The CMO/CIO Bond: How Solid Is Yours?

While CMOs often save time by developing tech-driven programs that somehow bypass their IT departments, going rogue usually backfires, according to a new report from Forrester. In fact, CMOs who actively work to build strong relationships with their IT counterparts have the most success with marketing innovations.

Some CMOs inherently get that  “understanding the internal technology plumbing is as critical as understanding customer behavior,” writes Forrester analyst Sheryl Pattek in the new report, which includes a quiz that CMOs can take to assess how tech-advanced (or limited) their skills are.

Those who don’t -- buying technology to suit their immediate needs rather than taking the time to develop it internally -- end up using piecemeal solutions and don’t fully take advantage of the best customer touchpoints or account for an entire purchasing cycle. (Forrester cites a recent CMO Council that found 36% of marketers say their digital marketing programs are not well unified.) 



But CMOs who are working more closely with internal tech teams are better able to harvest customer intelligence, “pulling together disparate data, customer input, responses, and campaign results from various systems to tell a concise and easily understood story.”

It also makes it easier to connect brand experiences across channels, including mobile technology, getting closer to true “channel agnosticism.”

Done well, she writes, CMOs will have more evidence than ever on the impact of marketing on sales growth. “By consolidating all of its customer-marketing information in a single data warehouse and analyzing it from many angles, the InterContinental Hotels Group achieved a 35% higher rate of conversion,” she says, by more precisely targeting 71 million of its Priority Club.

While the long-term goal is for CMOs to become effective at identifying the next big brand-building technology, most aren’t ready. In addition to offering a quiz for CMOs to gauge their techno-openness, she suggests they start by creating a well-defined buyer’s journey, and identifying which customer-facing technologies are most marketing-intensive. 

And finally, she writes, don’t overlook the obvious: Ask your CIO what he or she thinks you don’t know, “and discuss how to fill in the knowledge gaps as they relate to the road map. By working closely upfront, you will learn more about the power of technology, and the CIO will understand better both today’s infrastructure needs and the flexibility required as the marketing effort evolves.”

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