The landscape for marketers is shifting dramatically. In order for marketers to be successful, they must rely on technology and data. The bottom line is that the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) needs the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and vice versa. We have reached the inflection point where this relationship is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a requirement for any organization serious about their marketing efforts.
THE CMO/ CIO RELATIONSHIP
The more time I spend with the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and marketing folks, the more I realize how how wide the gap is between CMO and the Chief Information Officer (CIO)/ Information Technology (IT) organization. That may sound dramatic. However, there is a bright opportunity that lies beyond the current state.
Make no mistake that the demand for a relationship between the CMO and CIO is stronger than ever. Companies are clamoring to better understand their customers in an effort to create stronger bonds and greater revenue streams.
THE MARKETING EVENT OPPORTUNITY
A couple of weeks ago, I spent time at Oracle’s Modern Marketing Experience (MME) in Las Vegas. In addition to the keynotes and sessions, I was invited to join the ‘CMO Experience’ luncheon. Keep in mind that this is a marketing conference and I am looking at it from the CIO’s perspective. Oracle MME was a great opportunity to learn more about today’s marketing challenges and opportunities from a marketers perspective. Unfortunately, I was one of the few CIOs there.
Instead of showcasing a number of sexy startups and their marketing efforts, Oracle presented three traditional enterprises that are all more than 100 years old: Sears, Clorox and Western Union. All of three of these enterprises leveraged technology and data to change how they engaged with customers. The not-so-subtle message here is: If a 100-year-old company can do it, so can you. But you cannot do it without technology and data. Hence where the CIO comes in.
FOUR STEPS TO CLOSE THE CMO/ CIO GAP
There are four core things that will close the gap between the CMO & CIO.
- Relationship: All good business relationships start with a personal relationship. The CMO and CIO must spend time and get to know each other. From this personal relationship, the collaboration between the two organizations can flourish.
- Understand the Business: Too many IT leaders only have a cursory understanding of what the business does, how it makes money, how it spends money. In order to truly provide value, IT needs to understand the entire value chain.
- Understand the Customer: Unfortunately, many CIOs and IT leaders do not have regular interactions with customers. Through regular, first hand experiences, the CIO can understand what drives the customer and how best to engage.
- Leverage Data: There are an increasing number of data streams that impact insights into the customer and business. Many of these streams come from outside the organization (vs. transactional data). Look for ways to integrate and correlate this data in a meaningful way to increase the value to the business and customer.
Each of these four things are both symbiotic of each other and build upon each other. For example, getting access to customers only comes after building strong relationships and trust with fellow c-suite executives. While leveraging data builds a more holistic picture of the customer.
The bottom line is that the gap between the CMO and CIO needs to close. The sooner the gap closes, the sooner the company and ultimately, the customer will benefit.