The Need for CMO/CIO Partnerships

The Need for CMO/CIO Partnerships

25 Feb 2020 Marketing

In an NPR “cosmos and culture” blog, Kara D. Federmeier, a cognitive neuroscientist and professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, notes that “Dividing up tasks and allowing the hemispheres [of the brain] to work semi-independently and take different approaches to the same problem seems to be a good strategy for the brain.” The same could be said for partnerships between CMOs and CIOs.

Increasingly, companies are expanding their C-suites to include CIOs – individuals who represent the more analytical side of the business. For a CMO working towards greater marketing accountability, the CIO, with access to digital data and trends, is a crucial ally. Let’s look at how your digital marketing strategy can be enhanced by this strategic relationship.

Logic Meets Creativity

Left brain, right brain – the common perception is that an individual is usually dominated by one side or the other – the logical Spock or the creative Captain Kirk come to mind. Yet, no one can deny that the partnership between Spock and Kirk was more effective than either person would have been acting alone. Likewise, the CIO and the CMO complement each other; The CIO understands how to identify, buy and integrate useful technology, and the CMO understands the emotional, artistic connections that are central to impactful marketing. By working together, they can leverage technology as a gateway to better performance.

A Marketing Daily article explored the potential of the CMO-CIO relationship. Collaboration with the CIO offers the CMO a powerful advantage. According to a Forrester Research report, “The CMO role has yet to emerge fully from its historical communications, promotion, and lead management functions. But the pressures on organizations to become customer-centric have never been greater, creating an unprecedented needs to understand customers much better than before.” As an advocate for innovative marketing technology and data analytics, the CIO can help the CMO gain critical customer insights to guide both the marketing messages and tactics used to enhance brand position in the marketplace.

What’s more, the CIO can help the CMO leverage technology to understand how marketing spend can be attributed to sales performance or to forecast future sales based on allocation of marketing budgets or specific marketing tactics. The Forrester Research report suggests that in the coming year, CMO-CIO collaboration with increase, leading to “an integrated data strategy and architecture to transform disparate touch-point data into an end-to-end view of customer behavior.”

What’s Next in the C-Suite?

Technology spending has been on the increase. Just a few years ago, Gartner predicted that by the end of this decade, 90 percent of technology spending will fall outside of IT, driven by the dominance of social, mobile and cloud in all aspects of society. And this focus on a digitized world will lead to a new role in the C-suite, that of the chief digital officer. Gartner vice president David Willis noted that “The Chief Digital Officer will prove to be the most exciting strategic role in the decade ahead … The Chief Digital Officer plays in the place where the enterprise meets the customer, where the revenue is generated and the mission accomplished. They’re in charge of the digital business strategy. That’s a long way from running back office IT, and it’s full of opportunity.” 

The CDO is arriving from the intersection of IT with Marketing, born from the need to bring the two hemispheres of the “brain” together. Scott Brinker, author of the ChiefMarTec blog, said, “CDOs are appearing in companies, not as explicit business unit owners, but as hybrid marketing-technology change agents at the right hand of the CEO.

As consumers adopt new technologies – and marketers race to keep up – CDOs will leverage digital technologies put forth by CIOs and marketing strategies put forth by CMOs to deliver even better customer experiences. By coordinating all of these efforts, organizations will be better positioned to ensure marketing accountability that evolves as quickly as the customers do.   

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