CMOs, are you cheating on your CIO?

Natalie Steers
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Hybrid service providers in the cloud are batting their eyes at CMOs, the new money trail and motivated buying center for their technology and digital marketing platforms. 

‘And why not?’ asks Gartner analyst Jennifer Beck. With many CIOs failing to target the CMO as the key stakeholder to partner with, CMOs are feeling underserved by their IT organisations and taking the bait.

“So with the absence of a good internal partner, marketing is doing what they’ve always done and outsourcing,” explains Beck. “Digital marketers already use agencies and other providers’ automation technologies and tools for lead generation, tracking, analytics, content management, campaign development, public relations, advertising, creative services, etc. Technology is just another line item to source. And the choices are abundant and the perceived risks low.”

So what exactly is causing these CMOs to ignore their CIOs? According to Beck, it’s a number of reasons including: the lure of high-priced agency lunches, fear of death and the realisation that something is missing in those executive relationships.

In an earlier blog post, the analyst outlined the importance of fostering the relationship between the CMO and CIO. It’s easy to figure out why these two not only dress differently but appear to be from different planets but pitting them against each other just isn’t helpful, she said. Instead, take them out for lunch!

“With CIOs and CMOs looking in opposite directions on the balance sheet, it’s no wonder they are behaving more like competitors than partners. CIOs are primarily focused on cost, because their CEOs actually think they can do more with less. CMOs are all about profit and top line revenue growth; because their CEOs think they can perform magic,” she says.

Beck calls on the two to come together and enter into couple’s therapy, and outlines six things to consider when doing so:

  • Both CIOs and CMOs know how to get things done.
  • They both rely on making good technology decisions to help them make an impact on the business. And they become dependent on that stable of providers.
  • They both love the next new tech toy or gadget and like showing them off.
  • They both have huge suggestion boxes nailed to their virtual doors because everyone is a self-appointed expert in their field.
  • The leadership team thinks they can produce magical results within their current constraints – because they often pull it off.
  • And they both don’t sleep through the night. Their jobs are never actually done. They could always be doing something more.

And Beck’s not the only one to have commented on this trend. Following IBM’s annual State of Marketing report, caught up with Jay Henderson about the dangers associated with marketing's greater control of IT spend.

The report acknowledged the lack of collaboration between the two and found 60% of those surveyed cited their lack of alignment with the company's IT department as the biggest obstacle to reaching today's consumers.

“When IT isn’t engaged, marketers are much more likely to wind up with a highly fragmented view of the customer that result in a disjointed set of communications and marketing messages to customers,” Henderson said. 


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