Here's some good news for brand marketers: In five years, you might be the ones holding your company's technology pursestrings.
According to recent findings from Gartner, by 2017 the chief marketing officer will be responsible for more technology spending than the chief information officer. A comparison of IT and Marketing department budgets for 2011 shows that Marketing is around a 10 percent share of revenue vs. a 3.6 percent share of revenue for IT, according to Gartner. Whereas Marketing departments expect their average budget to increase about 9 percent, the average increase for IT departments will be about 4.7 percent.
Marketing departments have become big spenders on technology, driven by the need to track interactions and buying activity by customers across many channels. Customers now have many ways of interacting with a company — by phone, mail, and online. Increasingly, they're using mobile devices and social media, not just for personal reasons, but to conduct business.
The result for companies like Motorola Solutions is that the company's Chief Marketing Officer, Eduardo Conrado, spends over half of his budget on the technology he needs to manage programs including online marketing and social media, reports the Wall Street Journal. While the company's CIO had responsibility for technology focused on marketing previously, today it is Conrado who manages a technology team that works with the IT department. "Marketing departments are becoming more technology centric," Conrado told the Journal.
Not surprisingly, technology companies have noticed the shift — so they are now aiming their own brand and product marketing efforts squarely at marketing executives. IBM, for example, is actively targeting Chief Marketing Officers. Last month, the company hosted a two-day event for both marketing and technology executives. IBM's CEO, Virginia Rometty, attended the event. Yuchun Lee, an IBM VP, told the Journal that the company has invested $3 billion to acquire at least three companies involved in analyzing online customer interactions and social media data.
This is nothing new for IBM. Two years ago, IBM global analytics leader Dr. Michael Haydock told brandchannel that some IBM customers were using advanced predictive analysis to direct only relevant marketing messaged to customers. They are rebalancing their marketing budgets for maximum efficiency and investing less money in customer who are at the lower end of the buying scale.
When it comes to social media, predictive analysis can be used to assess how customers respond via social media and model what behavior might occur. While most brand marketing organizations still view social media and traditional media separately, Dr. Haydock says predictive analysis can draw a connection between the two.
Promod Haque of venture capital firm Norwest Venture Partners, who attended the IBM event, told The Wall Street Journal, "This is clearly a new area they will focus on. The marketing guy is going to become another target for IBM to sell products and services." With IBM paying this kind of attention to marketing departments, other technology companies can't be far behind.