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CMOs and CIOs still disconnected, study finds

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28th Aug 2013
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The evolving partnership between CMOs and CIOs is a hot topic right now but new research has revealed that the relationship is still far from harmonious.

Accenture surveyed 400 senior marketing and 250 IT executives across 10 countries and found just one in 10 believe collaboration between CMOs and CIOs is currently at the right level.

Interestingly, the study showed that out of the two types of executives, CIOs are far more committed creating a collaborative relationship – 77% of CIOs cited the importance of the partnership compare to 57% of CMOs.

However, whilst CIOs might appear to be more open to engaging with CMOs, just 45% said that supporting marketing is near or at the top of their list of priorities.

Both executives do agree that technology is essential to marketing, however, and that its primary purpose is to provide customer insight – although CIOs rank this as tenth in their priority list whereas this is CMOs top concern, the findings showed.

Additionally, CIOs’ top motivation for collaborating is to improve the customer experience, the findings showed that CMOs rank this only as their third most important priority.

And that’s not the only point of friction. The survey showed that when collaborating on a marketing initiative, neither the marketing executives nor the IT executives come away satisfied. Just over a third (36%) of CMOs said that IT deliverables fall short of the desired outcome, whilst 46% of CIOs say marketing does not provide an adequate level of detail to meet business requirements.

The survey also revealed a disagreement over the freedom and control of the use of technology. While 45% of CMOs say they want to leverage and optimize data and content without IT intervention, 49% of CIOs counter that marketers uses technologies without consideration for IT standards.

Brian Whipple, global MD of Accenture Interactive, said: “To succeed in the digital age, CMOs must place an immediate focus on technology to improve relevant customer experiences and advance marketing practices.

“The good news is that CMOs and CIOs agree technology is important. Now they must work together to agree on how technology can be most appropriately applied to drive their company’s specific marketing needs, and how it can ultimately result in increased brand affinity, loyalty and sales growth.”

Forrester’s Nigel Fenwick believes those businesses that develop a cohesive relationship between the CIO and CMO will succeed most as customer experience becomes CIOs’ top priority.

“To win, IT can’t simply pay lip service to customer experience. IT leaders must consider it a very real business discipline and see it as one of the most important roles of the technology team,” he said.

Both the Accenture research and Fenwick’s comments are the latest to add to the growing debate around the relationship between IT and marketing.

Forrester's Sheryl Pattek recently wrote that marketers must adopt the right technologies if they are to provide value to customers across multiple channels.

“Implemented well, marketing technology can provide the foundation you need to deliver the consistent customer engagement that empowered buyers demand across their life cycle. As a CMO, success in today’s data-driven, customer-centered, automated world, it’s not a question of whether technology plays a role in marketing; it’s what role you’ll need to play in building the right technology infrastructure to drive your marketing success,” she said. 

And Gartner analyst Jennifer Beck also 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.

The proliferation of Big Data has given rise to a new kind of marketer, one that uses a new set of data-heavy metrics including return on promotional investment, managing omnichannel diversity and driving conversion rates and optimising efforts, he said. 

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