CIOs and CMOs: What’s Going On With This Relationship?

by drjim on October 21, 2015

Just exactly how well do the CIO and CMO get along?

Just exactly how well do the CIO and CMO get along?
Image Credit: Melissa

Making a company be successful is tough work. For this to happen, it’s going to take a great deal of work on everyone’s part and, tougher yet, everyone is going to have to find ways to work together. As a CIO this means that you are going to find yourself having to work with the company’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). You know, the marketing guy or gal. What is your relationship with them like now and what are you doing to improve it?

The Big Changes That Are Happening In Marketing

What too many of the people with the CIO job may not realize is that there are a lot of changes that are going on in the world of marketing that will be causing it to have to work more closely with IT in the future. CMOs are starting to understand the importance of information technology. Specifically, the arrival of such new technologies as social media and mobile advertising means that the CMO is going to have to learn more about how IT systems work than ever before.

Despite a need to have both of these executives work together side-by-side, a recient survey from Forrester Research is showing us that there is still a distance here. One of the things that CMOs want the CIO to is to start to hire more IT staff that have at least some marketing experience. They want these tech savvy employees to be able to help the marketing department out. However, currently only 44% of CMOs say that this is happening.

One of the big problems that is happening in the CIO / CMO relationship is communication. When they were surveyed, 71% of the CMOs said that they felt that they understood the technology that their marketing department was using. However, in the same survey, when the CIOs were surveyed, only 58% of them felt the same way. Clearly we’re dealing with a situation in which we have a number of over confident CMOs!

Where Things Can Be Improved

As the company’s CIO, it is your job to be aware that there are issues with the relationship that you have with the CMO. The very first thing that you’re going to have to do is to establish a relationship with them that will allow you to work together. Surveys say that from the CMO’s point-of-view, only 47% of them believe that they have a good working relationship with the company’s CIO. Clearly this is an area that needs some work.

If you are going to take steps to improve the relationship that you have with your CMO, then an important first step is going to be to start meeting with them on a regular basis. The good news here is that 70% of tech leaders and 59% of marketing leaders say that this is currently happening. Assuming that this is correct, then a lot of us are on the path to improving this relationship.

The rest of the company’s senior management is aware that there is an issue that exists between CIOs and CMOs. If asked, roughly half of these executives would say that the CIO and the CMO had strong ties. That still leaves us with a lot of room for improvement.

What All Of This Means For You

The world of business is undergoing a significant change. The world of marketing is becoming more and more digital as the importance of social media and mobile advertising continues to grow. The end result of these changes is that the company’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and the person in the CIO position need to learn how to work together more closely.

CMOs are looking to have the CIO hire tech savvy workers who also have marketing knowledge so that they’ll be able to easily support the marketing department. Unfortunately, CMOs have an overinflated view of their understanding of technology and so they may not know when they need to ask the CIO for help. Communication is the key to improving the CIO / CMO relationship and so scheduling regular meetings is an important step to improving this relationship.

Knowing that there is a relationship with your CMO that you need to be working on is the first part of fixing this problem. Your next step has to be to take steps to boost the communication that is flowing between you in order to make sure that you both have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish. Take some time and get to know your CMO just a bit better!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: How much time each week do you think that a CIO should spend with the CMO?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

If there is one IT buzzword that gets everyone excited right now, then it’s “Big Data”. The idea behind Big Data is that with the right set of tools, companies can finally take a look at all of the data that they collect from multiple streams and pull it together in order to answer important business questions. Finally, the importance of information technology can be realized in everyone’s company. In order to perform Big Data operations, you need the right type of database. Hadoop is an open source database for dealing with big data that CIOs are getting excited over. However, should they be?

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