CMOs and CIOs have a great opportunity to work together, especially with the massive data availability in the current times.
FREMONT, CA: The relationship of the chief marketing officer (CMO) and chief information officer (CIO) has not been in great terms historically. The lack of clear lines of division between the responsibilities and roles of the two has also contributed to the rise in conflict among them. For instance, CIOs are generally concerned with implementing and evaluating technology solutions for the enterprise, while CMOs heading marketing initiatives also have a vested interest in several of these solutions. With the rapid growth in data, there is yet another aspect where the two may share a common ground. The massive data availability presents an opportunity for the CMOs and the CIOs to work together and use the data for growth together.
With the worldwide volume of data rising at least 40 percent per year, CMOs realize the fact that IT can’t stay as a back-office function anymore. Instead, it can become a strategic partner, which is essential to executing and developing a marketing strategy. Data-driven companies are 6 percent more profitable and 5 percent more productive than other companies. However, with marketers already spending $50 billion on big data and analytics, they are under pressure to demonstrate above-market returns for that investment.
Increasingly, CIOs and CMOs are accepting that they are natural partners. CMOs have access to the vast amount of customer data, from where they can unlock the hidden insights to increase profits and revenues. The CIO holds expertise in the creation of IT architectures and the execution of complex programs needed to develop the company’s big data backbone and gather the necessary insights.
Despite the differences between the two, the digital explosion has forced CIOs and CMOs to work closely. However, the collaboration hasn’t eliminated the conflict among the two either. The tensions are exposed in researches that suggest that most CMOs consider marketing as the natural leader of big data efforts, whereas most CIOs envision IT in that role.
Often the demands of agility and speed are the primary source of friction. With changes in technology, customer behavior, and the business environment accelerate, marketers, require fast-adapting systems. However, for IT, the requirement for speed can be a huge shift that might require the function to retool its operating model in a way so as to deliver analytic systems that enable better decision making quickly. Despite the rapid advancements in technology, there's a need for creating a practical approach for developing a working partnership.
Way to a Better Collaboration
Several observers have stated that CMO must master not only the art of creativity and strategy but also the science of analytics to capture and identify revenue opportunities. For CMOs, it means that they must also consider facts, measurements, and the ability to unravel the business opportunities presented by big data. They must also be able to define their vision from data analysis to the delivery of a solution to the tracking of earnings impact to the front lines.
On the other hand, the CIO must change IT’s image as a cost center to being a business-revenue facilitator and enabler. CIO will be accountable for deploying technical infrastructure to accelerate and enable revenue growth. Increasingly, CIOs are sensing that technology is just a medium to achieve business ends and utilize sophisticated analytics. For practical and favorable outcomes, CMO and CIO must invest in building a partnership.
Coordination and collaboration should incorporate IT and marketing organizations, as well. Teams comprising up of people from both functions should declare the data-use requirements with precision to enable the proper build-out of the analytics infrastructure. The integrated teams should gather to analyze, review, and act on the data. The team should get credit when good results are achieved, for instance, e-mails to concerned groups from the CIO and CMO or public announcements at large meetings. CMO and CIO should also nurture, find, and reward people with leadership qualities that build successful cross-functional collaboration. Such traits often involve empathy and the potential to resolve points of conflict and broker agreements constructively.
The kind of transformation suggested above requires essential shifts in mindset for both IT specialists and marketers. Marketers must include their specialized experience and expertise to assist IT analytics teams probe assumptions and pressure test results. Simultaneously, IT needs to shift towards more of a customer-service mentality.