The CMO and CIO: A Synergistic Relationship

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Marketing and IT have continued to merge, often outpacing the organizational structure of the corporate dynamic. The traditional marketing strategies of the CMO– direct marketing, cold calls, and print media– have transitioned into social media, website design, viral marking, and many other exciting technologies that cross into roles typically considered the domain of the chief information officer. Despite this overlap, CMOs must set the direction of technology in the marketing arena and work with the CIO to incorporate strategies instead of assuming that the CIO will bring about optimal technology marketing systems.

CIOs are typically concerned with investing in and incorporating enterprise-level systems in the company and working to ensure that all parts work with legacy systems. Their goal is often to reduce costs while ensuring functionality and maximizing uptime. CMOs, on the other hand, are concerned with marketing only. Their goal is to develop an optimized marketing strategy that incorporates “what works”– whether it be direct mail, social media campaigns, viral videos, blogging, etc.

Today’s CMO has become a true analyst. While the art of marketing is not gone, the science of marketing is inarguably a critical focus. The old-fashioned idea of “this looks nice” has yielded to CTR, heat maps, and A/B testing. Today’s marketers have to rely on technology-heavy processes to ensure their campaigns have the best potential for success. In order to handle this new technology load, the CMO has become the guide star for the chief information officer in implementing technology that will shape the company’s bottom line.

With rapid changes and viral marketing taking over many brands, the CMO is charged with focusing the IT department on technologies that will propel the company forward. While the traditional CIO approach would typically be to allow newer technology to percolate in the industry, weeding out bugs and proving itself, marketing technology such as analytic, social media interactivity, and other cutting-edge technologies become immediate needs for the CMO. It has become necessary for the CMO to be the advocate for taking strategic chances whenever game-changing technology emerges.

Arguably, CMOs have put tremendous pressure on IT and IT budgets in their drive to be relevant, but the rewards can be quick and significant. A strong, interactive blogging system can allow customers to bond, forming lifelong relationships. Analytics can reduce marketing costs and increase sales, but, in order for this to happen, the CMO must continue to take the lead.