11 June 2013

CMO and CIO, friend or foe?

Tags:Strategy, Innovation

There's a lot of talk in today's media about the so-called rivalry between the CMO and the CIO. Both roles are growing rapidly in both influence and scope, with new technologies and the increasing demand for accountability propelling their growth.

The digital age has seen big data, marketing automation, social media and analytics empower marketers with insights that drive business growth and strategy from the inside out. So it's no surprise that IDC predicts that in 2013, 50% of new marketing hires will have technical backgrounds.

But as Marketing becomes more reliant on technical solutions for customer engagement, IT's mandate is also broadening - there's a lot of speculation that soon the 'I' in CIO will stand just as much for innovation as information. CIOs are increasingly responsible for driving growth and revenue as well as ensuring the security and reliability of the IT environment.

The most effective organisations are those in which the CMO and CIO work in harmony to achieve common goals and complement each others' success. The convergence of Marketing and IT doesn't need to be about rivalry: by working together, the CMO and CIO can develop a truly rewarding partnership that empowers both sides to get the best result. Take a look at our quick tips on being buddies:

1. Turn control into collaboration

With Gartner forecasting that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO, some organisations are seeing a tug of war over IT budgets. We think it's time to put down the rope and pick up a calculator, because the best results will come from working together to create a strategy and a budget that solves both your problems. You might even find that 1+1=3 when you put your heads together.

2. See I to I

See what we did there? The digital age has turned marketing from an art into a science. All marketing is now driven by one thing: information. Finally, the CMO and CIO can agree on what's important. In a recent IBM study, 79% of CIOs said that their top priority over the next five years is to strategically use data to derive insight and intelligence for the organisation, while 69% of CMOs said that integrating insights was their #1 data-related goal.

When you're on the same page, it's a lot easier to work together. So why not start by sharing data and building a framework that will help you both reach your goals?

3. Get personal

While Marketing has always been responsible for knowing the customer as a persona, there's been an increasing focus on understanding, and responding to, customers as individuals. Knowing what Ned from Newcastle or Louise from Liverpool wants is only possible if the vast amount of data now available to marketers can be harnessed through analytics and used to generate actionable insights.

By working together, Marketing and IT can evaluate and expand the infrastructure, tools and processes needed to identify and implement new digital strategies to engage with customers on a more personal level.

4. Start measuring up

While CIOs have long been under the microscope to monitor costs, reduce expenses and eliminate unnecessary spending, marketers may have been guilty in the past to a 'finger in the air' approach to ROI. But no longer - CMOs are now being asked for quantifiable evidence of how their marketing spend is helping their organisation achieve its goals, although according to a recent IBM study, only 44% feel prepared to do so.

With their experience in data analysis, CIOs' IT teams can assist CMOs in developing and reporting meaningful metrics back to the business that demonstrate the value that marketing is adding.

5. Make each other look good

The saying "We all do better when we all do well" rings truer than ever for the CMO-CIO relationship. Marketing decision makers can make their CIO look good by working together to ensure that their IT environment is as secure as possible. Because, let's face it, if there's a security breach on a marketing platform, the finger will point at IT.

For CIOs, making their CMO look good is just as easy: implement the technology that will empower them with data they can take to the board (and the bank).

Marketing and IT are facing the same challenges: do more with less, respond to rapid change and be truly accountable. When you're facing the same battles, it just makes sense to team up to win the war.

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