CMO and CIO: Art Plus Science Equals Success

With the C-suite keen to see ROI for every dollar spent, marketing departments are under more pressure than ever–tasked with making sense of a complex media landscape, a range of new devices and endpoints, and shifting, demanding customer buying habits.

The rise of social media, search, and mobile channels has created a fight to the finish for customer attention. As a result, marketers increasingly need to know how to quickly adjust their marketing mix to deliver results. Granted, software and systems are available that promise to not only automate the process, but to also make life easier for marketers while providing that all-elusive ROI. The question is: How are CMOs and their teams supposed to make sense of all that is out there?

Enter the CIO, CTO, and other information technology folks.

Information, Please?

Marketers have been using software and other technology tools for quite some time. Marketing automation, campaign management, and databases have all traveled through agencies and corporate marketing departments. Such programs were used insularly, usually by only select staff members, and rarely needed the assistance of other departments. Social media monitoring and demand generation are perhaps the hottest marketing tools right now, as can be expected.

Such programs primarily focus on execution. However, to demonstrate ROI and measure marketing effectiveness, marketers need insights into buying patterns, audience interactions, and overall customer perceptions and behavior. Such insights are provided by analytics software, which is usually handled by the CIO’s organization and is only recently being adopted by the marketing department.

In some companies, analytics is a standalone department and job function, usually reporting to finance, accounting, sales, or administration. Interestingly, German business software maker SAP has a business information officer who reports jointly to both the CMO and CIO of the company. Most retailers have analytics people who provide essential data to the marketing department, with insight that affects merchandise mix, store design, promotions, and any possible customer touch points.

Having analytics report to marketing is fairly new, yet it holds the most promise for marketers to be able to tell their story and provide value to the company’s bottom line.

In a recent survey conducted by consulting firm Accenture, 65% of global marketers said their operational success depends on mastering customer analytics, followed by offering innovation, customer engagement, and marketing operations.

Agencies, which traditionally handle creative or media-buying duties on behalf of their clients, have gotten in on the analytics act, too. For example, last year Interpublic, owner of McCann-Erickson, Draft FCB, and other agencies launched Geomentum to provide analytics and insights for retail clients that are seeking to maximize the value of their chains at the local-store level.

From all angles, "Customer analytics is a huge, untapped opportunity for marketers," says Kevin Quiring, senior executive in the North American marketing transformation practice at Accenture. Marketers might be thrilled that they survived the "nuclear winter," he says, but analytics provides the strongest way to bridge the gap and reduce the friction between the CFO and CMO in any organization.

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