Will the CIO and the CMO Team Up to Maximize Benefits from Big Data?

The case for CIO- CMO collaboration-


A global organization recently decided to jump on the big data bandwagon, and try to turn data into profits. It did the initial budgeting exercise and effected a request for proposal from select vendors to analyze company data and identify opportunities. Vendors loved it- they finally had access to tons of information opening up multiple analysis areas. Few months down the line, when the bids started to come, they were 400 per cent over budget. Narrowing the scope was the obvious alternative, but no one understood what to keep and what not to keep, as the CMO has not defined the must have data points, while the CIO had not intervened in the bidding process to establish limits.

Stories similar to this McKinsey example above have been playing out across boardrooms. CMOs, who are tasked to promote growth, need CIO inputs to turn burgeoning customer data their companies are accumulating into increased revenue. CIOs, the housekeepers of technology, need the CMOs to help them with better functional and technical requirements for big data initiatives. However, the strained relationship between marketing and IT departments has been as old as time. The marketer demands digital engagements to be completed within weeks, which is approximately the time taken by the IT guys to stop laughing at it. Conversely, with their excessive focus on parameters and lack of big picture focus, the IT departments are often deemed myopic in their operation style. Problems stem from the fact that marketing and IT, for the most part, still speak a different language. Marketing teams often have a hard time articulating technology needs. IT folks often lack marketing understanding.

“I feel more like a CIO than a CMO! I have marketing automation, CRM, listening platforms — I’m up to my eyeballs in technology.”

Marketing is increasingly becoming digital, which requires more technology. This is the infallible truth of this century, and is responsible for greater alignment and interaction between two functions that have found it challenging to work together in the past. Consider the following statistics-

  • 48 per cent CMOs said that new and emerging technologies will have the most impact on their marketing organizations
  • 70 per cent of CMOs stated that their role in determining CIO spending is increasing
  • 38 per cent of CMOs are being held accountable for business results
  • 59 per cent of CMOs further mentioned that they will spend more than 10 per cent of their marketing budget on technology
  • 60 per cent of CMOs will increase spend on digital marketing by over 10 per cent
  • Spending on technology outside the IT department is now effectively adding 40% to companies’ IT budgets.
  • 40% projected growth in global data generated per year vs. 5% growth in global IT spending

Will big data and analytics finally lead to a merging of the IT and marketing departments? The domino effect of digital disruption is giving rise to a more integrated enterprise centered on end customer experience. Core to a successful CIO-CMO relationship is mutual respect, and identifying leaders who are committed to the task of understanding and delivering for both sides.

What is the redefined role of the CMO?


The CMO should drive digital innovation, and be in complete control of the customer experience- which includes promises, concepts and methods to drive excellent brand experiences, brand loyalty and engagement platforms. The CMO has to lead his team towards better understanding of the science of marketing, which includes analytics, and customer lifecycle value calculations. While marketers will continue to drive creative campaigns that increase brand awareness and drive sales, they also must develop capabilities to analyze transactional, personal, and social data – in combination – to predict accurate business trends and opportunities. And with great power, comes great responsibility, so the responsibility of the risk for going digital is also something that the CMO should own.

Where does this leave the CIO?


The role of the CIO will focus on the less expressive but equally important, and in the age of the cloud, equally complex task of managing the IT infrastructure. The short sighted view here is servers and personal computers, but the real play will be around identifying new technologies and creating a secure and collaborative environment that will help employees do their work better. This also includes handholding the marketer in understanding the use of technology, and extracting maximum value out of it. Technology teams will need to move beyond their operational and support focus to become revenue enablers. They must foster a greater understanding of business and it’s consumers among their teams so that the technology, and related operational practices within the organization are driven by changing consumer tastes.

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1 Comment

  1. Both CMO & CIO have to work together like twins to succeed in Digital Transformation. Check my post – Simplified Analytics: CMO-CIO relationship in Digital world !! 

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