CMOs and CIOs

Acquaintances or allies?

Customers. Data. Social media skills. These are a few of the common themes that surfaced during our interviews in 2011 with more than 4,900 Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and Chief Information Officers (CIOs).1 These face-to-face conversations formed the basis of our most recent CMO and CIO C-suite studies. As part of the ongoing IBM C-suite Studies Series, we’ve explored the response data to better understand how CMOs and CIOs are working together to support their organizations’ initiatives.

What we uncovered was a call to action for improved collaboration between CMOs and CIOs. It is a clear response to the radical shifts occurring in both the Marketing and Information Technology (IT) fields. The digital revolution has forever changed the balance of power between the customer and the organization, putting customers in charge of the relationship. In much the same way that digital technologies have driven change in IT, a similar transformation is taking place in Marketing.

While Marketing has always been responsible for knowing the customer, now they are required to understand and respond to customers as individuals. Marketing can only do this if they can manage vast amounts of unstructured data, make sense of it with analytics, and generate insights that are predictive, not just historical—all on a massive scale. To connect with individual customers at every touch point effectively, they need a system of engagement that maximizes value with each interaction. And they need each touch to marry the culture of the organization with the brand to create authentic experiences that consistently deliver the brand promise. The way to achieve this unprecedented transformation is through technology.

In fact, when we compared these customer-driven changes and challenges facing both Marketing and IT, the data revealed that CMOs’ and CIOs’ focus and aspirations are surprisingly similar in scope. With the explosive change each function is experiencing, and the urgent call for transformation across many enterprises, it would seem the advantages of working together would be obvious. But as Marketing becomes more reliant on technical solutions for customer engagement, and IT’s mandate becomes broader to include front-office enablement, both functions are deep in their own transitions and looking for solutions. Despite common ambitions, their initiatives are often not as integrated as one might expect.

1“From Stretched to Strengthened: Insights from the Chief Marketing Officer Study.” IBM Institute for Business Value. October 2011.; “The Essential CIO: Insights from the Chief Information Officer Study.” IBM Institute for Business Value. May 2011.

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About the authors

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Smarter Marketing: A new shared agenda for the CMO and CIO

Related links

IBM Global Chief Marketing Officer Study

IBM Global Chief Information Officer Study

Smarter Marketing

IBM Executive Exchange

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