The CMO and CIO Power Team: Fostering a Culture of Collaboration
Early on in my marketing career I was in a competitive strategy role, and I remember my manager expressing concern one day about the lack of data in a particular area. "I feel very exposed" were his exact words. It's not a good feeling.
And yet it's one that too many CMOs must find themselves in, based on the results of IBM's recent Global Chief Marketing Officer study. A full 79 percent of the 1,700 CMOs interviewed for the study believe the level of complexity will be high or very high over the next five years, and yet only 48 percent feel prepared to cope with it.
There is certainly no shortage of data these days, but finding the right data, analyzing it, getting it into the right hands, and ensuring that systems are set up to provide the round-trip loop from customer to marketing and back again, across all forms of engagement, is a challenge that many companies have yet to overcome. (In IBM's State of Marketing 2012 survey, 58% of respondents said they believe existing systems are too disparate to integrate different channels.)
Just as the current marketing environment is driving a culture of customer centricity and personalized interaction, a cultural shift is required inside the organization as well.
Closing the gap between marketing requirements and IT capabilities requires a culture of collaboration in which the CMO and CIO work towards a set of agreed-upon goals that factor in both marketing and IT interests.
As IT expands its presence, moving out of the back office and into the front office, marketing must bring the CIO into their world--a world where discussions need to be monitored and responded to in real time, and where missing a trend may mean missing the market. And CIOs must ensure that marketing is aware of all the possibilities afforded by today's technology, so they can be sure that they are taking advantage of latest advances in areas like big data and analytics.
Only then can the organization move forward with a plan that will ensure that it will be able to create personalized customer experiences, automate engagement, and apply analytics for a view into the most likely path to success. By creating a culture of collaboration, the CMO and CIO should be able to implement data and analytic platforms that put data into hands of end users and the customers themselves. And do so all while managing the risks of being a social business.
The Chief Marketing Officer study made clear how CMOs in the most successful enterprises are distinguishing themselves: They are focusing on relationships, not just transactions, and they are committed to developing a clear "corporate character." The relationship between CMO and CIO, and the internal culture they can foster, is no less crucial.
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