‘CMOs and CIOs collaborating better than ever before’

Chief marketing officers are currently working closer together than ever before, but they are still not collaborating at a close enough level in order to transform their companies into effective digital businesses, according to a report.

Marketing Meeting
Accenture report finds CMOs and CIOs are collaborating more than ever, but still not enough.

Accenture Interactive’s “Cutting Across the CMO-CIO Divide” study indicates the divide between the CMO and CIO is substantially narrowing, with 43 per cent of top marketers and half (50 per cent) of IT leaders saying their relationship with the other has improved over the past 12 months.

Last year’s report found just one in 10 CMOs and CIOs believed they were collaborating with each other at the “right level” required to seize the opportunities offered by digital. This year, almost one quarter (23 per cent) of respondents believed collaboration is at the right level. 

But despite the IT and marketing departments working closer together than in previous years, there are still conflicts between the two groups that is impacting on positive experiences for customers and potentially affecting companies’ bottom lines.

For example, two-fifths (40 per cent) of CMOs believe their company’s IT does not understand the urgency of integrating new data sources into campaigns to address current market conditions – a complaint that is up six percentage points from last year’s survey.

In addition, 43 per cent of CMOs say the tech development process is to slow for the speed required of digital marketing, up from the 36 per cent who held that view a year ago.

CIOs are also increasingly frustrated at the marketing department changing their targets too often. Almost half (43 per cent) of IT executives said marketing requirements change too often for them to keep up – an increase of three percentage points on last year – and a quarter (25 per cent) believe CMOs lack the vision to anticipate new digital channels – up from just 11 per cent last year.

Brian Whipple, senior managing director of Accenture Interactive, says: “The CMO needs to develop a vision and strategy for how customers experience the brand while the CIO needs to deliver the tools and technology to bring those experiences and campaigns to life. Together, they need combined processes and perhaps even organisations to make this happen. If one works without the other in a silo, customers will feel the impact and switch brands.”

Beyond the relationship they hold with their marketing or IT counterparts, almost half (44 per cent) of all respondents said they have encountered problems in implementing marketing solutions or IT projects that further marketing effectiveness, up from 36 per cent a year ago.

More than four out of 10 (42 per cent) respondents said technology is “too cumbersome” and siloed, which makes it difficult to create cross-channel experiences for customers – a figure up 8 percentage points on last year.

The study suggests CMOs and CIOs should take four actions to strengthen their relationships and improve cross-channel implementation.

  • Invest time in establishing a digital vision and collaboration with each other to bring it to life
  • Unify around the customer experience
  • Rethink the operating model to integrate customer-focused skills throughout the company
  • Position a marketing model and budget that aligns with a new ecosystem of marketing services

This year’s study was based on a survey of more than 1,100 senior marketing and IT executives from 11 countries including the UK.

A separate report from Accenture published earlier this month found senior marketers expect digital to make up 75 per cent of budgets in the next five years, underlining the imperative for the marketing division to align more closely with the IT department.