by Nathan Williams

The CIO-CMO partnership part 1: Trust

Jun 24, 20123 mins
IT Leadership

We’re now clear on why you have a crucial role in designing and maintaining the modern brand experience your company creates which gives you another reason why changing customer expectations should matter to you.

So we have reached the moment to address how to get the experience right for your company and customers.

The most important advice from this blog series is this: work with your CMO.

Marketing and IT may seem like wildly different disciplines, populated by very different types of people but again technology has started to change things.

A person working in marketing will be working with digital technology for most of their day, everyday through the brand’s websites, social media, digital advertising and email.

But as we have previously discussed, marketing is moving into new areas: the deep customer experience and the brand’s role in the customers lives.

Rather than talking at customers, brands have learnt to create value for customers on their terms, in the context of their lives and this requires increasingly more complex technological solutions.

It also poses further issues for the CMO such as dealing with the ever-increasing richness and complexity of data, either generated by customers, or what is needed to be generated in order to learn from customer behaviour so that targeted experiences can be delivered by the brand.

Traditionally this is out of the CMO’s comfort zone, and obviously where the CIO is more at home.

Yet this relationship is not new, CIOs and CMOs have beenworking together for a few yearsnow, but what has the experience been like?

Trust has been the principal issue, with both camps beginning to see each other as a threat.

A vicious circle is created: the CIO introducing marketing automation tools, erodes the CMO’s control and the CMO now looks outside the business for faster to-market cloud based solutions, beyond the control of the CIO.

CIO’s have for a long time, and for the right reasons, constructed tightly controlled and regulated infrastructures that the business runs within day to day.

The issue however is that the world outside the organisation has accelerated, and these systems now struggle to keep up.

A quarterly release cycle is not acceptable to today’s CMO, hence the move to look outside for more agile solutions.

Beyond trust, the CIO has had to deal with the CMO’s agencies becoming more involved in implementing technology within the organisation.

Marketing may tender complex requirements out to the larger tech-capable agencies, yet the systems implemented will often have to integrate into the CIOs walled garden.

So how do we move beyond this stalemate? A healthy relationship between the CIO and CMO is win-win for both teams.

If a CIO supports their CMO it will make for building a smart and commercially successful enterprise.

In another post we’ll look at practical ways to help foster this relationship, it needs to be a lasting one, built on exactly what has been the main issue, trust.

But in the meantime, please do one thing, take your CMO on a date, it’s going to be a beautiful relationship.