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CIOs, CMOs collaborate more amid increasing complexity

AccentureChart

CIOs and CMOs increasingly say they see a need for collaboration

The increasing demand inside organizations for mobile marketing solutions is complicating the relationship between top marketing executives and their counterparts in the technology silo, but there are ways for the two departments to work together better, according to Accenture Interactive. 

A new report from Accenture called “Cutting Across the CIO-CMO Divide” indicated that chief marketing officers and chief information officers are collaborating more than ever. Among more than 1,100 senior marketing and IT professionals interviewed globally for this report, 43 percent of marketers and 50 percent of technology professionals think their relationship with each other has improved over the last year. 

“They need to find common ground around metrics focused on customer outcomes,” said Glen Hartman, global managing director of digital transformation for Accenture Interactive. “If they think about the customer outcomes they want to achieve, and then reverse engineer from that, they can come up with new success metrics that both want to achieve.” 

The speed at which digitally based marketing is evolving in areas like mobile exerts new pressures on both sides, however. CMOs increasingly say IT lacks urgency around some key initiatives, and CIOs are increasingly frustrated by shifting goals and a perceived lack of vision, the report found. 

Need for speed 
Forty percent of CMOs say their company’s IT team does not understand the need to be able to quickly integrate new data into marketing campaigns to address conditions, up six percentage points over last year’s survey. In addition, 43 percent of CMOs say the technology processes are too slow, up seven percentage points. 

Historically the two sides have often focused on achieving different outcomes, Mr. Hartman said, but opportunities exist for the two to work together better in specific areas. Some of those areas might include content distribution and data analytics, for example. 

“Companies need to have content formatted so that it can be atomized and reused across all devices,” Mr. Hartman said. “This is an area where the CIO and the CMO have common interest in working together.” 

Mobile marketing is also adding complexity to the relationship in several ways, including around the need for data related to location. The expanding functionality of phones for such purposes as contactless payment is also forcing IT departments to develop solutions at a rapid pace. 

The results of the Accenture Interactive survey parallel those of another recent survey conducted by communications firm Ruder Finn, which found that 87 percent of marketers said they were using marketing technologies to influence marketing campaigns. That survey also found that 44.5 percent of marketing executives said they were more involved in technology purchasing decisions than they were a year ago, and 43 percent thought their involvement would continue to grow. 

Mr. Hartman pointed out that increasingly CMOs are involved in the technology-buying process, and by the same token, IT executives are now sometimes participating in marketing meetings with agencies. A previous Accenture report predicted that CMO spending on technology would surpass CIO spending by 2017. 

Bhavesh Vaghela, chief marketing officer at ResponseTap, a London-based provider of technology used in marketing automation, said that as marketers increasingly purchase “off-the-shelf” marketing technologies using software-as-service (SAS) models, they are compounding the challenges for collaboration.

“The challenge for the technology side is that all of these systems need to be able to work with each other,” he said. “And it has to be done quickly — they don’t have 25 years to do it.
 
“And with SAS, the data is not sitting on-premise, it is sitting out in the cloud somewhere.”

By thinking about optimizing customer outcomes from the outset, both marketers and technology professionals can work together to formulate goals and strategize on the best ways to achieve them, Mr. Hartman said. 

Marketing specialists need to become more tech-savvy to achieve the best outcomes for their customers.

“In order to get segmentation right, for example, the CMO needs to speak the language of the data folks,” Mr. Hartman said. 

And by the same token, technology professionals need to think about themselves as marketers as well to some degree. 

“It’s kind of a new day, where companies are getting the CEO involved in creating experiences for customers,” Mr. Hartman said. “In many ways, the CIO is often in the marketing business already, and they just don’t know it.”

Final Take 

Mark Hamstra is content director at Mobile Marketer, New York

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Related content: Research, Accenture, CIO, CMO, database

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