In the foreword to my book Big Data Marketing, Tom Davenport didn’t mince words.
“Whenever I meet CMOs who don’t work closely with their companies’ CIOs, I consider shorting their stock,” he wrote. “I can’t imagine the companies will be successful if marketing and IT don’t get along.”
Tom is right, of course. Years ago, technology ran the business. Now, technology is the business – and marketing technology is the new “killer app.” CMOs need to embrace it and work together with IT to develop comprehensive, integrated data-driven marketing strategies.
For some, collaborating with the CIO is stressful. But the key to easing that tension is to open up a dialogue, one that helps you better understand how marketing and IT can work together to drive revenue. To help kick-start the process, here are four important topics to keep top-of-mind as you work to build bridges with the CIO:
- Business is becoming more and more data-driven. There’s no getting around it: Expectations both internally and externally have changed. Consumers want a more personalized and relevant customer experience, and the C-suite wants more transparency and accountability. That means you need technology to aggregate, manage, analyze and store data. In the past, CMOs and CIOs may have been far apart, but now marketing and IT have lots in common… and it call comes back to data.
- CMOs and CIOs need each other. Because marketing and technology have both become so intertwined and crucial to revenue growth, CMOs and CIOs need to help each other work together. Start by agreeing to a common language and be sure to share ideas as they relate to brand goals –as you do, you’ll identify ways you can strengthen your partnership even more. Think about how you build and maintain your customer relationships, and apply those same principles. Listen to IT, meet them where they are and vet ideas in a way that leaves room for everyone to have a chance to participate.
- Marketers and IT pros have different, but complementary, skill sets. At risk of overstating the obvious, let me remind you that you are the marketing expert for your company. You may know something about marketing technology, you are not the technology expert. The same goes for CIOs. They may know a thing or two about marketing, but they’re not experts in the field. By focusing on your own expertise and trusting your CIO to do likewise, your skills will reinforce one another and create the foundation of a strong and powerful alliance.
- Collaboration is the key to success. Make collaboration your new mantra. If you’re not working together internally, your systems and messages aren’t working together to create a seamless brand experience for your customers . . . and it will show. Traditionally, departments have been territorial with their platforms, but that leads to working in silos, fragmented data and hours wasted reinventing the wheel. Give up the idea of ownership. Today, maintaining your competitive edge depends on collaboration.
I’ve heard CMO-CIO alignment called the next frontier of success for marketers. Indeed, like Tom said above, I can’t imagine staying relevant without it.
CMOs, Here’s What The CIO Wants To Hear From You