Making CIO-CMO Relationship A Success In 2015

by CXOtoday News Desk    Dec 23, 2014


Organizations succeed only when CMOs and CIOs share a single, customer-focused business technology agenda, says a Forrester report, and hails the CMO and CIO as the two roles that matter most for 2015.

Forrester analyst and Chief Research Officer, Cliff Condon, explains in his blog that unlike before it makes little sense for CMOs to focus only on marketing and promotion. In the age of the customer, the  CMO of 2015 must own the most important driver of business success — the customer experience — and represent the customer’s perspective in corporate strategy.

Tech-focused CMO

He believes that in the next year, CMOs must take charge of customer-centric innovation, starting with mobile and expanding out into every technology-enabled channel. In a world where customers can switch brands in an instant, the CMO must reach out through innovative products, processes, and connections to build a deeper, more loyal set of customer relationships.

Unfortunately, Condon sees only 22% of CMOs focus on customer retention as a top priority. “We believe it’s time to make customer engagement a key success metric for the whole company,” he says.

 Business-focused CIO

According to Condon, technology powers these changes, and that’s where the CIO comes in. “CIOs that focus mostly on IT — keeping the systems running — will see their budgets cut and their positions marginalized. Successful CIOs instead will focus largely on the BT agenda — investments in technology that win, serve, and retain customers.

However, he believes that this is an unfamiliar role for most CIOs. Customer-focused projects require real-time responsiveness and cloud architectures. They require a new perspective on data as a resource and also cannot take their eye off of security — in fact, we expect 60% of enterprises to experience a data breach next year, with the worst and most-publicized examples destroying years of brand value.

 …And the twain shall meet

The true challenge for these CIOs and CMOs is to accomplish these goals together, believes Condon. Companies where the CIO and CMO work as a team enabling customer-focused technology will gain market share.

But while more than 60% of CMOs and CIOs tell us they enjoy a relationship of mutual trust and respect, only 46% of marketing leaders and 51% of technology management leaders have a single view of their customer across all the company’s touchpoints, says he. Forrester sees that half of CMOs and CIOs deploy projects jointly — these are the companies that will establish competitive advantage. The other half will get left behind.

With all its odds, Forrester predicted, 2015 will be a year of unprecedented customer power, worldwide, through mobile, social, and digital channels. Companies can expect competition to arrive from any angle. The only cure is an obsession with customers, driven from the top by the CIO and CMO. These two executives, by their relationship with each other and with the technologies they roll out to connect with customers, will determine the future of business, sums Condon. (he explains this with an infographics)

Forrester survey reports


(Source: Forrester Research)