The lines blurred sometime in the last 10 years, but I don't know exactly when it happened.


Having started my first business at 25 years of age, specializing in technology marketing, I thought I had it all. A marketer who understood technology marketing and who could talk the talk which at that time seemed to be, the height of the dot com boom, the most lucrative marketing position one could hold.


Then of course, someone came along and started talking about company culture, and marketers took a turn to start embellishing the on-boarding process of new recruits, with a mixture of "people marketing" with "technology marketing" - and for a time, that was all the rage. It seemed to be the only thing people were talking about and marketers starting play a role in human resources, giving recruiters and in-house HR managers the tools to "sell their brands" like they were a front line sales executive needing to close the deal in order to reach their quotas.

It's time to appoint a Chief Marketing Technology Officer


How Social Media Revolutionized Marketing 


Social media gave marketers and human resource officers a shake-up, and all of a sudden we all had to go back to school and learn the new rules of engagement, and how we all were going to play together in the new virtual playground and climb the ladder, the Google way.


When I was at school, we still used typewriters. My first job, I convinced my employer, an Advertising Agency entrepreneur to let me type television scripts on an old Mac computer, that did little other than allow me to type, just so I wouldn't have to retype the script everytime their was a change or error. It took some convincing, but eventually, my perseverance paid off and I received the tick of approval.


I had to learn how to use email, albeit reluctantly at first, and then how to use a customer relationship management software (ACT!). Once I had conquered these two, I literally thought I had it made. But of course, I didn't and along came workflow management software, project management software, Google and a whole host of other technologies that forced me to be my own teacher.


By the time social media came along, and I received the first request on Facebook, then not long after LinkedIn (by Andrew Banks, one of the world's most renowned recruitment entrepreneurs), I was determined that I had nothing left in my bank. I could not see myself or anyone else for that matter wasting valuable time, liking each other on social media and becoming voyeurs to people they know and many of whom they don't.


Of course, this dislike for social media was short lived and in order to be a good marketer, I knew I had to either embrace these new ways of communicating or my use-by date would be up as a marketer.


At first, I could not say that I took to social media like a duck to water, but once I eventually caught on, I became obsessed. Not in looking at what other people were doing, but instead finding ways to connect with people who I wanted to connect with in a meaningful way, without being intrusive.

I became this avid blogger on a standard blogging application, gaining traction like I never thought possible. Eventually, I asked my in-house web developer to develop a blog on our website, which at the time, was early compared to others. 


Motivation to Continuously Learn  


My thirst for learning and understanding social media and how it works in a B2B and B2C environment overcame me and my life as a marketer changed. I was no longer just a creative marketer, who could write good copy and understood strategy. I became this person who started to not only learn technology but also find ways in which I could develop other marketing technologies to better understand customers, their habits and ways in which marketers could operate more efficiently and effectively. One technology that I developed is able to save PR departments 40% off their costs, and the latest, well that's another story or another day. Let's just say, it's an absolute game-changer.


I now spend more time training staff on technology, its application and how it can be used to better understand customers and gain more traction in sales and marketing automation processes that lead prospects closer to a sale, faster than ever before. As a company, we no longer encourage our clients to leave the purchasing decisions for marketing technologies to the CTO because our role in ensuring that the right technologies are implemented in the companies in which we market is now more important and closer to the mark then a person trained to understand technology in isolation.


Am I the new Chief Marketing Technology Officer? I would say so. Are people being educated at Universities enough on technology and its role in the marketing process? The answer is no. 


If this doesn't change, we all will be finding our feet, many marketers and CTO officers that are responsible for companies not staying ahead of the game and losing market share to lesser known brands.


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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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