My son recently asked me what kind of job he should get when he grows up. I’ve seen so much change in my career. I somehow lucked out and got into digital marketing at a key time when the industry is in a period of explosive growth, but I was wondering what would be next. The prospect of AI and more automation eating away at media buyer jobs is troublesome, and platforms like Squarespace are starting to nip at the heels of CMS’s like WordPress and Drupal so traditional website-development jobs might start to drop away, but one job is coming up fast and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down: Marketing Technologist.

The Marketing Technologist bridges worlds and builds upon the complexity and comprehensiveness of businesses. They build systems that use a lot of new technology with marketers who use them.

Practically speaking, marketing technologists at most companies do things like:

  • Enhance connections between the CMS, Marketing Automation Platform, and CRM
  • Develop new marketing automation workflows like automatically emailing clients a thank you package after they’re marked as “Closed – Won” in the CRM
  • Connect attribution data to the correct marketing source such as moving sales value information from CRM into Google Ads
  • Choose CMS plugins and help guide developers on how to implement marketing technologies
  • Defining new prospect tagging & data enhancement strategies

At many companies out there, they’re stuck doing the work that will soon fall firmly under marketing’s umbrella (but marketing hasn’t caught up to the tech skills required to do the work). Many marketers responsible for email can’t set up a complex drip campaign. As more marketers start to take back these activities, the marketing technologists will be freed up to spend more time on enhancing and connecting.

We’ve seen this same shift in industrial areas. Oil refineries hire operators who control the plant, not through turning wheels and pulling on levers, but through a screen. Industrial automation specialists setup that screen and those controls, and the same thing will happen with marketing, except the marketing technologists will drive that change. That change will happen company by company, agency by agency, and we’ll need decades of concerted effort.

Climbing the Corporate Ladder

As the role evolves into a key driver for companies who need technically sophisticated marketing, more Chief Marketing Technologist Roles will start to be developed. In some organizations, it’ll be so important that the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) will have a very high focus on Marketing Technology and may have even come up through the ranks as a Marketing Technologist.

Automate the Automators?

The interesting part about where we’re at today is that adoption is fairly low and we’re still in the early days of marketing automation and marketing technology. Yes, many companies are using CRM, but most miss out on the value of connecting sales with marketing through their CRM. There’s TONS of work that will need to be done and there are plenty of companies, big and small, that need marketing technologists to make that connection for them.

The platforms and tech will change over the years, but the basics of business analysis, application of business logic, and the vital skill of problem-solving will always be in demand. That’s why I’m going to encourage my kids to learn a blend of IT, systems, marketing, and analysis. Because if they love it and get into marketing technology, they’ll have a promising career ahead of them in a growing industry.

What Does the Future Hold?

Time will show how the Marketing Technologist evolves within our ever-changing industry. But in the meantime:

Pinky: Gee, Brain. What are we going to do tonight?

The Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world.