Do all marketers really need to be tech-savvy?

Catherine Howard, UK and Ireland marketing director at Atos, argues tech know-how isn’t the be all and end all in today’s data-driven world

I remember standing defiantly in my form tutor’s room aged 15, stating that yes, I was dropping GCSE IT and yes, it was after one week. Why? The same reason I’m sometimes hesitant when people ask me technical questions when they find out where I work… because I’m one of the least tech-savvy people you’ll meet or, as someone recently described me, a reluctant user.

As the marketing director for one of the world’s largest digital services organisations, this is a difficult thing to admit, but a really important one. And my personal development quest is to move from being a reluctant user to a rapacious user, or in other words, “…someone who is eager to try new technology when offered and likes to think they are ahead of the crowd when doing so”.

In a world where new technologies are available constantly, surely it’s essential for marketers to be tech-savvy? But marketing’s fundamentally about understanding what clients want, delivering business growth and providing brand differentiation or relevance through creativity – and to me, these things won’t change. My focus remains on these areas, underpinned by developing a team of leading pioneers and using technology as an enabler where it provides us with greater ROI, efficiencies or insight.

It’s the application of the technology that provides the value. Ensuring you plan, research and deploy new technologies or digital services where it makes sense will in turn enable benefits to be realised. CRM systems, automation platforms and analysis software can all support driving deeper client insight – as long as you have a plan for how they’ll link together, plus the expertise in place to undertake analysis of the data at your fingertips.

And this is the biggest lesson I’ve learned on my journey to becoming more tech-savvy; it’s not about being an expert tech user. It’s about creating a strategic roadmap for your tech and having an overall understanding, getting the right skills mix in your team and having an enthusiastic approach to new tools. There are loads out there, so give one or two a try – you never know, you might actually become one of those rapacious users I was talking about.

B2B Marketing Q2 16/17

Our Q2 magazine is all about tech: in it we examine why a data-first mindset is critical for marketing success, get to grips with the battle for tech ownership between the CMO and CIO, and explore the ambiguity behind the in-demand – yet often misunderstood – data scientist role.

Download your copy

Do all marketers really need to be tech-savvy?