LONDON: Chief marketing officers (CMO) grappling with a complex job are facing a new threat, as a study says a majority of marketers expect the role of chief marketing technologist (CMT) to become increasingly important.

DataXu, a provider of programmatic software, surveyed 250 decision-making UK marketers for its report, The New Marketer: How Data and Technology are Driving the Rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist, and found seven in ten respondents believed that more brands will be recruiting for this role over the next five years.

Just over one third (35%) thought the CMT role has already become so essential that it will replace the traditional CMO role; and 31% said they would like to take on this role themselves.

But more (53%) felt there was room for both a CMO and a CMT, or at least a senior marketer dedicated to exploring the use of technology.

"Whichever route they take – hiring a CMT or fortifying the CMO role and marketing division with enhanced technological capabilities – proactive moves need to be made now to equip businesses for a tech-focused future," stated Chris Le May, DataXu's managing director, UK & Nordics.

"Brands need to invest more in the right talent to fully harness the power of data-driven marketing," he added.

Already, 34% of marketers say half of the requirements of their role revolve around technology and 38% anticipate their job will become more dependent on it in the next five years.

But if the direction of travel is clear, the appropriate response is less so. Some 37% of respondents believed that the traditional marketing role would become redundant in favour of a more technology-focussed role, but 39% disagreed.

And a significant minority questioned the whole idea of CMTs and tech-focused marketers: just over one quarter (26%) said this would not be a continuing trend.

DataXu saw the marketing industry seeking the middle ground, with 51% of marketers saying CMOs and CMTs should have joint responsibility over marketing technology.

And 49% agreed that the CMO and CMT should both sit at board level, suggesting that marketing and technology should not just be siloed domains, but have an increasingly important impact on a business overall.

Data sourced from DataXu; additional content by Warc staff