A Glimpse of the Future . . . Why Technology Matters To CMOs and Marketing Leaders Now More Than Ever

Sheryl Pattek
Vice President, Executive Partner
September 30, 2013

I was fortunate to participate in a recent Forbes CMO Network invitation only event designed to explore how technology is presenting new ways for CMOs to think about, plan, and execute their marketing strategies.

The event, “Funding the Next Wave of Digital Disruption: An Insider’s View of the New Companies & Technologies Transforming Marketing,” hosted at the offices of leading venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) provided a unique insider’s view of the newest cutting-edge companies and technologies coming out of Silicon Valley.

I left the event with an even stronger belief that marketing and technology are forever intertwined. And, as highlighted in my "The CMO’s Role In Technology Purchasing" report (subscription required), it’s time to ramp up your technology IQ now or risk being left behind. Why now?

  1. Technology innovation to enhance customer engagement is coming fast and furious. Since 1995, legendary Mary Meeker has accurately predicted the most important technology dynamics and their impact on business and consumers, from the rise of the Internet to the spread of mobile computing and the growing importance of China. Since joining KPCB in 2010, Mary’s track record of investing in companies that matter has been impressive. Clearly, when Mary talks, the industry listens. And it was no different at this event. Mary provided a crisp and invigorating outlook for important evolving technology trends in social, commerce, media, and mobile monetization, what Mary calls “the reimagination of everything.” Here at Forrester, James McQuivey, our leading analyst and author on this subject (Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation), refers to this phenomena as digital disruption, we agree with Mary’s premise that every conceivable human activity is in the process of being disrupted and transformed — from connectivity (mobile phones) to purchases and cash registers (Square), manufacturing (3D printers), and even education (Codecademy).
  2. Influence is rising in importance. Up to 80% of today’s buyers begin their purchase journey with a referral from their network. With a referral in hand, buyers control the rest of their purchase journey, trusting validation and messaging from their network significantly more than from vendors. With this in mind, you must understand and begin to incorporate influence into your brand strategy. Look to new vendors that measure and monitor influence such as Klout and Appinions to explore the possibilities. My upcoming report, “How To Build A Strong B2B Brand” (subscription required), will explore this subject in more detail and provide practical advice on how to incorporate influence into your brand strategy.
  3. Curating content effectively is the final frontier. There is no doubt that the right content at the right time in the right context helps customers solve their business problems. But, at Forrester, we hear over and over again how CMOs are challenged to create and curate great content customers care about, want to buy into, participate in and share with peers and social media connections. Content curation capabilities developed by Flipboard provide an interesting alternative to solving this challenge. By collecting and curating information and stories into magazines on any topic imaginable, Flipboard provides a platform for businesses to build their thought leadership and tell their brand story in new ways. Cisco Futurist Feed  is just one example of how brands are putting technology such as Flipboard into practice.

For CMOs, staying current on technology and understanding how to incorporate tech into your strategy is becoming more and more complex. You must have a defined way to investigate and incorporate the right technology into your go-to-market strategy. Learn how you should approach developing your marketing technology strategy in my “The CMO's Role In Technology Purchasing” report (subscription required).

Are you keeping up with new technology advances? Are you making the right technology decisions? I’d love to hear your comments and perspectives about this topic. Please reach out to me at via email, on my blog, or on my Twitter account with your thoughts.

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