4 Ways CIO-CMO Bonding Can Drive Business

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 22, 2015

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The roles of the CMO and CIO are changing, and those organizations with the most mature collaborations tend to be the most successful in driving the performance of their teams and the growth of customer-focused initiatives, according to Deloitte Digital’s recent CMO Quarterly Study titled: “The CMO-CIO Relationship.”

Here are some ways the CIO-CMO collaboration can drive business.

1. Shared collaboration can lead to evolution: Most CMOs and CIOs know they should collaborate to lead the evolution of their organization. Mature collaborations generally follow similar paths of evolution, transitioning from a role-specific focus to broader internal partnerships to integrated teams. The study found that 71 percent of CMO-CIO conversations focused on these evolving roles as they related to bridging the gap between the two leaders.

2. Shared skill sets can support evolved thought leadership: Strong leaders typically call for both roles to evolve toward converged skill sets. As individuals rise through the ranks, concessions should be made in order to arm staff with the tools necessary to be well versed in customer insights in order to help drive corporate initiatives. Enabling both the CMO and the CIO to focus on what they do best can set a leading example for teams. Currently, according to the survey findings, surveyed CIOs spend twice as much time as they would like on operations and only half the time they would prefer as a strategist. In comparison, 63 percent of CMO respondents say they are able to commit more time to strategy.

3. Shared vision enables customer focus: C-suite executives responding to the survey cited clear marketing goals, collaborative technology selection, and a defined governance framework for data and technology access as foundational elements of an effective collaboration. This approach enables the CMO to obtain the tools they need to effectively and efficiently build the right customer experience. With access to the right data and technology, together the CMO and CIO can surface business intelligence out of marketing data which can benefit the entire organization.

4. Shared responsibility helps build stronger cross-teams: An informed cross-functional team can help keep slower-moving IT implementation and customer data-driven divisions up to speed with fast-paced marketing teams so that everyone remains nimble and able to react to news-of-the-day opportunities in order to engage consumers. Alleviating budget tensions is one way to start that process. The study found that 79 percent of surveyed CMOs have their own IT budget, and 27 percent of the IT spend falls outside of the IT organization. By educating and cultivating a staff of technology-savvy professionals, the industry can grow and engage with consumers unencumbered by communication barriers. For example, test and learn environments can be conducive to widening that team collaboration.

As many companies compete for limited discretionary dollars from savvy customers, they can no longer enable practices that sustain or allow conflict between the two business leaders that most need to work well together,” said Suzanne Kounkel, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, at Deloitte Digital. “Developing a mature collaboration between the CMO and CIO can ultimately lead to a sharper focus on the customer and deliver a better experience.”

The study also found that while media widely discuss the need for collaboration between CMOs and CIOs, a discrepancy often exists between news coverage and the CMO experience. For example, the survey found that 56 percent of media conversations focused on conflicts between the CMO-CIO, like budget tensions and other pain points, and less on ways they were working to close the gap between the two roles. The results from the study’s social media analysis suggest that conversations about potential solutions for strengthening the CMO-CIO partnership and easing ownership tensions would go much further to building stronger cross-teams and enabling innovation jointly.