Is The CMO Responsible For Digital Technology Decisions?

Marketing Technology

With the adoption of technology in the personal and commercial spheres ramping up to breakneck speed, the need for clear objectives for key business personnel like CMOs has never been greater. CMOs need to know what their responsibilities are. It may seem like a question with an obvious answer, but the reality of tech and business has made the answer much less clear than it once was. It can be argued that the role of the CMO has changed dramatically in recent years, far more than it has changed at any time since CMOs first came into existence. Marketing and tech are now inextricably interwoven and are unlikely to separate anytime in the foreseeable future.

Given the importance of tech in marketing and the necessity to make marketing efforts successful for the growth and maintenance of business, CMOs must be included in the decision-making process related to digital technology. When it comes to anything to do with marketing and customer engagement, including tech decisions, the CMO needs to be consulted. What tech a business uses, how it uses it and what changes need to be made—all of these choices should be made with the input of the CMO in today’s modern business.

Marketing and Tech—Ways Businesses are Investing in Technology

Saying that spending on marketing-related technology is increasing is an understatement at this point in time. In fact, the 1% of business spending that is common for marketing technology in the past few years is expected to grow to 10% by 2025. That is a huge increase, one that gives a clear indication of why key marketing decision makers, CMOs to be specific, are going to be much more involved in making tech decisions in the coming years. Some of the areas that are primary focuses for business spending today include:


CRM or customer relationship management software is drawing heavy investment from a wide range of industries because it offers an efficient way to manage and analyze the data produced from customer interactions. A single interaction might not tell a business too much about its overall market, but a thousand interactions do begin to paint a picture. When so many interactions are added up over the years, the potential for gaining important insights into how customers behave and react to the activities of a business is huge. CRM is an area where CMOs and CIOs can come together to learn an incredible amount of information about their market.

Digital Marketing

Marketing used to fall under the category of creative work much more than it did technical work, but modern tech has greatly blurred those boundaries. Marketing teams are engaging with consumers through a variety of digital platforms—with more and more platforms popping up regularly. Keeping up with the digital marketing options and what tools are effective at any given moment is a significant task, one that requires ongoing investment from businesses. Digital marketing is only expected to take a bigger piece of the marketing budget pie in the coming years. CMOs are the leaders of marketing for their perspective businesses. They certainly need the help of CIOs to implement their ideas, but in the end, it is the CMOs who are best equipped to choose a path forward in the marketing arena for businesses.

Marketing Automation

All the digital marketing opportunities available quickly create situations where human marketing teams cannot keep up with all the tasks on their plate. Marketing automation offers tools to automate many of the basic tasks that are required for businesses to keep their customers engaged and satisfied with their experiences. Automation can reach out to share new offerings from businesses, as well as react to actions performed by customers as they reach out to companies. Automated chat options on company websites are one example of how automation has grown increasingly prevalent and essentially required for businesses that want to stay on top of all the expectations that consumers have.

CMO Responsibilities for Digital Tech Decisions

Once it becomes clear how much marketing and technology are combined in today’s business environment, it becomes obvious that the role of the CMO must include participating in tech decisions. CMOs do not necessarily always have to be the leader in the decisions a company makes regarding its technology, but in most instances, they should be included in the decision-making process.

There are a few ways to determine if a tech decision requires the CMO, including:

  • Does it involve marketing? If the technology decision in question has anything to do with company branding, consumer interaction, or other marketing focus, the CMO most definitely needs to be involved.
  • Does it involve customer interaction? The marketing team specializes in creating and developing customer relationships. If the technology involves customer relationship management, the CMO needs to be involved.

There are technology decisions that may not need the input of the CMO, or at least they do not require the CMO to lead the way. For example, deciding which servers are best for the company does not involve marketing. It is clearly a hard tech decision, which is more appropriate for the CIO.

Ideally, CMOs and CIOs should be working together to make tech decisions for the company. The more they can work together and contribute their expertise, the better the company will be able to navigate the complex future of businesses and technology.