding both roles, capable of doing “all the jobs”, and completing all the ever evolving marketing initiatives on time, even under immense pressure to understand the already overwhelming martech landscape (5600+ martech products!) which continues to grow at a rapid rate.

Because of this new pressure in the industry to go “digital”, budgets are more focused on keeping up with existing and new competitors and “staying relevant,” rather than on typical marketing spends. Gone are the days of throwing **** at the wall and seeing if it sticks. Business and marketing decisions are founded on sound evidence and driven by business intelligence tools, marketing analytics suites, and seas of information provided by DMPs, CDPs, and the many new martech tools flooding the space.

Where do CMTOs fit in with a traditional agency model?

For so long agencies have been the ones that have helped drive innovation and push the brand forward through customer engagement. The focus of the CMTO, much like the agency, is the customer, but at a much different vantage point. The customer journey is no longer at a single mobile touchpoint or brand website, but across many different touchpoints in the customer’s path: digital and physical, online and offline, desktop and mobile. This omnichannel journey is one that the CMTO understands both from the customer engagement perspective and the marketing technology side, and connecting the dots is the challenge they’ve come to help marketing and technology teams conquer.

Agencies need to shift their thinking in order to stay relevant and to keep moving forward. Here are some things you should do when navigating this move.

Help ease the pressure on the CMTO

Again, the CMTO is being brought in to help the organization with their digital transformation strategy, or to create that strategy. Help them by learning about the pressure points of the organization and the places where the CMTO will be trying to attack first.

  • Does the organization have the proper technology implemented/integrated?
  • Are they able to collect and analyze data?
  • What systems are they going to need in place to help them transform?

Find a capable technology partner

Having the right technology partner is imperative to the success of the CMTO. Many organizations may have internal IT groups who’ve been charged with fixing, integrating, and hacking existing systems in order to do what they’ve needed to get done for years. Some of these systems are so overly complex that there’s been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears shed over them, making it difficult to think of other solutions to replace these “precious” pieces of software.

Find a technology partner that will weigh the pros and cons equally, and have an unbiased view. Marketing technology options, according to Scott Brinker the “Chief of MarTech,” have grown by over 39 percent over the last year. Sounds overwhelming right? Well… it is. Find a partner that will navigate this sea of technology for you. Finally find a partner who delivers. Nothing is worse than investing a lot of money, time, and energy into solutions that never see the light of day. Find someone who is successful, has proven experience, and will ultimately make you and your agency look like rockstars.

Understand the business as a whole

As agencies/partners, we often get brought into a single business unit and are asked to design and/or build a solution for a small part of a brand with little or no exposure to the many other moving parts. Working in silos is not only ineffective, it can be detrimental as decisions made may impact other areas of the business in negative ways. Taking a step back to see how strategic decisions may impact other areas of the brand’s business is our recommendation to prevent issues from arising, and to create a more cohesive brand experience. Ask things like: How can our solutions help various business units within the company? How can they bring cohesion and control to what is typically a chaotic workflow, or martech stack?

Figure out the new role of your agency

To reiterate everything I’ve said already, the agency landscape has changed and so must your organization if it’s going to survive. CMTO organizations don’t care about your Cannes, Mashie, or Webby awards. They want and need to interact with their customers on an entirely different playing field.  How are you going to do that for them?

GeekHive, founded in 1997, is a leading domestic MarTech Enablement partner. We know what it takes to create a successful digital program from strategy to implementation to ongoing refinement and support and we love nothing more than coming up with technical solutions and strategies to solve the complex MarTech puzzles our clients face. When failure isn’t an option, our partners count on us, and we make it our personal mission to exceed their expectations, every time.

Dave Cardine, UX and Creative Director, GeekHive

Dave Cardine

Marketing Technologist
  • CMTO
  • Digital Transformation
  • Marketing Technology
  • MarTech

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