Forrester: CMOs and CIOs must collaborate in the age of the customer

13th Oct 2013

The relationship between CIOs and CMOs is a hot topic right now but collaboration between the two is even more important if businesses are to survive the age of the customer.

That’s according to Forrester analyst David Cooperstein, who says in a new blog post that the only way enterprises can survive this era is if they create  a customer-obsessed enterprise.

He defines the age of the customer by what he says are a number of undeniable trends such as customer empowerment though technology; the fact that digital disruption is forcing change; and that CIOs are now having to manage two technology budgets – IT (infrastructure), which serves the operations of the company, and BT (business technology), which serves customers.

“These trends force enterprises to be more flexible, more nimble, more global, and more connected than ever before,” says Cooperstein. “This presents a vast opportunity for CMOs and CIOs to work together to deliver capabilities that were not possible in previous eras.”

By teaming up, the two can develop the capability to:

Optimize their business through data. The value of big, or real-time, data is the ability to make intelligent decisions that quickly impact product and purchase decisions.

Present value in context. The flurry of interest in apps and programmatic ad buying are driven by the newfound ability to capture the profile, history and context of a consumer, and place a relevant message right in front of them.

Engage with buyers when they are most interested: Business buyers may show interest a year or more before they are ready to transact. Companies that are customer obsessed will invest in learning how to connect with those customers so they are present when the budget is finally approved.

Create value in marketing through content: Content marketing and native advertising are front and center because the advertiser can offer value beyond 30 seconds or a page of emotional connection.

“The Age of the Customer, and the effort to become obsessed with your customers, is here. The mandate to change your approach to your customer is your only option - unless you want to watch your competition walk away with your prize,” warns Cooperstein.

Gartner analyst Jennifer Beck recently wrote of the need for a harmonious and collaborative relationship between CIOs and CMOs whilst Constellation analyst and founder Ray Wang has also outlined the growing trend of the technologically-savvy CMO.

But, despite this ongoing discussion, the relationship between the two is still very far from harmonious. Accenture's survey of 400 senior marketing and 250 IT executives found just one in 10 believe collaboration between CMOs and CIOs is currently at the right level.

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