Why CIOs are shifting priorities to marketing systems



The role of the CIO has changed dramatically in just the last few years. The new mandate for CIOs is to partner with key operational groups to help them conceive, deploy, and operate new digital systems that provide either better business results or competitive advantage. The change in focus is weighted toward operating departments that will benefit from innovative solutions that either didn’t previously exist or were rudimentary.

As a result, many CIOs are shifting attention and focus to the marketing team. The technology platforms that marketing teams use have advanced dramatically, and new innovations that enhance the customer experience and journey deliver measurable results. Meanwhile, the pandemic has caused a shift to digital customer interaction almost overnight. That shift is likely to be permanent. Once the pandemic passes, customers’ use of and dependence on digital systems won’t drop off and may in fact grow.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has caused a shift to digital customer interaction almost overnight. That shift is likely to be permanent.

A CIO’s experience in ensuring that systems are reliable, compliant, agile, and efficient is now critical to the success of marketing systems. In the past, when many marketing solutions were narrowly focused, bite-sized, and siloed from each other, it was possible to keep operations within the marketing team. That’s no longer viable for most organizations.

The new generation of marketing technology platforms tend to look much more like enterprise solutions. This is a key reason why CIOs are paying much more attention to them. The integration of the tools that support the customer journey is happening quickly and needs to be done correctly. And the use of a common data platform to support existing and future marketing apps or services is similar to what CIOs have accomplished by leveraging enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems or large enterprise databases to deliver new solutions. Leveraging the CIO’s expertise to smooth the path for the CMO is an obvious move.

Another reason why CIOs are becoming more involved: the need for better cyber-security defenses and regulatory compliance. For the last five to eight years, CIOs have been focused and intimately involved with cyber-security and protecting the organization. Marketing systems contain a substantial amount of private data and protecting it is now a high priority. Compliance and governance are a corollary need, and CIOs will spend more time focusing on marketing databases and repositories to ensure that nothing runs afoul of statutes and other compliance regimes.

The dynamism of marketing systems, the advanced technical features and capabilities that next-generation tools offer, and the need for security and compliance have not gone unnoticed by the CIO. To better support the CMO and the marketing team, the CIO and the entire IT organization are prioritizing support for marketing’s systems and digital efforts. The importance of these systems to the success of the brand and business more than justify this level of attention.