With the average CMO expected to hang onto his or her job for 60 months, a new report from Forrester Research is predicting they’ll find a new power source: The Chief Information Officer.
In fact, it may be the single best way to switch to a fully customer-centric approach required to win in the years ahead. “The CMO role has yet to emerge fully from its historical communications, promotion, and lead management functions,” writes Sheryl Pattek, the lead author in Forrester’s “CMOs Boldly Reach For More Influence in the Enterprise.” “But the pressures on organizations to become customer-centric have never been greater, creating an unprecedented needs to understand customers much better than before.” Doing so, she adds, takes a commitment to collaborate with CIOs, “to identify places where technology can create a more engaged customer relationship.”
What’s more, she predicts CMOs will see this shift as an opportunity to “bring some data managed outside the firm back into the company.” And that means they will also become more active cheerleaders for tech, as they advocate for transformation.
It’s not going to be an easy shift, and in many case, will require a few olive branches, considering the amount of tension that currently exists between many CIOs and CMOs. “Existing data systems were designed to support siloed needs,” she adds. “Frustrated CMOs can’t create the unified view of customer behavior they need to drive business actions. In 2015, CMOs will abandon efforts to find a workable solution on their own and seize the opportunity to truly collaborate with their CIO colleagues. The outcome will be an integrated data strategy and architecture to transform disparate touchpoint data into an end-to-end view of customer behavior.”
It’s also likely that traditional ad agencies will find themselves having to scramble, as corporate CMOs increasingly rely on digital-first agencies and digital technologist to help make these changes. Agencies will struggle throughout 2015 to differentiate themselves and appeal to eager CMOs,” she says. “Traditional agencies will strengthen their digital offerings through a consolidation of digital services and people. Digital agencies will have to go the other way, augmenting customer experience capabilities with traditional brand and creative skills.”