CMO vs CIO: The Most Unlikely of Allies?


Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Monday, May 10, 2021

Breaking down the silos between the CMO and CIO leads to better customer experience and true digital transformation.

Article 4 Minutes
CMO vs CIO: The Most Unlikely of Allies?

Once upon a time, chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) worked very separately. With the rise in marketing tech and companies making substantial investments in this area, these once siloed departments must work together seamlessly to achieve digital transformation.

Bridging the gap between the physical world and digital ambition

The reality of business today is that many departments that once had clearly defined boundaries now spill into areas covered by others in the organization. It takes a wide selection of skills to ensure solutions are found for customer pain points and the associated buy-in is achieved for business success.

It’s no longer possible to say that marketing falls under the purview of just one team without touching on the scope of others. In order for the gap between the physical world and digital ambition to be bridged, CMOs and CIOs must work together. This will enable them to transform systems and workflows for increased efficiency and improved results.

Understanding the customer

Creating a better understanding of the customer is central to both the role of the CIO and the CMO. While the former relies on capturing and interpreting data, the latter profiles customers on a more individual level. Despite differing approaches, the CMO must rely on the systems put in place by the CIO with the two roles feeding off each other to create a fuller picture and more complete view of the customer.

Dependence on digital models

Digital transformation is at the heart of modern business and is driving change. No organization can overlook its importance, which in turn propels the CIO into a position of power. CMOs must consult CIOs in order for their visions to become reality, utilizing their expertise to get the most out of the significant investments in MarTech and other technologies.

The World Economic Forum recognised this in its updated version of the Davos Manifesto:

“Never have we been so aware of our dependence on digital models, and we are not going back. With the power of digital technology so very visible, leading companies must now use technology to transform business itself to deliver for a broader set of stakeholders.”

Blurring of roles

In the recent Holmes Report Influence 100, it became clear that many professionals see roles within their organizations becoming more blurred. In fact, for some job titles including CMO and chief communications officer (CCO), it’s predicted they may merge formally into something new along the lines of chief storyteller.

While it’s likely that CMO and CIO will remain separate entities to reflect the differing skillsets involved, their newfound status of allies mimics wider trends within business. As workflows evolve and organizations navigate their way through the digital space, no element of a company can succeed in its aims without the input of the CIO.

Powering innovation

Marketing tools have become mission-critical in providing the right level of customer experience. Harnessing the CIO’s technical skills to enable the CMO’s expertise to shine allows for greater levels of personalization, improved communication and a smoother customer journey, all of which add up to increased performance.

Key benefits of a CMO-CIO partnership

A close working relationship between the CMO and CIO of an organization can have wide-reaching benefits, including:

  • Creating successful systems in which cloud-based and on-premises tools are responsive
  • Preventing data loss, which can lead to operational and reputational issues
  • Increased data sharing for a seamless customer journey across all elements of the business
  • Break down silos to create a single customer service system and eliminate frustration
  • Collaboration on meeting regulation standards for data privacy and protection within marketing systems

In the modern world of business, departments can’t operate effectively in different silos and nowhere is this more evident than IT and marketing. They must find a way to ensure their specific skills are used for the overall benefit of the organization and its customers.

To learn more about how to break down silos between teams and departments, listen to our interview with Myriam Jessier on The Strategic Marketing Show:

Listen to the episode via your preferred pocast platform:

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