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As IT purchasing power and decision making in many organizations shift from the chief information officer to the chief marketing officer, CMOs need to polish their tech knowledge and skills to prepare themselves for a new strategic role, according to IT hiring experts.

The new CMO role is now overlapping that of the CIO but with a sustained focus on branding activities and marketing, according to Rona Borre, CEO of Instant Technology LLC, a Chicago-based IT consulting and hiring firm.

Marketing professionals need to be conversant in issues around content optimization and understand the importance of social media, data analytics and more, she said. The CMO must also know how all these technologies play together.

The altering landscape means that CMOs will face challenges that CIO use to handle, said Kimberly Samuelson, director of marketing and electronic content solution company, Laserfische. This includes how to use technology to market and brand products as well as interact with customers.

For example, research and purchasing decisions are now made using digital technologies and social media has made it possible for customers to broadcast both positive and negative feedback faster and to a much wider audience.

She said the CMO has to be the “customer’s mouthpiece and owner of the customer experience within the company.”

To accomplish this, according to Laura McGarrity, vice president of marketing at recruiting firm Mondo, CMOs must rely on technology tools such as those that track customer behaviour online and mine customer data to aid business decisions.

She said these means the development of a data-drive CMO who understands the advantages of data gathering, data mining and analysis and is able to grasp how big data can provide insights that can boost the bottom line.

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