‘CMO and CIO silos are threatening effectiveness of marketing’

A lack of collaboration between chief marketing officers and chief information officers is hindering companies’ ability to produce effective multichannel marketing, according to a report.

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Accenture’s “The CMO-CIO Disconnect” study found just one in 10 CMO and CIOs believe they are currently collaborating with each other at the “right level” required to seize the opportunities offered by digital technology. This is particularly worrying, Accenture says, given separate research from Gartner that predicts by 2017 CMOs will spend more on IT and analytics than CIOs.

When the two do collaborate on a marketing initiative, it appears neither are currently coming away satisfied. More than a third (36 per cent) of CMOs said IT’s output falls short of the desired outcome, while nearly one in two (46 per cent) CIOs said the marketing division does not provide an adequate level of detail to meet business requirements.

In spite of the apparent disconnect, the majority of both top marketers and top IT executives want greater collaboration in the future – although CIOs appear to be the more committed party. The report found more than three out of four CIOs (77 per cent) agree alignment is important, compared with 57 per cent of CMOs.

CMOs and CIOs agree technology is essential to marketing, but for different reasons. CMOs claim gaining customer insight is their biggest motivator for collaborating with IT, while CIOs’ top motivation for collaborating is to improve the customer experience.

Another disagreement between the two divisions affecting collaboration is the freedom and control allowed over the technology used in marketing projects. Nearly half of CIOs (49 per cent) say marketing uses technology without consideration for IT standards and almost the same amount (45 per cent) of top marketers say they want to enable their teams to leverage and optimise data and content without IT intervention.

Bridging the gap between the two divisions is “critical for success now more than ever” given the increasing digital expectations from consumers, according to Accenture Interactive global managing director Brian Whipple.

He adds: “C-suite decision makers face a variety of challenges when collaborating, ranging from a lack of trust to differing business goals. These issues must be resolved to turn a company’s digital marketing capabilities into a platform for market differentiation, business growth, and profitability.”

The report advises that the CMO should be looked upon as the “chief experience officer” and that IT should be looked at as a strategic partner within marketing and not just a platform provider to help bridge the gap between the two divisions and improve collaboration.

Whipple says: “To succeed in the digital age, CMOs must place an immediate focus on technology to improve relevant customer experiences and advance marketing practices. The good news is that CMOs and CIOs agree technology is important. Now they must work together to agree on how technology can be most appropriately applied to drive their company’s specific marketing needs, and how it can ultimately result in increased brand affinity, loyalty and sales growth.”

The Accenture CMO-CIO Disconnect study was based on a survey of 400 senior marketing executives and 250 IT executives across 10 countries.