We discussed in Part 2 of this series the critical role data management now plays in the day to day life of the marketing professional. In Part 3 we delve into the seemingly unlikely marriage of the CIO and the CMO. The ‘always-on’ customer has led to massive technological innovation for the management of near real-time data. A clear line of communication between these two departments is crucial in order to achieve and maintain success in the digital age.
The IT/CMO Connection
By Michael J Pallerino
There is another trend helping to define the marketing world – the growing relationship between CMOs and CIOs. According to the “IT Without Boundaries” study by Avanade, technology budgets and control are moving outside of the traditional IT department, with 37 percent of technology spending now controlled by departments other than IT, including marketing.
Trends like these are bringing the worlds of technology and marketing closer together, and changing the role of IT and marketing leaders. “As CMOs manage their brands, they also have to coordinate multiple interactions with today’s ‘always on’ customer,” says Stella Goulet, CMO of Avanade. “At the same time, CIOs must manage technology that is capable of significant innovation. But whose role is it to drive customer-centric innovation?”
The answer is both the CMO and CIO. To succeed in the new digital landscape, marketing and IT must collaborate and find a common point of view, what Avanade calls the Chief Information Marketing Officer (CIMO) Perspective. “CMOs and CIOs have individual expertise and experience,” Goulet says. “But to adopt the CIMO Perspective, they must share a unified digital vision. This allows their organization to harness the combined power of marketing and IT to deliver better digitally enabled experiences for their customers and other key audiences.”
Karrie Forbes, Executive VP of Marketing for Mattress Firm, told Avanade that she believes all departments should be in regular communication, and that specific teams come together for more collaboration based on the business need. At Mattress Firm, its online, marketing, e-commerce and ITS teams work closely together to round out different areas. This type of relationship will continue to drive and define the new marketing executive.
“Almost every interaction with a consumer provides an opportunity for data mining and deriving valuable insights,” Forbes says in Avanade’s report. “Whether it’s an online campaign or data mining of our customers who buy in-store, it’s a cross-functional effort.”
At the end of the day, a CMO’s job is to drive results at every end of the spectrum. “I don’t think ROI is overrated because it’s all about results,” says GiftCards.com CMO, Carlos Tribino. “The challenge with ROI is the balancing act between short-term and long-term ROI. On occasion, the two may come into conflict, and that is when immediate ROI may be overrated. A brand needs to reach the proper balance in price point, scale, distribution strategy, etc.”
The focus, as any marketer will tell you, is on long-term results. “Tangibles are easier to manage; intangibles not so much,” Tribino says. “Achieving long-term growth through smart decisions on both makes a good marketing executive. But as for the bottom line, the emphasis needs to be in results. Amazing PR coverage that does not deliver on short-term or long-term goals does little benefit to the company or brand.”