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A Primer on CMO, CIO Collaboration

A Primer on CMO, CIO CollaborationThe lines between the CIO and CMO are blurring as the two roles become increasingly intertwined, led by marketing’s move to focus more around technology and great digital experiences. From quickly creating websites for different campaigns to managing customer analytics and back-end data, today’s marketers have a required skillset that often overlaps with that of the CIO, who has traditionally managed and maintained a company’s IT infrastructure. For that reason, CMOs are becoming integral decision makers when it comes to buying and operating a company’s technology assets.

I’ve written previously about Gartner’s prediction that CIO budgets will shift toward the CMO. But what I haven’t discussed are the potentially negative implications of this shift. Marketers, despite gaining more control of technology budgets as of late, still need strong CIOs by their side. Stripping CIOs of their influence and ability to integrate change would have tragic consequences in any business. CIOs play an important role in reducing risk and ensuring marketing IT projects are successful, and can also help prevent costly mistakes and false starts by the marketing team.

To promote successful technology driven marketing, CIOs and CMOs must work together. To do so in an effective way, there are three important things that CIOs must know about marketing to maintain a strong, strategic and collaborative relationship with their CMO counterpart.

1. Marketing Needs to be a Strategic Enabler of Business

Marketers are tasked with driving the growth that will sustain the company, and they rely heavily on IT to reach and engage audiences, target and segment campaigns, and leverage data to identify and set the most relevant strategy.

But marketers don’t want to own these systems. The truth is, they want the CIO's guidance and support. Marketers are given very little time to work, and typically have an incredibly small window to affect change and ensure they’re moving toward increased growth. Marketers need a CIO's expertise and assistance to keep up with the speed of marketing today.

2. Marketing Projects Move Incredibility Fast

Facebook and Twitter didn't exist 15 years ago, never mind the slew of mobile devices that keep consumers connected nearly 24/7. So when new technology arrives on the scene, marketing teams need to be agile enough to take advantage of the new opportunities it can present. And since technology is so tightly woven into every medium in which marketing exists, marketers need CIO and IT department buy-in to execute campaigns quickly and efficiently.

3. We Need Agility and Flexibility to Succeed

Traditional single-vendor suites and roadmaps don’t match marketing’s business model for growth. Today’s marketers need a platform that will allow continuous innovation — the old way of planning IT projects will quickly leave them behind. If the core platforms are designed to integrate with new apps and tools that will help marketers nurture audiences and gain insight along the way, they’ll succeed. This is where marketers need help from CIOs the most.

Understanding what drives, inhibits and excites a marketer is essential for any CIO, but it’s a two-way street. Marketers also need to know what drives, inhibits and excites the IT team. If we can promote a mutual understanding between marketers and technologists, we can unlock the ability to create incredible next-generation digital experiences. Technology infused, marketing approved.

Title image by Syda Productions (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: Read more from Tom in Think Customers, Not Channels

About the Author

Tom Wentworth is the chief marketing officer at Acquia, responsible for global marketing strategy and execution. He has spent most of his 18 year career in the web content management, most recently at Ektron where he served as chief marketing officer. Follow him on Twitter and read his Acquia blog on content management and digital marketing.

 
 
 
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