Much has been written about the sometimes antagonistic relationship between the CIO and the CMO, but the good news is they are starting to see eye to eye and work together toward their common goal of growing the business and increasing revenue. The relationship is improving and more and more, marketers and their IT counterparts are having honest and open conversations about how to grow and build the business together.
Growth is the common force driving the two organizations together and one that hasn’t been without its challenges, especially for CIOs. For years, CIOs had carte blanche authority and responsibility to build the IT infrastructure they thought would be best for the organization. Their priorities were to build an IT infrastructure that is reliable, safe, and under cost controls. And they often deemed marketing’s IT requests unreasonable. IT teams placed their focus on areas that were mission-critical to the business, like financial functions, and marketing didn’t really fall into that category. So IT had a tendency to downgrade marketing or put it on back burner.
As a result, marketers had to wait months—or even years–to get a sub-optimal solution that they originally asked for. So what they ended up doing was going out on their own and getting tools and solutions that were often hosted and didn’t require their own IT departments to be involved in deployments. They focused on very niche and siloed transactional solutions like email, social media marketing or mobile apps that were channel specific and very tactical. That was fine for then.
But now with the rise of the empowered customers the table has turned. Marketers are being given a bigger role and greater responsibility to lead the organization in reconnecting with today’s customer. Increasingly, the business groups like marketing are finding themselves in the driver’s seat in making the decisions on tools and solutions. This shift is motivating IT organizations to work more closely with marketers to better understand the business environment and challenges that marketers face, and they are trying to be a good value-add partner.
At the same time marketers realize that in order to meet the challenges that they face, they need the help of IT to provide the right technology solutions. Any good-sized marketing organization has easily two dozen different marketing systems that they’re using and very few of them are integrated together. Marketers realize that they need a solid marketing foundation that can unify the customer view across the enterprise; orchestrate customer engagements across multiple channels; and have the open framework to work well with other solutions. They need their IT counterparts to create and maintain a strong marketing technology framework. And a recent IBM study found that high-performing CMOs were reported to have a stronger working relationship with CIOs.
This changing relationship is something that Don Pepper of Peppers & Rogers, and David Cooperstein of Forrester, give their observations about in this video. David refers to the organizations as “strange bedfellows” who are learning to get along better, while discussing the challenges that they still must overcome. Don believes the CIO and CMO “should be joined at hip,” and gives his reasons why. Check out the video interview on this topic.
What about at your organization? Are the CIO and CMO working together, and if so, how would you characterize the relationship? We hope you’ll share your thoughts on this as well.