Should The CIO View The CMO As Friend Or Foe?

by drjim on October 1, 2014

Do CIOs and CMO really have to fight?

Do CIOs and CMO really have to fight?
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If there is one fact of life that everyone who has the CIO job has had to learn to deal with, it’s that our IT budgets never seem to be big enough. However, it turns out that there is someone else in the company who does not have the same problem: the CMO. In fact, the CMO has so much money to spend, they are starting to build their own IT department. Is this something that you need to be worried about?

The Problems That CMOs Cause

So what’s really going on here? The CMO is increasingly coming under pressure to improve the company’s customer’s digital experience. No matter if that involves connecting with the company through Facebook, Twitter, or a snazzy web page, this has become the responsibility of the CMO.

The arrival of Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) solutions now means that the CMO can directly purchase IT solutions that they used to have to go through the IT department in order to get. Couple this with marketing’s new interest in mining all of that customer data that the company has laying around and very quickly you can see your IT department getting pushed in to a maintenance role.

Your biggest problem is that if you don’t speak up now, you’re going to be bypassed. This poses a number of unique problems. One of these problems is that the CMO / CIO relationship is very new – nobody has really solved this problem before.

The Changing CMO / CIO Relationship

In the past, there probably was not that much of an interaction between CIO and CMO. However, that is all changing now. What’s driving the change is a shared desire between these two roles to reinvent the customer experience.

The company is currently in the process of increasing the marketing budgets even as IT budgets are being held in place or even in some cases shrunk. The reason that the company is more willing to spend on customer-facing activities rather than back-office tasks is because they view customer-facing systems as having the potential to bring in more customers.

CIOs should view this change as a positive one. By working closer with the CMO, IT now has a chance to move from the back of the house and has a chance to take the center stage along with marketing. As a CIO, this just might be what your careen needs in order to take you to the next level!

What All Of This Means For You

CMOs are becoming more and more important to a company’s long-term success. This is resulting in their budgets becoming larger. Because of the need for them to do more things digitally, they are starting to make investments in IT equipment and services without the assistance of the IT department. This can cause problems for the person in the CIO position.

CIOs need to realize that the reason that CMOs are starting to expand into their territory is because marketing is becoming very digital. In order to accomplish everything that is expected of them, CMO need to rely on IT solutions. CIOs can prevent a shadow IT department being set up within the marketing department by working with the CMO to help them accomplish their goals.

The good news is that the company is starting to understand the importance of information technology. The bad news is that the CMO is the one who is getting all of the funding needed to build out the company’s IT infrastructure. Take the time to become the CMOs best friend when it comes to solving the marketing department’s IT challenges and you’ll have found a way to keep the CIO relevant.

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

Question For You: What’s the best way for the CIO to show value to the CMO?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Isn’t it the dream of every CIO to have a fully committed team? A team that understands the importance of information technology and what you are trying to accomplish as a team, has fully bought in to that dream, and is aggressively working to achieve your goals? It turns out that there is a dark side to this dream. You need to be aware of what that dark side is and how you can deal with it before it causes your team to burn out…

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