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IT Masters News

CIO + CMO = Digital Vision
18 December 2014


Data, data everywhere, time to stop and think.

Data is being accumulated from many sources within a business – sales, customer service, website landing page and so on.  While it is useful in its respective databases and makes sense in its native form to those using it on a daily basis, such as billing, there is no doubt the successfully merged data can provide so much more customer information – buying habits, buying cycles, level of expenditure and more.

Making the most of this data needs a coordinated effort between marketing and IT with the outcome being of benefit to the customer, who are a critical factor for any business.

Collaboration, coordination, combining the skills and knowledge of IT and marketing to enhance the customer experience is the best outcome both internally and externally.

Marketing must have a strategy for the organisation’s digital presence but it would be difficult to do this without the technology to deliver it and technology without a strategy, is technology just for the sake of it.  Technology is required to make sense of “big data”, to do the analytics which should provide insights into the customer experience which is crucial in maintaining a competitive advantage.

Teamwork Chart


How do you achieve collaboration and coordination between colleagues, who by the very nature of their roles, have a different mindset?  Left brain meets right brain.  One says potayto and the other says potahto.  You get the picture.


Communication.  Too easy.  Forget the jargon, ditch the acronyms, work at keeping the messages simple and communicate regularly.

Build the relationships, not just at the top, but at all levels and establish a common goal.  A common goal for both teams makes achieving the goal much more plausible.  Recognising the skills in each area and the contribution they make to a successful outcome should be from the top down and done early in the process.

Hiring staff who have both skills will assist to bring the teams together, as an interpreter perhaps but having an understanding of both areas has value.

The overall issue should not be about control or ownership, i.e. who is in control and who has ownership, joint ownership may not be realistic, but clearly defined responsibilities are key.

To achieve a digital vision which is effective and satisfies customer requirements, Forrester Research, Inc. in a recent report advises marketing and IT leaders to follow a three-step recipe and align their people, process, and technology.  The report – “The CMO and CIO Must Accelerate on Their Path to Better Collaboration” is based on an online survey conducted in partnership with Forbes Insights.

“Marketers can no longer effectively lead marketing organizations that deliver results without having technology intertwined into their business practice,” says VP and Principal Analyst Sheryl Pattek, author of the report.

According to Forrester, “marketing and IT employees don’t disagree on everything. Seventy-eight percent of marketers and 81% of IT staff members deem customer intelligence a strategic priority”.  That is a healthy percentage on which to leverage future success.

The Forrester report has four suggestions on how companies can get their CMOs and CIOs to work together.

  • Meet on a regular basis.
  • Create a marketing technology blueprint: “If CMOs and CIOs can sit down at the table together and begin to outline the marketing technology strategy, it then allows the two organizations to work towards a common vision”.
  • Establish shared goals and an end-of-the-year bonus modifier.
  • Hire a referee.

If the referee is challenged, consider DRS – a Decision Referral System can alleviate any doubt.