The CMO’s Emerging Role, Part 2: Taking the Technology Reins
Marketing and information technology (IT) have merged within corporations, leading to ramped up tech responsibilities for the chief marketing officer (CMO). In Part 1 of this series on the CMO’s emerging role, I illustrated how the line has blurred between CIO and CMO duties, and described what new skills CMOs must acquire to successfully steer their organizations and better serve customers.
In this Part 2, we will look at the ways CMOs can maximize collaboration with CIOs and leverage technology to achieve business goals.
The CMO’s new essential skill set
As we showed in Part 1, the CMO’s new role includes aligning marketing campaigns with the tech solutions being developed by IT.
On top of that, since customers are the primary drivers of market disruption in this digitized age of the consumer, CEOs naturally look to their CMOs to share their top-line growth and revenue-generation mandates across the enterprise. Toward this end, CMOs must consider the ramifications of technology across their organizations, with an eye toward the possibility of turning every person within the organization into a sales and marketing specialist.
For example, a technical support department wouldn’t necessarily interact with a CMO during the normal course of business; however, because tech support staff interface with customers on a daily basis, the department now falls within the CMO’s purview.
To fulfill these multiple responsibilities, the CMO must acquire a new skill set comprised of data, science and technology as the backdrop to any creative marketing program. This chief marketer needs to be comfortable employing technological tools and methodologies that integrate big data, social networks, mobile technologies and digitization. After all, this individual must be able to aggregate data from disparate systems and turn it into rich customer intelligence that drives business strategy.
How CIO and CMO collaboration will benefit the business
Together, CMOs and their marketing teams that collaborate with CIOs and IT to leverage modern technology can resolve their most pressing marketing challenges and help keep their companies ahead of the pack.
Both parties must acknowledge their co-dependency when it comes to evaluating and implementing technology solutions for the enterprise. CIOs are reliant on CMOs to gain a clear picture of marketing’s business requirements, and CMOs need CIOs to develop and execute marketing strategy.
Marketing spending trends, as identified by Gartner, point to the importance of technology as the cornerstone of modern marketing, even predicting several years ago that CMOs will outspend CIOs on IT this year. In fact, Gartner research shows that companies are readily adopting new technologies to support marketing functions.
Case in point, 56 percent of companies have fully adopted customer relationship management (CRM) software, and 32 percent have partially adopted it. For digital marketing, the figures are 48 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Database marketing technology shows similar results. Marketing automation is just behind at 39 percent in both categories, with customer analytics bringing up the rear (26 percent and 42 percent, respectively).
While CMOs are accustomed to making most marketing technology-related decisions for their companies, the responsibility for risk management and security falls to the CIO, who must ensure that deployed marketing solutions don’t introduce vulnerabilities to the enterprise network. IT also plays a valuable role in managing data and translating raw data into actionable insights.
Neither entity’s interests and responsibilities can be subordinated to the other and still be expected to optimally support the enterprise.
CMOs want control over the technologies that enable them to create positive customer experiences, empowering their teams to respond quickly and effectively to consumer demands. They are thus drawn to solutions that enable them to truly command marketing functions—without reliance on IT. Yet, they cannot work in isolation from the CIO without risking the business’s security posture.
Consequently, CMOs and CIOs must work as strategic partners—both crucial to the development and execution of the marketing strategy—to live up to customer expectations. This vision encompasses marketers bringing customer engagement priorities and desires to the table, while IT adds its understanding of technology capabilities and vendors. Data is another priority that is best approached together, as marketing is tasked with effectively using and interpreting it to build the brand, and IT manages and houses the data.
The bottom line is that marketing and IT are together experiencing rapidly evolving technology and would maximize its potential by responding to it together. CIOs can help by shifting their mindsets from cost-containment to creating best-in-class customer experiences—a shift that would be significantly expedited by instituting “customer impact and revenue” performance measurements as the metrics for both departments.
When teams have shared metrics, working together toward a common goal becomes natural. The CIO and CMO will find it mutually beneficial, for example, to jointly educate the CEO on what needs to be done to improve the customer experience by investing in business technology. The relationship can extend, ideally, to building collaborative teams and an organization wide culture dedicated to the customer.
Read on to Part 3 of this series, in which I cover the new skill set required for CMOs.<
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