CMO-CIO partnership key in digital customer engagement

New Forrester report highlights the ongoing struggle between marketing and IT around digital ownership, and makes plan why the two sides must work better together

CMOs are increasingly setting the digital vision of their organisation, but will fail to introduce the real and holistic transformation needed to retain and serve customers without the CIO as a core partner.

The new Forrester report The State of Digital Business 2014, based on the recent Digital Business Online Survey undertaken by Forrester and Russell Reynolds, found 30 per cent of organisations have a digital vision and strategy set by the CEO, while 27 per cent say it is the responsibility of the chief marketing officer or senior VP of marketing. Just 13 per cent said the CIO sets the digital vision and strategy.

Against this mix of ownership, only 21 per cent of respondents to the survey believed their company had the right people defining digital strategy. For firms with more than 1000 and less than 10,000 employees, this number dropped to 15 per cent.

Overall, 74 per cent of today’s business executives claimed to have a digital strategy, but only 15 per cent of respondents had faith in their company’s digital skillsets and capabilities.

Related: Related: Businesses adopt a digital strategy but most are skeptical of success

Forrester also found marketing is responsible for a host of digital capabilities such as social media marketing (80 per cent), digital marketing strategy (72 per cent), social CRM (65 per cent), customer experience strategy (64 per cent), customer analytics (57 per cent), digital media selection (53 per cent), CRM (51 per cent), Web strategy (43 per cent), and Web design (29 per cent).

But according to report author and Forrester senior analyst, Nigel Fenwick, leaving marketing solely in charge of digital results in a bolt-on customer engagement approach. Instead, organisations must adopt a comprehensive strategy that touches senior leadership right through to employees, if they’re to secure sustainable and valuable relationships with digitally savvy customers.

“Marketing constrains many of today’s digital responsibilities,” Fenwick stated in the report. “Marketing pays scant attention to how digital can transform business operations, resulting in suboptimal digital business strategy. Firms that invest all digital responsibilities in the CIO are also no nearer solving this challenge.

“To succeed in the future, marketing must combine its strengths with those of the tech management team to establish both world-class digital customer experience [DCX] and digital operational excellence [DOX].”

Read more: UK digital marketing tech company opens in Australia

Although marketing appeared to have technology ownership in several areas, the survey makes plain the strong role CIOs and technology teams still have in their organisation’s digital make-up. For example, 53 per cent of respondents said IT was responsible for digital vendor selection against 16 per cent of marketers. In addition, 41 per cent said tech management is responsible for customer mobile app development.

Other significant areas of responsibility for IT include employee digital engagement (36 per cent), Web designed (29 per cent), CRM (26 per cent) and Web strategy (22 per cent).

One strategy helping to bridge the gap between marketing and IT is establishing a dedicated digital team, often with reporting lines into both the CMO and CIO. Forrester found 86 per cent of firms report having a dedicated digital group, with key responsibilities including employee digital engagement, digital media selection, customer mobile app development, and Web strategy and design.

Despite this, only 25 per cent of executives in the survey saw their digital business units and IT working well together, and only 30 per cent believed marketing and digital business units had a good relationship.

Related: CMOs and CIOs still don't trust each other: Accenture report

“Only 17 per cent of executives in companies that don’t have a digital revenue team report IT and marketing working well together, with 26 per cent reporting that the two teams don’t work together at all,” the report continued.

“As firms move toward a transformation digital strategy, they must marry DCX with DOX, requiring marketing and IT to operate as a seamless unit – the results from this survey suggest this to be one of the biggest barriers to success in the digital age.”

Ultimately, however, CEOs must also step up to lead digital transformation in their organisation, the report stated.

“There will likely be a lot of churn at the CEO level before the decade is out. Welcome to the new executive digital reality,” Fenwick concluded.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

An in-depth understanding of consumers sits at the heart of what we all need to do, but we know it’s not always easy to uncover insights that will unlock a true innovation opportunity.

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

Is your customer experience program suffering bright shiny object syndrome?

You may have heard of ‘bright shiny object syndrome’. The term is used to describe new initiatives undertaken by organisations that either lack a strategic approach, or suffer from a failure to effectively implement.

Leveraging technology to stand out in the sea of sameness

The technology I'm talking about here is data and marketing automation. Current digital marketing methodology, much as it is practiced at Bluewolf, dictates the need for a strategy that does four things: Finds the right audience, uses the right channel, delivers the right content, and does all of that at the right time.

Eric Berridge

CEO and co-founder of Bluewolf, an IBM Company

Lead Management is very important part of the process. For anyone running Facebook Lead Ads I would recommend using this service.Get your...

Dirk Lo

How this fintech startup is improving content marketing and lead generation

Read more

I am agreeing with Mr. Tyron Hayes that a measured test-and-learn approach could be missing opportunities to not only better engage custo...

rush essay reviews

CMO interview: How Curtin University’s marketing chief is using test and learn to cope with complexity

Read more

Excellent!

Dr Sadasivan,US

Shakespeare shows data and creativity aren’t Montagues and Capulets

Read more

Great article! Agreed with all... Matthew Lerner, Deeps De Silva... When a company has a great product that solves customers needs, a gre...

James Tyler

Why marketers are embracing growth hacking techniques

Read more

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...

BizVinu

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in