Are CIOs and CMOs on a Collision or Collaboration Course?

CMO and CIOs get along ok, but the relationship could be strengthened

Do CIOs and CMO like each other? While they could not be more different—stereotypically, the CIO is analytical, cautious, compliance-oriented and cost conscious while the CMO is action-oriented, outgoing, customer-facing and opportunisti—they actually do.

A CIO.com survey in May found that most CIOs rate their relationship with CMOs as good to excellent, which makes me think that they are wary about each other, not hostile. After all, both are adults. It should be noted that 4% more CMO's rated their CIO relationships as "excellent" than the other way around (see chart).

Digging a little deeper exposes the tension.

The CIO.com survey found that CIOs and CMOs do not rate each other as top business partners. And I would have to say the CMO is more generous in their assessment of the relationship with the CIO, which suggests they are less threatened. Here's how CMOs rated their CIO relationships:  Consultant, 30%; rogue player, 6%; strategic advisor, 31%; risk assessor, 19%; and road block, 14%. Most notably, 26% of CIOs viewed CMOs as rogue players while only 6% said CMOs are roadblocks. 

Another story about the tension between the two roles did include a concise quote from author, consultant and CIO.com columnist Martha Heller about why they are crossing paths more and it's not just because the CIO is a bump on log.

"I think [collaboration with] marketing has always been a priority, but not necessarily higher than supply chain or operations or other functions. But because now there's been so much innovation around CRM and predictive analytics and so on, marketing is rising toward the top of the list."

How would you characterize your relationship with the CIO or CMO?

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