We’ve previously said we admire Scott Brinker (@chiefmartec) and his Chief Marketing Technologist blog. One of his watershed blogposts and presentations is “Rise of the Marketing Technologist.” In it, Scott clearly admonishes that Marketing “must control its technological destiny.” And his evangelism has been increasingly validated. For example, Laura McLellan (@lauramclellan), a thought leader at one of the biggest analyst firms, Gartner Group, last year predicted that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than their counterpart CIO/CTOs.
While Computerworld Luddites (Ha! Ain’t that funny to say) still imply that IT is not an internal customer-serving entity, the fact remains that while Marketing may not control IT’s budget, it certainly will drive an increasing share of it. Even pro-CIO blog CIO Update is on the bandwagon, conceding “Inevitably, the CMO will have more influence than the CIO on the technology decisions made when purchasing mobile solutions for marketing and defining the mobile strategy to work with new channels like social networks.”
But recently there was another bellweather pointing to not just a “rise,” but a surge. Allinio, being proudly headquartered in Charm City (that’s Baltimore, Maryland for you uninitiated folks) subscribes to the Baltimore Business Journal (yes, the old fashioned hard copy version). BBJ is one of approximately forty weekly B2B newspapers of the American City Business Journals, and like the other publications each week posts a “Top 25” list focusing on a certain topic or B2B vertical. These lists are useful for learning about some of the leading companies right under your nose.
The list of note was the “Largest Software Development Firms in the Baltimore Area.” Unfortunately, unless you have a hardcopy, you can’t see it. The magazine is unenlightened and keeps lists behind a paywall and this list in particular will not be featured until the 2014 book comes out because basically all these annual book of lists are are aggregated content of every weekly list that is published. They are free to annual subscribers but cost extra and it appears that cities construct different lists partially based on their ecosystem (for example, only Baltimore lists the top crab houses in the city). Anyway, we digress.
The real point of this blog is to underscore several companies that made this list. Now, when you think of software development firms, you think of companies that design and create billing systems, trouble ticket systems, human resource systems, etc. And you don’t put “web firms” on this list because they’re well, web firms. But in Baltimore this year several Marketing firms made the list of “software developers” and it makes sense. R2integrated, G1440 Inc., and SmartLogic Solutions all create marketing and mobile applications for both B2B and B2C customers. They don’t deal in SAP or other platforms most of us think as “Enterprise” software – their customers are mainly Marketing organizations. And the tools they use did not exist a few years ago.
So fundamentally, some Marketing departments will not necessarily grow bigger that IT departments within the same company, but rest assured they will be outsourcing to companies like R2i and SmartLogic Solutions to get their digital Marketing initiatives implemented; once again, that doesn’t mean websites and actually implies a myriad of other things that Marketers need to gather, store, analyze, share, and act upon revenue related data. So the surge of the Marketing Technologist is indeed happening (Scott, do you agree?). We wish that American City Business Journals was not so draconian in how they list and share data; we were unable to find other cities in their publishing empire that have put together a similar list this year. We remain curious as to whether those cities follow a similar trend in which what Marketing entities which effectively are agencies are making these “software developer” lists. We do know that the lists can be self-selective, but the bottom line is agencies are now solidly software developers and need to be reckoned with.
Post note: The vessel on the cover of this year’s Baltimore Business Journal Book of Lists illustrated above is Pride of Baltimore II, a topsail schooner home ported not far from our office and an ambassador of Baltimore, Maryland, and United State maritime history. It was ships like her run by privateers that confounded British merchants, resulting in an unwelcome attempt by said navy to destroy the shipyards tucked deeply in Baltimore Harbor from which she and others were built and fitted. Fortunately there was a small outpost in the way by the name of Fort McHenry that showed the greatest naval power on earth that we Marylanders are fiesty SOBs and don’t take kindly to bullying. You hopefully know the rest of the story. (See, besides being thought leaders and experts on Marketing Automation, we know a lot of cools stuff too!) We are always thrilled to see her sailing by our window and always wish her fair seas and following winds…