Report: CMOs and CIOs need to collaborate more effectively for improved business outcomes

Forrester says CMOs and CIOs have misaligned goals, however the customer should be at the heart of both

CMO/CIO collaboration is more important than ever for business success, but few are successful, according to a new report from Forrester.

According to Forrester’s CMO-CIO Collaboration: Resolving The Paradox report, only 12 per cent of global marketing decision makers at B2B brands see chief marketing officers and chief information officers as strategic partners in developing technology-driven solutions for the business, and only 16 per cent of B2C brands.

CMOs and CIOs also often have misaligned goals, Forrester says. CIOs focus on optimising costs to securely implement technology, while CMOs focus on how customers perceive the brand experience across channels. This is exacerbated by differences in communication methods, and the CMO’s need for speed during marketing deployment.

This has led to only 28 per cent of B2B businesses reporting strong processes and ongoing communication between marketing and IT, and only 31 per cent at B2C brands.

However, with 22 per cent of global marketing budget now going to technology, the collaboration between the CMO and CIO has never been more vital.

As the report states, the intertwining of marketing and technology is inevitable. CMOs must increasingly leverage big data, real-time analytics, and a host of technology platforms. The CIO, however, is the gatekeeper to this technology.

It also seems collaboration pays off. Fifty per cent of CIOs who work closely with their CMO claim their company has an improved competitive position. They are 1.3 times more likely to see substantial year-over-year growth, and 72 per cent indicate they are seeing profit margin growth of over five per cent.

Vice-president and research director at Forrester, Keith Johnston, said in his blog on the report that  Forrester struggles to identify great CMO/CIO partnerships that consistently have a meaningful impact on their businesses together.

“The relationship between CMO and CIO teeters between common sense and lunacy. Situations exist where the CMO and CIO have little to no interaction at all,” he said. “This is a paradox, indeed, considering success in the state of markets today requires marketing, data, and technologies to all be synchronised. CMOs should work closely with their CIO counterparts to avoid creating any shadow IT, and CIOs should work to serve both employee and customer needs to connect with the business deliberately, but we still continue to see each relying on their resources independently.

“This is often blamed on expectations for agility and speed but more likely is the dissonance between individual goals and the understanding of each other’s role to impact the business.”

To improve this relationship, Forrester recommends:

  • Clarifying roles, with innovation needs at the core.
  • Sharing aligned goals centred on customer obsession.
  • Formalising a marketing/technology governance model.
  • Empowering cross-functional teams to make faster decisions and execute.
  • Mutually embracing empathy, trust, and respect.
  • Sharing and collaborating in teams.
  • Maintaining open and constant communication.

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