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Marketing view: The importance of technology

According to US business review Insider Intelligence, marketing tech spending is set to grow by 14.3% this year and surpass $20 billion for the first time.

This forecast involved insight from companies such as Adobe, Salesforce, HubSpot and Iterable.

With so much importance placed on the growth of marketing tech, we spoke to CMOs and leading marketers about its importance and it seems for most that while tech is integral, it only works alongside human innovation and creativity.

You need tech for great marketing

Kipp Bodnar, CMO of HubSpot: “We all operate in an increasingly complex world and it is very challenging to do great marketing without the right tech – particularly when it comes to data privacy. You can’t effectively engage a customer or prospective customers without tech to automate privacy controls and the proper messaging and segmentation for every audience.”

Tech unlocks data

Alex Latham, Chip CMO: “[Tech is] everything. Good marketing is a mixture of creativity and data. Technology enables creative decisions to be taken quickly and executed upon. It also unlocks the data and enables better decision making from a creative and audience standpoint.”

Tech stacks must support business objectives

Erin McCallion, GumGum CMO: It’s critical. The sophistication, scale and complexity involved in delivering effective marketing in today’s always-on world is only possible through technology. To succeed, marketers must have a tech stack that supports their business objectives. Whether it’s identifying and targeting the right audiences at scale, delivering strong, impactful creatives or measuring success using metrics that matter, technology plays a vital role.”

You still need creativity

Greg Brooks, CMO of Mindshare: “[Tech is] very [important], but it is not everything. The best tech in the world will not make you a great marketer. You need people and process as well as good tech. You also need innovation and creativity. A lot of focus goes on technology and rightly so, but you need a balance.”

I can’t imagine not having martech

Guild CMO, Michelle Goodall: “[Tech is] not as important as brilliant people, a clear strategy, creativity, good measurement, insightful analysis and continual optimisation. I can’t imagine not having a martech stack – and mine is probably much smaller than many marketers – but as with any technology, it’s the question you ask of it that’s the important thing.”

Technology is no more than an enabler

Marketing Director at the Ozone Project, Bryan Scott: “Technology is as essential in modern marketing as it is in every other industry sector. What’s even more important is making sure you find the tools and services that work well for you at the right time in your organisation’s growth journey. However, I would also caveat this by saying that technology is usually no more than an enabler – something that makes life easier, more efficient and more effective – but it is rarely a replacement for smart and creative thinking. I read once that ‘strategy without execution is like a table without legs’, and needless to say the role technology can play is in ensuring we’ve got the sturdiest, most enduring table going.”

Technology can become a distraction

Director of Brand Strategy at Little Dot Studios, Jade Raad: “Like modern life, technology and innovation is in many cases there to help us do things quicker, more efficiently, cheaper, better. But in many instances, technology can also hinder and become a distraction limiting thinking and often restricting creative. We have to remember that marketing at its core is about influence through human connection. Technology needs to compliment it and not blindside us.”

Tech is critical but limited

CMO of Outbrain, Paul Knegten: “[Tech is] critical, but it’s limited. Necessary but insufficient. Marketers are tasked with trying to rewire the connections of synapses in people’s brains. That’s not a simple math equation we can solve; it’s an emotional, personal, often intangible result we’re trying to influence with our marketing.”

Technology helps with accuracy

Sprout Social’s Head of Marketing, Cat Anderson: Technology is modern marketing – and vice versa! In terms of calculating ROI and impact, of course there’s still a place for above the line or traditional marketing efforts, but compared to the precise insights you get with digital efforts, I find them impossible to compare.

I used to work in a traditional advertising agency and never could get my head around the vague ROI reports that would be created based on radio and TV ads or outdoor billboards. Understanding how, why and when your audience interacts with your marketing is integral – and it simply didn’t exist with any degree of accuracy before technology entered the scene.”

Technology is still second to marketers

Nate Skinner, CMO at Onfido: “Technology is critical to modern marketing but it still comes second to marketers who can put themselves in their customers’ or prospects’ shoes, and educate them on how a product or service can help them. Fundamentally, if technology evolves to this point – it will be a game-changer in marketing. But as it stands, it needs to be used by professionals who can understand a customer problem and demonstrate how digital can accelerate the solution.”

Tech helps marketers deliver the right message at the right time

Karen Budell, VP Marketing at Momentive: “We can’t know everything all the time, and we turn to technology for most of our information. Technology fuels many facets of modern marketing. This ranges from traditional advertising like out-of-home to running digital campaigns. Technology also helps brands from B2C to B2B track brand health and deliver content to their key audiences. The amount of time spent on mobile phones and connected devices also continues to increase. Technology helps marketers deliver the right message at the right time. And, it also helps us better understand the right people to reach. Even with GDPR and data-privacy laws, the data behind modern marketing tools is essential to being an effective marketer.”