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Q&A: Kim Ann King, CMO, SiteSpect

Officially, Kim Ann King is the CMO of Web optimization company SiteSpect. However, King refers to herself as the chief marketing and technology officer, or “CMTO,” due to her marketing-technology infused skill set—a skill set she says is becoming imperative for the next generation of marketers to have.

Q: Do you think the CMO-CIO relationship is going to take off, or do you think it’s just a fad?

A: In my world, the B2B marketing world, there’s a lot of technology involved in the “lead to revenue management” process. That’s all technology that I’m driving [and]

I’m paying for, so the authority in the budget lies within marketing. Even with the move of budgets and the ownership of technology from IT to marketing, the relationship between the CMO and the CIO has never been more important.

Q: Describe your relationship with IT?

A: We have an IT department and our COO acts as our CIO. I check in with our IT guys a couple of times a month [on] here’s where we’re at, product management, looking at the status of things, looking at upcoming things that we’re going to need, a lot of  planning, a lot of communicating back and forth, [such as] if I see [a problem] happening, what should we do about it? Almost always, it’s a technical solution and that just didn’t used to be the case.

Q: What kind of challenges do you face when it comes to balancing marketing and IT?

A: When I started in marketing 30 years ago, I really thought that marketing was all about creative, strategic advertising, and really cool taglines. While that’s still true today, there’s definitely this need for technical skills. I really see the “new marketing” as being this generation of marketers, coming out, who are so amazing in that they know all this stuff. They know how to program. They know regular expressions. They know how to analyze the analytics on the website.

Q: What are the benefits of having a hybrid position and mixing marketing and technology?

A: It gives you some autonomy in getting what you really need to get done. As long as I make my case, I have money in the budget, and I can find someone to help me implement it…I can get done what I really need to get done. Being able to move with such agility is extremely important in this marketplace.

Q: What’s driving the marketer to wear both hats and be skilled in marketing and technology?

A: Overall, we’re just more technical. We’re setting up home networks at home. People are creating their own mobile apps. Everyone interacts with social media…. That’s just the way society’s going. That’s what the economy demands. It’s the evolution of who we are and it definitely plays out in the marketing role.

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