Why CIOs and CMOs Need to Leverage Their Skills

Posted 12-07-2012

Why CIOs and CMOs Need to Leverage Their Skills

By Ben Finklea

As marketing and technology initiatives in the workplace rapidly converge, CIOs and CMOs must learn to collaborate with each other. Last winter, leading analyst firms made bold statements about the future of marketing and technology in the corporate space. Gartner predicted that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs, while Forrester recommended the establishment of a separate marketing technology office to address the growth of marketing technology. Clearly, marketing and IT will overlap in the near future, creating the need for a more intimate relationship between CIOs and CMOs and their respective departments.

Technology advancements have turned marketing’s exclusive existence into a vast breeding ground for information sharing, idea generation, interaction, collaboration and engagement. The Internet has become the perfect platform for organizations to create dialogue with consumers. Similarly, CIOs are faced with the challenge of turning their digitally driven, streamlined risk mitigation and data management processes into clear marketing operations. The resulting charge is for this newly forged team to leverage each other’s capabilities to compete in an increasingly cluttered online space.

Marketers that are positioned to effectively use technology have an advantage over those that are not. IT must assist in making it easier for them to use new solutions as marketing technology continues to develop. Access to more data and new communication channels opened up by social media gives marketers a swath of tools to better engage consumers than ever before. That includes managing consumer data and, most important, swiftly distributing and managing content across several channels, including varying social platforms, mobile devices, regions and languages around the world. The No. 1 reason IT and marketing need to begin cross-pollinating is that effectively managing technology is central to any organization’s marketing success.

To ensure success, organizations must bridge the gap between the CIO and CMO to make online marketing a less painful. In the era of social media, marketing depends on creating relevant content and making timely consumer engagement. A central technology infrastructure that manages and distributes content to consumers across several key channels is critical. That’s where IT comes in. If managing an endless network of consumer and market interactions is vital to an organization’s marketing success, IT must be highly involved in maintaining the system that connects the variety of consumer engagement and distributes information. CIOs and CMOs must clearly communicate and actively share their respective departments’ goals and initiatives as they become increasingly dependent on one another.

CIOs can leverage their departments to address the deluge of marketing data coming from the social sphere as well. The data generated from consumer behavior on social platforms are certainly being used to advance marketing practices through context-aware approaches and more. However, the sheer magnitude of the data can be overwhelming. Without a central solution to manage the data needed to compare campaigns or determine which data is relevant to achieve marketing goals, social data is more of a distraction than a tool. IT can help manage this as well as develop methods to protect data and ensure consumer privacy.

Social media and consumer data have given CMOs and their teams a new arsenal of tools to better communicate with target audiences. But marketing needs the IT department’s help to maximize its success with this expanding technology. With the Internet as the medium for distributing marketing content, CIOs and CMOs should implement a flexible content management system (CMS) that supports community engagement with an adept social publishing platform capable of integration with existing social networks. To keep IT’s foray into the marketing world free of hassles, the ideal CMS will integrate not only with a range of interactive marketing and analytics tools but also with existing IT systems to eliminate the pain points of switching systems.

Why CIOs and CMOs Need to Leverage Their Skills

The explosive growth in marketing technology requires marketing leaders to become more savvy and involved with technology management. But that shouldn’t be seen as a threat to CIOs. Instead, it is an opportunity to merge goals with CMOs and for IT to assist in the management of emerging marketing technology. Customer behavior dictates that successful marketing initiatives rely on technology from social media to big data analysis. Bridging the gap between CIOs, the traditional corporate kings of tech, and increasingly tech-dependent CMOs will be the linchpin to an organization’s marketing success.


Ben Finklea is the CEO of Internet marketing company
Volacci. He is a tech entrepreneur, author and thought leader in the realms of branding, marketing and Drupal.