CMOs, CIOs Disconnect On IT Issues, Impacting Company Success

CMOs and CIOs don't see eye-to-eye on IT priorities, creating obstacles across the organization that will hinder success and stifle return on investments, according to a recent study.

The Accenture Interactive study focuses on understanding the perspectives and challenges of CMOs and CIOs to better drive initiatives. The relationship is not new, but it requires deeper collaboration and understanding. For starters, CMOs are projected to spend more money on information technology and analytics than CIOs by 2017, according to Gartner.

CMOs and CIOs have trust issues, and improved transparency is needed between the two C-level execs. More than three in 10 CMOs feel that IT keeps marketing out of the loop, doesn't make the marketing function a priority and does not make time and technical resources available. For their part, more than three in 10 CIOs agree that they keep marketing out of the loop and don't provide the time and technical resources to help. They also believe that marketing bypasses IT to work directly with vendors.

CMOs need to focus on more than just marketing -- taking responsibility for the entire customer journey, according to Nandini Nayak, managing director, customer experience and social for Accenture Interactive. She calls that person the "Experience Officer."

Data and technology-driven marketing departments will require new talent. CMOs will compete for talent with CIO divisions and other tech groups, according to Nayak. Some 61% of CIOs believe their companies are prepared for the digital channels, compared with 49% of CMOs. The execs need to set joint priorities to bridge the gap between marketing and IT.

Nayak believes search marketing investments are made to acquire customers, sending traffic from engines to Web sites where consumers either make a purchase, download information or browse the content. "Many times the investments made to acquire customers don't match the actual numbers of conversions," she said. "It creates a disconnect, because the Web site is managed as an owned media property by IT, and the advertising is owned by marketing."

Major differences also exist when it comes to setting marketing priorities in social media and campaign management. CIOs typically want to measure results to optimize campaigns. CMOs want to generate leads and sales. Nayak said the disconnect between CMO and CIO gets in the way of collaboration.

Both agree that gaining better customer insight remains important, but 45% of CIOs versus 33% of CMOs see tying analytics to business outcomes as more important. Similarly, 43% of CMOs value generating leads more than 35% of CIOs.

While their beliefs differ in many situations, CIOs and CMOs share some common ground: 36% of both C-Suite execs face challenges in implementing solutions to improve marketing effectiveness. Complexity and integration lead the list for CMOs at 47% and CIOs at 42%.

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