What it Really Means to Be a Marketing Technologist

(Reading time: approximately 4 minutes)  A version of this post was originally published here.

 

As a marketing technologist you have to be a scrappy innovator.

 

There’s no better feeling than making something out of nothing. That’s what gets me up in the morning. That unknown feeling. Every day at work I am building something from scratch. I’m helping to grow a business by learning on the fly and tweaking the processes that I have put in place. I’m scrappy. I’m resourceful. And I love utilizing new technologies.

 

Scott Perry, the VP of Technology at SapientNitro, said ‘It’s fascinating to think about how every single interaction that happens in marketing is created, built, managed, delivered, experienced and measure by technology.”

 

Publications are banging off articles titled “The Rise of The Unicorn — Why Marketing Technologists Will Rule Modern Marketing.” Now, I don’t think I’m a ‘unicorn’ by any means but I could at the very least be a mutt in this new litter of marketers.

 

The definition of marketing has drastically shifted over the past few years. I can no longer say I am a marketer (or digital marketer). I’m a marketing technologist. There’s no two ways about it. Ugh. It feels buzzword-y to even say that but hey, all my industry does is spit buzzwords day in and day out.

 

I’m marketing to an empowered, connected audience. In order to have a comprehensive understanding of my business there is so much I need to know. I need to choose the right technology tools that can prove business value. I need to always be testing to see what works and what doesn’t. I need to be agile. I need to act quickly but with a sense of certainty.

 

You need to learn from the best and challenge yourself to be better.

 

At times I feel like I’m in over my head and am struggling to stay afloat. I’m constantly honing my tech skills, learning new programming languages, diagnosing why a piece of javascript is breaking one my landing pages, coming up with creative marketing stunts, creating storyboards, writing blog posts, designing infographics from scratch and evaluating if certain SaaS platforms are a fit for my company.

 

My eyes are glued to Product Hunt, GrowthHackers and HackerNews day in and day out. I know how competitive it is out there, I know there are other marketers who are doing the same and I want to stay in the race.

 

It’s not easy. I’m constantly being reminded of how to do better. When I see Uber/Airbnb/Dropbox pull some crazy stunt that gets boat loads of press, I feel the pressure pushing down on my back to growth hack. Even though I know these ‘startups’ (if we can even call them that) are established and have huge creative minds and budgets to come up with these campaigns, all I can think of is why didn’t I think of that stunt first.

 

I have major moments of self-doubt and self-criticism, but what I’ve realized is everyone else does too, whether they publicize it or not. I keep in mind that from every one creative marketing growth hack or word-of-mouth stunt that makes it into the tech publications, there are about a hundred (or thousand) that bombed. This fires me up. You never know what sticks until you try.

 

As a marketing technologist you need to have a hand in everything. Growth, sales, and creative.

 

At times I feel like I work in my own silo only because I can’t fully be a part of one team. I’m part growth, part sales, part business development, part developer, part designer, and dare I say part hacker. It’s a lot to juggle.

 

I’ve had a few people ask me how I got to where I am today (which I think is insane going back to the whole ‘everyone is faking it and no one knows what they’re doing‘), but I can only attribute most of my successes to mixing technology and analytics into my marketing.

 

I urge you to go take a coding class, be able to fix things on the fly and not have to rely on your dev team to hash out your to-dos. It’s so empowering, trust me.

 

You must stay on top of your game.

 

You have to give people a reason to talk about your company, brand or business. You have to invoke genuine emotion. Have your true north be growth. Focus on ways to grow your community and your audience and ask yourself, “Will this get me more fans, more users, more support?” If the answer is yes, try it. Test it. Monitor it. Revise it. I’m excited to see what you come up with.

 

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