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Marketers: It’s Time to Make Nice with Your CIO
Technology has transformed how accounting, finance, operations and sales teams operate. It’s also changed marketing more in the last 5 years than in the last 25. Forget Cyber Monday, a full 20% of Black Friday purchases were made on iOS mobile phones.
As technology increasingly becomes a central component to marketing, senior marketers and technologists will find themselves spending more and more time together. This relationship has long been one of client-provider, but this can no longer be the way things run. That’s why we recently published a new report: The New CMO Imperative: Team Up with Your CIO.
Why is this such a big deal? Companies with integrated technology are better able to put customers at the center, operate more efficiently, and offer a consistent customer experience at more touch points. A growing number of shoppers avoided retail locations entirely on Black Friday by doing their shopping on mobile, but these digital experiences still need to be consistent with in-store purchase brand and product interactions.
Despite the clear need for a close, productive relationship between IT and Marketing, a recent study by Accenture reaffirmed CMOs and CIOs often don’t see eye to eye on strategy and implementation.
There are steps CIOs and CMOs can take to work better together, but ultimately a productive IT-Marketing relationship is based on two things: common goals and open communication.
IT is no longer a service provider, it is an integral part of business strategy. At the ANA’s Brand Master’s Conference Larry Light, former CMO of McDonalds, now CBO at Intercontinental Hotels, presented this idea, saying, “When the entire organization shares responsibility for building a strong brand, not just the marketing department, the brand ambition is the same throughout the world.” IT is just as responsible for building a strong brand as marketing. All of the channels that allow marketing messages to move the fastest and the farthest — Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, WeChat, SMS, etc. operate on top of layers of enterprise technology.
To achieve better marketing-technology alignment, a growing number of companies have supplemented the CIO and CMO role with a dedicated Head of Global Media Innovation or Head of Marketing Technology. It’s also projected 25% of companies will have a Chief Digital Officer in 2015. Some brands like Virgin and Starbucks have also created cross-department immersion experiences for senior staff to enable expertise sharing between marketing and technology teams. The idea is that Marketing and IT establish that they are marching in the same direction.
Overall, it appears that communication between marketing and IT is improving in the enterprise, albeit slowly. While 44% of CIOs and CMOs surveyed by Accenture reported problems in systems, poor communication was cited less often this year than in 2012 as the source of the problem. However the disconnect still exists when it comes to using vendors. 34% CIOs saw integration problems arise due to marketing bypassing IT and working with a vendor directly. On the other side, only 21% of CMO believed that was the source of integration problems.
Removing the barriers to communicating empowers groups to tap resources when they need them. Siloed teams, especially marketing teams lead to inconsistent brand voice and customer experience. Technology plays such a large part in delivering that brand voice and customer experience that cutting them out of the loop, is a disservice to marketing, and the business as a whole. Not only that, but technology can centralize information and enable better communication and execution of marketing projects and goals.
We’re a technology company built to serve marketers. It’s easy for us to talk a lot about how marketers and technologists should get along. It’s in our DNA to marry IT with marketing. That said, we spend a lot of time listening to our clients who often are companies where these departments have been built out separately. We recognize that is an evolving relationship. That’s why we’re building The System of Record.
To learn more, download our new report: The New CMO Imperative: Team Up with Your CIO.