CMO and CIO Collaboration- Integrating the Best of C-Suite Management

by May 18, 2019

The C-Suite management is all set for a change, with the changing times, the CIO’s and CMO’s plan of strategy has increasingly converged in recent years. As the world becomes digital, marketing of the brand and the enterprise has seen a transformation. The buzz words of a marketer like creative development, brand positioning and analysing consumer insights have amalgamated to woo the technologically aware networked consumer who has been increasingly dependent on data and technology. Similarly, IT with strengths in operational reliability, technology architecture and specifications and project management, is undergoing transformation with cloud computing, the consumerization of IT and the escalating brand risks posed by cyber threats.

The CMO and the CIO collaboration has been the hot topic of discussion in the corporate boardrooms, forged to meet a common goal to deliver the customised digital experiences that customers demand. However, these roles are traditionally very different, and that can make collaboration a challenge at times.


Increased Dependency on Each Other

To achieve new pinnacles of customer delight, the CMOs and CIOs know that it’s time for the collaboration. Mature collaborations follow similar paths of evolution, transitioning from a role-specific focus to broader internal partnerships to integrated teams.

As the data grows in an enterprise, the CMOs are turning to the CIOs to make sense of this information with a common goal to increase the revenue in the dynamic competitive era.

The CIOs have a continuous role to play to turn new technology into revenue. They need the CMOs to help them meet the customer’s demand for this intelligent information. Thus, the CIOs and CMOs need to work together, for turning all this data into growth numbers. As the worldwide volume of data grows at least 40 percent a year, the CIOs and CTOs have come to a stage to be dependent on each other in much more collaborate manner than ever before. That’s why many CMOs are waking up to the fact that IT can’t be treated like a back-office function anymore; rather, the CIO is becoming a strategic partner who is crucial to developing and executing marketing strategy.


Forging C-Suite Partnerships

The math is simple, the CIOs have access to humongous customer data sources that the CMOs need to extract insights to increase revenue and profits. While the CMOs have the control of the digital channels to project these insights to grab the maximum consumer eyeballs. Did we say a match made in Heaven?

Historically, though, the relationship has often been a fractious one. CMOs have traditionally acted as stewards of the brand and have focused on large creative campaigns that generate excitement for the company’s products or services. The CIO, on the other hand, have primarily focused on a combination of business-process improvement and managing core transaction systems, ensuring cybersecurity, supporting end users, and reducing costs.

Though the digital explosion has forced CMOs and CIOs to work more closely together but that hasn’t always made them work better together. Take this with a pinch of salt. When escalations and a few rifts occur in this top-level management over decision rights and budget authority.


Collaborations that Drive Success

The CMOs have a long term to capitalise the opportunity presented by CIOs through the intelligent insights they assimilate through data points. The CIO, on the other hand, currently must shift IT from being a cost center to be a business-revenue facilitator and enabler. In this digital era, the CIOs are accountable to deploy an enterprise’s technical infrastructure for accelerating revenue growth. The CMOs and CIOs must have a keen sense that marketing and technology collaboration is a means to achieve business ends thereby taking the best of both words and developing sophisticated analytics to make business cases.


The Path to an Exciting Future

There will be roadblocks in the collaboration initially and the CMO and CIO should not expect to get the model right for the first time. At the initial phase, both should strategize to pilot test models to see how the customer reaction to the initiative will be. This approach allows teams to develop best practices and learn valuable lessons that can then be used to train other teams.

One such lesson: The Top C-Suits must not be afraid to fail but keep the projects and teams small enough to contain the failures and learn from them to pave the path for an exciting future ahead.