CMO vs. CIO: 4 ways to bridge the marketing technology gap

CMO vs. CIO: 4 ways to bridge the marketing technology gap

Marketing continues to be a large driver of IT purchasing and infrastructure, with the now well-cited perspective that within three years, CMOs will spend more on technology than their counterpart CIOs.

This is largely due to the transformation organisations are going through, with marketing and similar functions becoming increasingly reliant on technologies to drive performance, coupled with the growth of data-driven business principles.

CMOs and CIOs have typically never been on the same page, so perhaps now the time is ripe for a real alliance to be formed between the two, especially now as the need to recognise that technology and marketing go hand in hand is ever-more important.

However, in doing this, strategic – and operational – approaches need to be taken into account.

1. Integration.

When marketing and IT depend on silos of teams, data, processes and software, this can cause problems. Cross-functional collaboration needs to be established and maintained in order to tackle this, including creating shared efficiencies, improved workflows, and even joint budgets.

2. Skills.

Understanding that the right teams and skill-sets need to be developed is of critical importance. From a strategic perspective, thinking about the three core pillars of People, Process, and Technology should take priority. Given that all three aspects are interconnected, a foundational centre of excellence should be built, where both marketing and IT functions come together as a single business unit.

3. Experience.

As marketers keep striving to deliver a fully customer-centric experience across multiple touch-points, more often than not, technology is key to this. The expertise of IT can ensure that the relevant systems are in place for data collection, automated analysis, targeted distribution and beyond, but the right internal processes need to be in place to support this.

4. Trust.

With digital pushing business units to merge operationally, there needs to be a large degree of trust across organisations. This is especially true in regards to the marketing and IT departments and stems from senior stakeholders, downwards. The CMO and CIO need to develop open communication channels and to regularly put aside time to understand each other’s strategic imperatives.

Inevitably, marketing will keep exerting increasing influence over technology functions, but doing so without a solid, cross-function relationship with IT will more than likely be damaging in the long-run.

As business continues to become more challenging, there’s decreasing margin there for error. Because of this, marketing and IT should be looking towards aligning themselves operationally and driving business value by working together as strategic partners.

More reading:

Our digital future & what it means for businesses
The key skills needed to be a successful CMO
From digital marketing executive to CMO: 10 tips to get to the top
Businesses: Can you afford NOT to invest in digital transformation?
Why employees are the key to your digital transformation


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