6 Ways CIOs Can Make Peace with CMOs

There's a natural tension between IT and marketing. But these days the CIO and CMO need to collaborate and focus on what's best for the customer.

It seemed so straightforward. The marketers at Genworth Financial Wealth Management wanted to launch a new project and hired an outside consultant to help. Three months into the contract, the consultant requested some data about Genworth's project plans. But when Genworth's marketers twice tried to upload the data, nothing happened. So they called the company's tech support for help--the first time they'd alerted IT to what they'd considered a pure marketing project.

It turned out the consultancy was trying to use a cloud-based tool for collaboration. And Genworth's security controls automatically blocked any such upload to the public cloud. The failed transfers merely meant that the block was working correctly.

"It was the kind of thing that could have led to a screaming match between the CIO and the CMO," says John Murray, CIO of Genworth Financial Wealth Management, a unit of the Fortune 500 parent company Genworth Financial.

Except for one thing: This CIO-CMO pair have an unusually strong and trusting relationship.

"I have empathy for what drives her business," Murray says of Myra Rothfeld, the unit's CMO. "And she has empathy that if we get hacked, no one is going to call the CMO."

That empathy came into play when Murray found out about the attempted upload. "How could they know that the brand-name vendor they chose was going to use a cloud-based project management system?" he asks. "It wasn't their fault."

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