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Why CMOs Should be BFFs With Their CIOs


Why CMOs Should be BFFs With Their CIOs

In the past, CMOs and CIOs had no need to collaborate much. CMOs guarded the brand and crafted the creative marketing campaigns that produced consumer interest in the company’s products and/or services. In the meantime, the CIO had responsibility for reducing costs through process improvement and managing the day-to-day technology side of the business such as maintaining cybersecurity systems and supporting end users. It was not necessary for their paths to cross often. However, times have changed.

As stated in the McKinsey&Company report, Getting the CMO and CIO to work as partners, “More and more, CMOs and CIOs are seeing that they are natural partners: CMOs have an unprecedented amount of customer data, from which they need to extract insights to increase revenue and profits. The CIO has the expertise in the development of IT architectures and the execution of large programs needed to create the company’s big data backbone and generate the necessary insights.” In fact, the CMO Council found that “CIOs and CMOs largely agreed on the factors that were driving the need for a closer alignment between marketing and IT, but the study also found that CIOs and CMOs disagreed about who should be spearheading digital marketing strategies within the enterprise.”

The McKinsey&Company report also found: “When the CMO and CIO are working together on governance and use-case development, they need to overcome a common stumbling block: the lack of a shared vocabulary or understanding of what is expected. Marketers and technology people speak very different languages, so there’s a need on both sides to become bilingual. To the CMO’s mind, defining use cases, for example, should involve writing a few clear sentences. The CIO, on the other hand, might expect ten pages. Frustration will erupt unless both the CMO and CIO take the time to bridge the expectations gap.”

Nadine Dietz, CMO of The CMO Club, said, “Marketing automation helps deliver consistent experience at scale, but requires the right mix of technology, analytics, people, and processes for success. Given the sea of technology options available and monumental integration challenges faced while implementing marketing solutions, we felt it was time to issue a Solution Guide for CMOs from CMOs to collectively support each other in this shared mission.” In fact, a recent report presented by The CMO Club in Partnership with Oracle Marketing Cloud found that one of the ways CMOs to better leverage technology and enhance the customer experience is to “Become BFFs with your CIO.” The report explained that “Of those surveyed, only one of 110 respondents referenced a positive relationship with their CIO. A critical action item for a CMO is to reach out to their CIO to collaborate, plan, and integrate activities.”

How do you do comes BFFs with your CIO? Here are some suggestions from the report:

  • Get excited and engaged with technology. One way to become BFFs with your CIO is to embrace technology—literally. As Cammie Dunaway, President and Global CMO of KidZania, Inc. says: “If you are a CMO and are not excited and engaged with technology, I question how long you will be in the job.”
  • Speak the same language. Or said another way, ask questions rather than make assumptions. CMOs and CIO frequently attribute different meaning to the same words. Semantics matter and are often the genesis of confusion.
  • Develop a customer-driven technology roadmap. The need to have one technology roadmap is paramount, but unlike technology maps of the past that are anchored in technology stacking limitations, the technology roadmap of the future will be a bi-product of the customer journey and the mutual understanding by the CMO and CIO of that journey.