A revolution of sorts is taking place at companies around the world.
These days, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is operating at the center of the enterprise, laser-focused on executing market strategy and strengthening customer relationships. Toward this end, CMOs are increasingly making IT investments in this cloud and Big Data-driven age. The rise in IT spend is being driven by companies making more market and customer-centric decisions, hence the rise of the CMO and marketing.
With decisions being driven more by the business, CMOs direct spend on IT investments will continue to increase rapidly. As previously reported, the Gartner Group predicts CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs within three years. According to Laura McLellan, a research VP at Gartner, “Marketing is now the central engine of growth for many companies.”
Not only is the CMO influencing IT spend, he is also claiming more of the enterprise’s overall IT spend even when not spending directly. That said, this trend shouldn’t be viewed as a battle between the CMO and CIO over who is in charge and who is spending more, nor should it be. At the end of the day, both have a specific role to play — the CMO representing the business, the market, and the customer, and the CIO representing the enterprise, all business functions and technology governance with an important role in keeping the systems and processes aligned and in sync.
Partnering for Success
I believe that CMOs are quickly learning more about IT and technology, and in turn, CIOs are evolving to learn more about the market, the customer and marketing, so that they can better understand each other’s responsibilities and work together in productive partnership.
Together, these mission-critical functions have direct responsibility in enabling the enterprise to become “digital” and are powering IT and technology to become more competitive, with a clearer focus on both the customer and the market.
IT No Longer a Back-Office Function
With regard to the CIO’s role, she needs to get out of her back office and move to the front lines of the business, closer to the market, customers, and other key players across the enterprise in order to understand what is needed from an IT and technology perspective to compete and win in the marketplace.
CIOs should operate as strategic business drivers, working hand-in-hand with the C-suite in transforming business models, go-to-market strategies and bringing technology to the table that can drive differentiation, speed, and insight while uncovering business-critical opportunities.
Bridging the IT/Marketing Divide
The IT and marketing organizations have specific competencies and responsibilities that are rapidly becoming more complex and challenging, especially in this Big Data world. Despite technologists and marketers possessing different skillsets, they must stay up-to-date on the ever-changing IT and marketing landscape, which is a tremendous challenge. While there is an increasing overlap and convergence between the CIO and CMO positions, it’s important to understand that both positions require unique skills and shouldn’t merge to a point of indistinguishability.
What I do believe is that in marketing, we’ll see more marketing technologists focusing on the technology side of marketing. And in IT organizations, we’ll see more technology marketers looking at technology with a marketing perspective. For there to be a successful partnership, these roles should operate like “ambassadors,” enabling marketing and IT to collaborate effectively and support each other.
Read this story here on how CMOs and CIOs should work together. It is very well done.