CMO, meet the CIO. CIO, CMO.

If analyst firm Gartner is correct, by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs. This means marketers, especially marketing leaders, need to speak geek.

If analyst firm Gartner is correct, by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs. This means marketers, especially marketing leaders, need to speak geek.

Participants in Arketi Group's recent b-to-b CMO roundtable agreed. They also think it's high time the CMO and CIO shared ownership of the technology that's flooding the marketing department – and the business outcomes this technology can deliver.

There is no avoiding it: IT is needed to help marketing understand and implement technology. Now is the time for the two teams to partner in a genuine effort to understand what is possible and how the technology can help achieve their business goals.

From Big Data and social media monitoring to marketing automation and analytics, to be really valuable, these new systems must tie into other silos of corporate data, such as purchase history, product usage data, and customer care interactions. Making this happen is clearly beyond even the most tech-savvy marketer's abilities.

The fact that IT and marketing – the analytical and the creative – have traditionally been on opposite ends of the enterprise spectrum thus tempers the excitement that come with advanced marketing technology. Can this “odd couple” pull it off? A report from the CMO Council gives hope: it found 80% of marketers and 88% of IT experts say working together is critical to ensure customer centricity. (There is it again – the need to be 100% buyer-focused).

It's our belief that marketing executives, if they have not already, need to develop a true partnership with their IT counterparts. We're not suggesting the two groups are adversaries, but until recently their business interactions have not needed to be as deep as with other business functions like finance, operations, and customer care.

The good news is marketers – the communicators within the enterprise – know how to forge relationships in order to mobilize and advance initiatives. It starts with ensuring the two groups are on the same page, with a business-first mentality focused on doing whatever is necessary to drive buyer engagement.

With this mindset established, joint planning, collaboration, and shared responsibilities for success and failures follow naturally.

With both the IT and marketing suites performing as business leaders – not operational managers – the partnership between the CMO and CIO will certainly drive solid bottom-line results.

Mike Neumeier is principal of Arketi Group, which publishes the b-to-b Marketing News blog. Find him on Twitter at @arketi.

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