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

Accenture Interactive report on the CMO and CIO relationship finds ongoing disconnect between priorities and collaboration which threatens to disrupt customer experience

Nine in 10 marketing and IT executives believe collaboration between their two functions is not up to scratch despite the increased need for both sides to join forces in the digital age, a new report has found.

Accenture Interactive’s The CMO-CIO disconnect: Bridging the gap to seize the digital opportunity report pointed out technology, data, analytics and design underpin today’s entire customer experience, driving the need for CMOs and CIOs to work more closely than ever before. Yet while eight out of 10 CIOs see the need for alignment, just over half of CMOs agree.

One of the big challenges is the distinction between technology management and usage. According to the consulting group’s research, chief marketing officers expect a much quicker turnaround and higher quality from IT, with a greater level of flexibility in responding to market conditions. Forty-five per cent of CMOs also want to enable their employees to access and use data and content without IT intervention.

“They [CMOs] view the CIO organisation as an execution and delivery arm at a time when they should consider IT as a strategic partner and involve CIOs when planning new marketing investments,” the report authors stated.

In contrast, 49 per cent said marketing pulls in technologies without consideration for IT standards, while 36 per cent of CMOs said IT deliverables fall short of their expectations. This has created a major trust issue between the two sides.

“This is the crux of the issue: Who operates the technology to drive outcomes, who controls the design of experience,” the report stated.

The disconnect was prevalent throughout the report. For example, 45 per cent of CIOs report they put marketing IT near or at the top of their priority list, while 64 per cent of CMOs think marketing IT is placed at the bottom.

There’s also a disconnect in how IT priorities are perceived. The CIO’s number one priority is advancing platforms to aid in marketing measurement and campaign optimisation, but the same priority ranks eighth with CMOs, who instead see deploying better marketing execution and operational systems and platforms as the top concern.

“CIOs typically want to measure results to optimise campaigns. CMOs want to generate leads and sales. Because they are not marching to a common purpose, collaboration cannot occur,” the report stated.

This is emphasised by the fact that the two sides focus on other c-suite relationships before investing in the marketing-IT dynamic, Accenture claimed. Despite this, CMOs rank CIOs as their second most important c-suite relationship after the chief sales officer. CIOs rate CMOs their fourth most important relationship, with the CFO at the top.

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Accenture’s survey found 61 per cent of CIOs feel their companies are prepared for a digital future, compared with 49 per cent of CMOs. Again, the reasons highlight just how far these two functions need to go before they find common ground. The top concern of 43 per cent of CMOs is insufficient funding for digital marketing channels, while 50 per cent of CIOs rate solution complexity and integration difficulties as their chief worry.

What was also apparent from the survey was that many organisations still lack a single customer view, a must in an age where real-time, two-way interaction with consumers is expected. Only one-quarter of CMOs and CIOs responding to Accenture’s survey have completely integrated customer data, and four in 10 are struggling to do so.

On the bright side, CMOs and CIOs believe their relationship with each other has improved in the past year, although 41 per cent of CMOs and 42 per cent of CIOs feel much more collaboration is required. Both sides recognise gaining better customer insight and reaching the market more efficiently is vital, and that it’s the CMO’s duty to lead this charge.

The number one driver for marketers wanting to align and interact with IT is access to customer insight and intelligence. In contrast, CIOs rank that same driver 10th. Privacy and security around customer data and brand protection ranked fourth with CIOs, but 11th with CMOs.

In addition, IT sees tying analytics to business outcomes as more important than marketing (45 per cent versus 33 per cent), while marketers value lead generation more highly (43 per cent versus 35 per cent).

The Accenture survey was based on online surveys across 10 countries in 2012, with 405 senior marketing executives as well as 252 IT executives.

5 imperatives to improve marketing and IT performance
  1. Identify the CMO as the chief experience officer.
  2. Accept IT as s strategic partner with marketing, not just as a platform provider.
  3. Agree on key business levers for marketing and IT alignment, such as access to customer data versus privacy and security.
  4. Change the skill mix to ensure that both organisations are more marketing and tech savvy.
  5. Develop trust just by doing that – trusting.

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