Customer focus can unify IT, marketing

'Marketing’s from Mars and IT’s from Venus,' but don't let that stop you, says American Express marketer

The CMO and CIO must align their teams and strategies to achieve customer centricity, according to marketers and IT officials.

Professionals from each business unit shared their views this week at the CMO – CIO Customer Experience breakfast forum hosted by CMO and CIO magazines and the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA).

“Marketing’s from Mars and IT’s from Venus,” said Jeffrey Evans, American Express head of global digital marketing (pictured). To work well together, the CMO and the CIO must learn to speak the same language, he said.

There is often an impasse when marketing asks IT what’s possible with technology and IT replies by asking what marketing wants, he said. But the real, unifying question is to ask what the customer wants, he said.

The CMO and CIO should realise they are “in it together,” advised Deloitte CIO, Tim Fleming, during a panel session. “We are both stewards of the data around our customers and therefore the customer experience.”

Related: CMO-CIO partnership key in digital customer engagements

CMOs and CIOs still don't understand each other, finds Accenture report

It’s important to “take a collective view” of the organisation rather than act in silos, agreed fellow panellist and Stockland general manager of group marketing, Ben Allen. Listening to the customer voice must be a priority, he said.

Daniel Johnson has led IT at Sydney Opera House for six years as head of information systems. He said his experience in the past had been that IT – when acting in isolation – was seen by other business units as the “stopper”.

That has changed since Anna Reid joined the performing arts venue as director of marketing in September last year. Reid and Johnson said they brought their teams together with a fresh focus on transforming the customer experience, and have also introduced several new roles to build digital and data capabilities that will help drive a more customer-first focus.

Johnson said the simple act of talking with Reid has kept IT and marketing on the same page.

“It sounds like it should be easy, but it is actually quite difficult,” Reid said. One thing that helped was assigning a marketing representative to communicate with Johnson’s team, she said.

From the IT side, Johnson said an initial challenge was changing the attitude of his team, which had previously been absorbed in implementing and maintaining technology.

“It’s changing that mindset to be more customer focused, be much more flexible, and understanding what [marketing’s] goals are for customers and making sure that we are aligned together in that path,” he said.

One recent project where Reid’s and Johnson’s teams worked together was using technology to help customers find their way around the Sydney Opera House. Heritage building rules that limit the amount of signage the Opera House can display have required clever solutions.

“We have this invisible force field when people come onto the site and walk up to the Opera House – they have no idea where to go ... and what to do when they get there. So we have this amazing need for technology to be able to help people navigate their way around the House,” Reid said.

“IT and marketing are working together to get the right technology to have that happen and then to really use the data to improve the customer experience.”

This kind of alignment between IT and marketing is critical for any organisation, said Evans.

“It’s actually a lot easier to achieve an objective when you’re heading in the same direction,” he added.

Check out the pictorial highlights from the 'Engineering the new customer experience' event held by CMO, CIO and ADMA in Sydney on 22 May.

Adam Bender covers digital marketing and wearable computing for CMO and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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 newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Why doing your job well is the key to innovation

The words ‘power company’ and ‘innovation’ probably don’t seem like a natural combination. In fact, when I first went for a marketing role with an electricity company, I semi-dreaded the work I thought I’d be doing.

Catherine Anderson

Head of marketing, Powershop Australia

The great unlearning: How brands can assist with the adoption of voice

Mainstream adoption of voice technology will be all about what consumers are learning not to do.

Ash Mustchin

Director, digital and experiences, Principals

Why getting intimate is key to creating a great customer experience

According to CMO’s State of the CMO 2017 research, 83 per cent of CMOs believe customer experience to be central to their role. An interesting stat considering few of us experience great brand experiences.

Pip Stocks

CEO and founder, BrandHook

It is indeed great and nice article, but I think the virtual reality, user-generated contents and the Chat bots will dominate the digital...

Almesh

Predictions: 8 digital marketing trends for 2018

Read more

Amazing work Nadia. I believe chatbots still have ways to go and are still in Generation 1, the exciting future of transactional and conv...

Giridhar Prathap Reddy

Climate Council pitches at youth engagement with chatbot debut

Read more

This is a great read. Chatbots are going to be the face of customers. Every sector is investing time and money in designing intelligent b...

Giridhar Prathap Reddy

From tacos to HR, chatbots make it personal

Read more

Very interesting article about chatbots. Chatbots are growing day by day and emerging winners in all the industries including Healthcare....

Giridhar Prathap Reddy

​Chatbots, messaging and refining the art of mobile commerce

Read more

'to lesson screen time'LOL someone needs a lesson on how to lessen typos.

Andrew Ward

Golden Circles invests in content play to drive brand purpose

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in