LONDON: Almost two thirds of UK marketers believe that an understanding of marketing technologies has become essential to career success, a new study has shown, with a similar proportion reporting that their organisation now has a role for a chief marketing technologist.

Marketing and analytics platform DataXu surveyed 532 senior marketers in Europe – including 156 in the UK – and the US managing annual budgets of $750,000 (£570,000) or more for its report, Modernizing The Mix: Transforming Marketing Through Technology and Analytics.

This found that marketers still see creativity as their most important skill, being cited by 68% of UK respondents, but an understanding of martech is not far behind at 64%.

That is reflected in the fact that 63% reported already having a chief marketing technologist (CMT), or a senior marketer focusing on technology, analytics and data, in their organisation.

And when looking at those companies who do not currently have a CMT role in place, 21% of UK respondents stated their company was looking to create this position over the next year.

The rise of the CMT is also being accompanied by a shift to bring management of marketing technology in-house – half (51%) of UK marketers expect to be doing more of this by 2017 – a trend driven by a combination of cost-effectiveness and greater transparency.

"Unlike a traditional CMO role, the CMT role bridges the knowledge gap between marketing and technology by offering expertise in both disciplines," said Chris Le May, SVP and Managing Director/Europe & Emerging Markets at DataXu.

"It also brings, at board level, a new perspective from someone who can advise and lead on areas such as procurement, management of marketing technologies and the team structure required below them," he added.

Warc's Toolkit 2016 observed the difficulties organisations face in recruiting and keeping staff possessing the skillsets that are now necessary and suggested that agencies could fill the gap in the short term.

To build skills in-house, it recommended organisations adopt an operating model that allows them to cluster the newly required technical skills within centres of excellence.

For example, the 'scientists' can be kept in a central team to manage and develop data-led insights, while the 'creatives' can remain in the field, working on more personal customer engagement and insight. But strong cross-skilled leadership is required.

Data sourced from DataXu; additional content by Warc staff