The New Dynamic Duo: CMO and CIO
September 13, 2012
Andrew Frey
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Businesses are increasingly under pressure to find new ways to increase productivity and stay ahead of the competition. With the age of the customer now upon us, organizations that are customer-obsessed will lead in this era, with a blend of marketing and technology that is seamless to the outside world.

As a result, CMOs and CIOs must join forces in order to connect with today's consumer across new channels including mobile devices and social networks. However marketers often point to their lack of alignment with the company's IT department as the biggest obstacle to reaching today's consumers.

Most will agree the relationship between IT and Marketing needs improvement. The CMO's job is to be highly agile and react quickly to changing market and customer expectations. The CIO's job is to make sure there is an infrastructure that is lasting and secure. So it's common to experience disconnects and see the emergence of separate goals.

Also, IT often has many customers to satisfy in addition to outside customers and consumers: internal stakeholders, internal projects, etc. As a result, a value equation is often used to determine prioritization of IT projects. The fundamental flaw with this is that by always focusing on the biggest ROI projects — which on paper, makes sense — you can easily miss the low hanging fruit that would drastically improve the end user experience for a customer or consumer. Sometimes, it's the little details that matter most.

CMOs are beginning to realize just how important technology is intertwined with their ability to execute in today's digitized marketplace. Technology is pervasive through all key areas of marketing including new channels such as digital, websites and social media.

On the other hand, CIOs are beginning to raise the bar and step into enterprise leadership roles in addition to running the IT department. Some are providing space for CMOs to quickly deploy new digital campaigns. Others are looking for ways to assist CMOs more effectively as marketing needs continue to evolve.

Marketing and IT Working Together

With marketing budgets now larger than IT budgets and growing faster, in order to ensure the right investments are being made, marketing must work with IT to identify an inflection point that allows them to effectively justify the investment they are looking to make.

As a full-service, technology-enabled marketing company, Detroit-based Marketing Associates LLC produces and delivers high-quality integrated marketing solutions for Fortune 500 companies across different industries. Consumers expect flawless performance as they interact with these brands through websites, dedicated applications, promotion-oriented social media campaigns and other marketing vehicles.

In order for the company to foster collaboration and communication among its clients, managing the disparate goals of marketing and IT teams and satisfying the requirements of both - i.e. launching a website securely in two or three weeks - has become a requirement.

Typically, marketing wants fast launches and professional performance for online marketing vehicles to help enhance brand, while IT is more concerned with matters like security, privacy and disaster recovery. Demonstrating performance levels through a true view into the consumer experience helps satisfy marketing teams’ demands while giving IT peace of mind through a secure, stable delivery environment.

As marketing channels continue to evolve and grow ever more quickly, the partnership between the CMO and CIO is without question a logical step. Together, these two positions can help one another in the ultimate goal of understanding and serving the demanding and digitally adept customer and driving revenue growth.

What's becoming clear is that in order to stay relevant and remain competitive in today’s uber-digital and social world, the CIO and the CMO must work together. In other words, both CMO and CIO will increasingly become less effective apart – but more effective together.

ABOUT Andrew Frey

Andrew Frey is CTO of Marketing Associates. Before joining Marketing Associates, Frey served as CIO and IT Director at leading national corporations such as Compuware, Kelly Services, J. Walter Thompson and Coolfire.

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