by Michael Friedenberg

Hey CIOs! Show Your CMO the Love

Sep 28, 20122 mins

The CIO-CMO relationship gap still persists, and IDG Enterprise's CEO Michael Friedenberg reiterates why a closer partnership is critical to both execs as well as the business.

Nearly two years ago in this column, I confidently predicted big changes in the CIO-CMO relationship. I was sure CIOs and marketing chieftains would overcome their historically conflicted, confrontational relationships to find new common ground and learn to collaborate more closely on issues of customer engagement.

Unfortunately, I’m not seeing it yet. (Another pundit bites the dust!)

Yet in today’s business environment, it’s hard to find any two jobs that are transforming faster than those of the CIO and CMO. Marketers know how heavily their success depends on finding the proper balance of art and science. But their deep backgrounds in the art of marketing cannot satisfy today’s business demands for using the science of technology in marketing efforts.

CMOs’ worlds turned technical overnight–suddenly they have to deal with marketing automation, business intelligence and analytics, social tools, lead nurturing and Web development. And since most people in marketing lack technical backgrounds, it should be clear that their increased collaboration with CIOs is a personal gain, not a professional threat.

Meanwhile, on the CIO side of the world, we’ve quickly realized that delivering value to the business means moving beyond cost efficiencies and process optimization to driving growth, increasing speed-to-market and putting customer intelligence to strategic use. Partnering with CMOs helps IT leaders expand their communication skills and connect directly with the business. You can fortify and shape key marketing decisions with big data analysis. You can influence plans for product development. And you can improve your own value in the job market to boot.

At a number of our recent CIO events, we’ve had some fascinating CIO-CMO panel discussions that clearly demonstrate the benefits of a stronger relationship for both sides. IBM and Forrester Research have also keyed in to this critical relationship at some of their recent events. Gartner is even predicting that CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs by 2017 (a claim I find ridiculous).

But I do believe that there’s a stunning opportunity here for CIOs who understand the inherent value of working with sales and marketing leaders. What could you possibly be waiting for? Get in there and close the relationship gap.