The CMO-CIO Divide: Finding a Way to Work Together

November 30, 2015 James Thomas

The CMO-CIO Divide: Finding a Way to Work TogetherThe way marketers and technologists work together is changing. As marketing departments realize their full potential through tech, the CMO and CIO need to work together to get the best tools for the job. Alignment takes work, but shared goals make it easier for C-level leaders to find a common path.

These articles highlight the importance of alignment between marketing and IT leaders and provide ideas on how all members of the C-suite can work together effectively.

Q&A: Oracle’s Andrea Ward on Progress with the CMO Debate. PerformanceIN: “‘What’s becoming increasingly discussed is the role of the CMO in data management and owning some of the data strategy,’ says Oracle’s Andrea Ward. ‘When you talk about marketers getting technical, that’s where it starts to get really interesting. Within the marketing organisation, data has become siloed and it’s limited to marketing function, so marketers involved with social are concerned with social marketing data; marketers responsible for the website, email or any other digital engagement are really focused on the data limited to their area, leading it to be siloed.’”

On Bridging the CMO-CIO Divide. Enterprise Innovation: “Both sides need to seek to understand but I believe marketing has the most to learn. I’ve lived this in my current role. As the business leader, I had to work more closely with my technical teams. I wanted things done faster than was possible. We lived in frustration until we decided we were going to work through it. I had to get into a space that was uncomfortable for me and the technology side of the house had to get uncomfortable in driving a bit more aggressively than they would prefer. Once I understood more about their process, I saw that my requests were unreasonable. The technology side of the house had to get more uncomfortable in committing to aggressive timelines and participating in more business planning. Again, ego needs to be curbed and both sides need to get uncomfortable.”

8 Ways Red Hat’s CMO is Building a Modern Marketing Strategy. CMO: “Another key executive Jackie Yeaney, CMO of Red Hat, has aligned herself with is the CIO. But she admits the legacy operational and cultural differences between marketing and IT teams can make this relationship a challenging one. ‘Sometimes it’s speed of technology deployment, and sometimes it’s philosophy,’ she comments. ‘With technology in marketing changing so rapidly, we don’t want to lock ourselves into too much of anything. We need the right framework and standard interfaces so when new tools pop up, we can try those and it’s not a big, long debate. It can be hard for IT to change, because what we want doesn’t always meet that normal gated system they use to decide what to invest in. It’s difficult for me to say “here’s my three-year roadmap” – I can’t look that far, and I have a hard time keeping up with all the tools coming out.’”

Who Should Lead Digital Innovation: CMOs or COIs? IEDP: “The CMO wants a share of the prize. Digital innovation is a growth area in organizations in terms of strategic – and hence budget – importance. The IT savvy CMO will claim at least a part of that responsibility and budget. Most CMOs leverage their proximity to the customer as a sensible and powerful argument, to increase their share of the prize.”

CMOs and IT Must Meet in the Middle to Realize Marketing Goals. Skyword: “Given the importance of IT to their digital marketing strategy, marketing professionals should take the lead in building a more collaborative relationship. Several steps can be useful in creating a solid plan that both marketers and IT can use when working together. Ideally, a company’s CMO can sit down with its CIO and write down an outline of the responsibilities each department holds as they relate to working with one another.”

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