CMO’s Shacking up with the CIO’s


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CMO in bed with CIOThere’s always been a clear separation between the CMO and the CIO. No matter how you choose to look at it, right-brain vs left-brain or creative vs analytical. The two were always inherently different.

There’s every chance one picked on the other at high school.

But we’ve seen some huge changes of recent times and they all point to the need for these two personalities to come together.

The consumer now looks to seek and consume information where they want and when they want; and they want to consume it across multiple devices including tablet and mobile. Providing a seamless experience for the consumer is no mean feat.

Big data, mobility and cloud computing. They’re as much a part of the business vernacular now as crowd funding and they pose perhaps the greatest challenges for the CMO moving forward.

So for business to succeed and stay relevant in a competitive environment, the CMO is now charged with shacking up with the CIO.

Can the CIO role be engulfed by a new generation of CMO?

The new generation of marketers have a basic understanding of information technology. But it is important not to underestimate the role of the CIO and the breadth of their expertise. So in my opinion I don’t believe that the role of the CIO is in any danger.

IBM has been one of the key thought leaders on the topic and back in 2011 they undertook the largest study of CMO’s and it highlighted some key concerns including:
– 71 percent believe they are unprepared to deal with the explosion of data
– 68 percent are unprepared to handle social media

The new generation marketer is prepared for social media so this should not be a concern moving forward. However, the explosion of big data and the ability to interpret it accurately is a critical task that will be the responsibility of the CIO.

So how does this awkward relationship for the future move forward?

Collaboration and respect. It’s a basic formula but one that will prove a stumbling block when confronted with high-pressure environments and big egos. The personality clashes have the potential to deny the consumer the experience they’re looking for and ultimately bring about the downfall of some of the big brands and companies that we know today.

Let me expand on my suggestion of collaboration.

On a personal level you would expect that both the CMO and the CIO will seek to gain an understanding of the other’s role within the organisation and gain an understanding of what their objectives are and why. The lines of communication should be open and you would expect regular workshops would be held between the teams under the CMO and CIO. If the CEO has not already invited the CIO into strategic marketing discussions then they should.

Software will also play a huge role in collaboration. The consumer lives in a world of 24-hour news and Twitter feeds. The opportunity to respond or capitalise on a comment or moment fades with time, and the viral nature of social media can judge a brand irrelevant if they take too long. So the development and implementation of collaborative software, the role of the CIO, will be crucial in maintaining relevance. Not that it was a task of the CIO but how quick and opportunistic was Oreo’s tweet at the Superbowl?

The roles of course will be determined largely by the CEO within the respective organisations.

How will the CEO see the roles moving forward? How will budgets be distributed?

Some may welcome such collaboration and invite the CIO into those strategic marketing discussions. The level of collaboration between the CMO and CIO may well be a welcome blessing for the CIO as it may be an avenue to get a larger slice of the budget. Up until now the CIO has had to contend with the stubborn belief that the CMO is there to create sales and build revenue, whilst the CIO is there to streamline processes and save money.

Adding to this, Gartner Research suggests that CMO’s will spend more money on technology than the CIO by 2017. A notion that would have been laughed out of the boardroom only a few years ago.

Image credit: caritophotography

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Quentin Aisbett
Quentin is a co-founder and the SEO strategist of the Australian-based agency Searcht. He is an information-hungry Gen Xer, often found lurking in the deepest corners of a client's Google Analytics on a quest to dig up something insightful. With 12+years of SEO experience, he’s the man behind Searcht's 5-star client reviews and a regular contributor to GoDaddy.


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