Marketing and IT Still Circling The Campfire
This disconnect and lack of collaboration between CMOs and CIOs threatens the ability of companies to deliver effective customer experiences: 90% of marketing and IT executives report that collaboration is not at the right level. Despite their growing understanding that they must be more closely aligned, CMOs and CIOs have trust issues.
Key highlights from the research include:
- CMOs believe IT doesn’t make the marketing function a priority
- More than 30% of CMOs believe IT keeps marketing out of the loop and does not make time and technical resources available
- 36% of CMOs say IT deliverables fall short of expectations
- 46% of CIOs say marketing does not provide an adequate level of business requirements
- Despite CIOs appearing more open to engaging with CMOs, only 45% of CIOs say that supporting marketing is near or at the top of their list of priorities
According to this new study by Accenture, a disconnect between chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) threatens the ability of companies to deliver effective customer experiences.
Brian Whipple, global managing director of Accenture Interactive, opines “… CMOs must place an immediate focus on technology to improve relevant customer experiences and advance marketing practices… CMOs and CIOs agree technology is important… they must work together… on how technology… applied to drive their company’s specific marketing needs… and result in increased brand affinity, loyalty and sales growth…”
Every business is a digital business, says the report. Technology, along with data, analytics and design, underpins and shapes the entire customer experience, and is fast becoming a primary driver of market differentiation, business growth and profitability. Marketing is so inextricably linked to technology, says the report, that by 2017, CMOs are projected to spend more money on information technology and analytics than CIOs, a remarkable development considering that CMOs regard digital orientation as their weakest capability, at the exact moment when it needs to be their strongest.
However, only one in 10 marketing and IT executives say collaboration is at the right level. Despite their growing understanding that they must be more closely aligned, CMOs and CIOs have a trust issue. Both functions focus on building other C-suite relationships before investing in the marketing-IT relationship. As a result, the two functions are disconnected in how technology should support and enable improved marketing performance.
CMOs expect much quicker turnaround and higher quality from IT, with a greater degree of flexibility in responding to market requirements. CMOs view the CIO organization as an execution and delivery arm at a time when they should consider IT as a strategic partner and involve CIOs when planning new marketing investments.
Based on their responses, five imperatives emerge to build trust and improve alignment between the CMO and CIO functions:
- Identify the CMO as the chief experience officer (CXO)
- Accept IT as a strategic partner with marketing, not just as a platform provider
- Agree on key business levers for marketing and IT alignment, such as access to customer data vs. privacy and security
- Change the skill mix to ensure that both organizations are more marketing and tech savvy
- Develop trust by trusting
But the beliefs of CMOs and CIOs often diverge radically. 61% of CIOs feel their companies are prepared for the digital future. CMOs are more hesitant, with only 49% feeling their companies are prepared to leverage digital channels. However, they don’t share the same reasons for feeling unprepared. The top concern of 43% of CMOs is insufficient funding for digital marketing channels.
The chief concerns of 50% of the CIOs are solution complexity and integration difficulties. In a fragmented cloud services world, CIOs are challenged by what it means to have infrastructure.
In another example, both functions agree on the need for greater collaboration, but further digging reveals a much different picture. Globally, 77% of CIOs agree they need to be aligned with CMOs, whereas only 56% of CMOs feel this way about CIOs. CMOs are beginning to see alternative ways to buy technology capabilities wrapped by services, such as partnering with outside vendors rather than with the CIO.
Marketers want more freedom from IT, and IT wants more planning and compliance with standards.While 45% of CMOs say they want to enable their employees to access and use data and content without IT intervention, 49% of CIOs counter that marketing pulls in technologies without consideration for IT standards.
Marketing strategy is increasingly focused on how to leverage Big Data. Turning this data into relevant customer experiences at scale is a far cry from past capabilities focused on creative and brand strategies. These new services require a new kind of rigor and a deep technology backbone to enable them, says the report.
Marketing’s #1 driver (out of 15) for aligning and interacting with IT is access to customer insight and intelligence, but that driver ranks #10 for CIOs. A typical IT concern, for privacy and security around customer data and brand protection, ranks #4 for CIOs but #11 for CMOs. CIOs rank IT’s strategic capability as the #5 reason for alignment, while CMOs see IT as more of a platform provider, which they rank as the #9 driver.
Essentially, CMOs view the CIO organization as an execution and delivery arm, not as a driver of marketing strategy and excellence, nor a partner to be considered on equal footing. CMOs expect much quicker turnaround and higher quality from IT, with a greater degree of flexibility in responding to market requirements, says the report.
Nor are CMOs aligned with CIOs on IT priorities. Large differences exist in appreciating marketing platforms, social media and campaign management as priorities. CIOs typically want to measure results to optimize campaigns. CMOs want to generate leads and sales. Because they are not marching to a common purpose, collaboration cannot occur.
Marketing and IT executives both agree that gaining better customer insight and reaching the market more efficiently must be at the top of the CMO’s agenda as it relates to technology adoption and usage. But IT executives see tying analytics to business outcomes as more important (45% of CIOs vs. 33% of CMOs), while marketers value lead generation more highly (43% of CMOs vs. 35% of CIOs). More CMOs than CIOs also think it’s more important to improve marketing productivity and performance (44% vs. 36%).
Some other examples of misaligned IT priorities:
- The CIO’s #1 priority is advancing platforms to aid in marketing measurement and campaign optimization. That ranks #8 out of 16 priorities for CMOs
- The CMO’s #1 priority is deploying better marketing execution and operational systems and platforms. That ranks #6 for CIOs
- Some 30% of CIOs want to further the use of social media and online listening and contact systems; only 24% of CMOs do
- Some 26% of CIOs want to introduce closed-loop campaign measurement and tracking capabilities; only 19% of CMOs do
The report, based on the findings of the study, suggests five imperatives should take hold to build trust and improve alignment between the CMO and CIO functions:
- Identify the CMO as the chief experience officer (CXO). CMOs must take responsibility for the consumer experience and drive consumer-centric measures. By understanding the drivers of a connected customer experience across channels, including strategic requirements (such as flexible user interfaces and a unified view of consumer data) and critical enablers (such as technology platforms and operating models), the CXO plays an important role in making the multichannel strategy an integral part of a company’s business strategy.
- Accept IT as a strategic partner with marketing. When planning new marketing investments, marketers should not view IT as just a delivery platform, but should work together to understand what systemic changes in their operating model need to occur to allow them to take advantage of new technologies rapidly while reducing cost and complexity.
- Agree on key business levers for marketing and IT integration, such as access to customer data vs. privacy and security. Alignment should be prominent in the agendas and investment plans for each function. Already more than one-third of CMOs and CIOs spend over 30% of their budgets on technology-enabled marketing, so it’s clearly important to both functions. Moreover, budgets are sizeable. About one in three marketers globally and two in five IT executives say their budgets are more than $500 million. Together they should manage, measure and optimize marketing investments, resources and campaigns.
- Change the skill mix to ensure that the marketing organization becomes more tech savvy and the IT organization becomes more agile and responsive to market demands. CMOs should empower their teams to drive technology decisions and become savvy about digital technology architecture, collaborating with their technology counterparts to serve the demands of the digital age.
- Develop trust by trusting. The only way to build trust is just to do it. Consumers don’t have the time or interest for the inefficiencies and mishaps that arise when marketing and IT work at cross purposes. Consumers can take their business elsewhere, and they will, concludes the report. CMOs and CIOs must open the floodgates of communication, pollinate cross-disciplinary teams of marketing and IT pros and welcome each other in the C-suite.
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