CMO Hot Seat: They Need To Spend Less On Martech, More On Training

A recent Gartner study shows that martech spending went up in 2018 and investment in in-house labor went down. And Michael Korch, head of marketing at Full Circle Insights, isn’t happy about it. 

For one thing, he argues that CMOs are throwing money at too many platforms, and not consolidating their systems into one source of “data truth.”  

For another, they’re not protecting their own careers. To avoid joining the parade of fired CMOs out the door, they have to learn how to use the technology they’ve bought and prove that it’s helping the bottom line. 

“Long gone are the days when marketing is the arts and crafts department,” Korch says. “Sure, you need compelling visuals, and words, but when you want a seat at the executive table, you have to show the alignment with pipeline and revenue.” 

That requires a grasp of attribution, the nomenclature of which is changing by the day.



“If you look at the number of organizations that are excelling at attribution measurement across product lines and geographies, it’s a small group,” Korch says. 

What can CMOs do about it? 

“You have to set up a measurement network that looks across the full funnel in real-time,” Korch answers. “In the finance world, we have a world standard of accounting principles--people go to jail to if  they don’t follow it.” 

CMOs should have a similar standard. 

“The CMOS that have done well are in close conversation and alignment with the CFO,” Korch contends. “They’re singing from same hymnal.” 

Finally, companies are not training staff,  least of all in the above science. 

“Folks who are just starting their careers are not understanding the math, and that’s causing a real challenge,” Korch adds. They’ve never heard of Marketo and Salesforce. 

There’s a possible solution for that: GreenFig, a startup based in Bend, OR. It trains people just out of college in “what the work world really needs,” says Korch, who is a mentor for the program. In many cases, students take the course before they have a job--and they're more likely to be hired as a result. 

Full Circle is a marketing tech company that produces a product native to Providing a one-stop dashboard for B2B clients, it’s in a position to see if their martech investments are paying off. 

The imperative to attribute results, manage data in disparate systems and train staff starts at the C level. And most of that falls on the shoulders of the CMO. 

“More than any other department, marketing has a hand in the entire lifecycle of the customer,” Korch observes.

The impact on email? “Email is an incredibly valuable tool, and it’s part of what’s exciting,” Korch says. 

He adds that the data available now—and the personalization and context—can dramatically improve email results.

For the record, Gartner reports that martech received 29% of the average marketing budget in 2019  And 25% of that spend is going to search, email and websites, and 8.9% to analytics platform while in-house labor lost share, according to a report on the study in Martech Today.  



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