CMOs need support and guidance from their CIOs… like never before

No single business function has been as discombobulated in recent years than marketing.  The profound shifts to digital media, the rapid evolution of social media and intensifying globalized business environment, have raised the pressure on CMOs to unprecedented levels.

The answer’s simple, my dear Watson…

The CMO’s job has become a poisoned chalice - he or she is left trying to bring together many disparate functions and processes and report to their leadership how to measure, monitor and plan for future business success.  Marketing is all about satisfying customer needs and wants profitably, and delivering a first-class customer experience, and HfS believes that marketing optimization is going to become a growing value-service than the BPO industry needs to deliver:  from lead generation through to churn management, from maketing operations though to campaign management.

Bottom-line, the C-Suite cares passionately about how their products and services are marketed: this is not a business function (like others we can mention) which they are prepared to see its effectiveness decline.

HfS analyst Euan Davis, who is examining this secular shift in the world of the CMO, recently took time out to digest IBM’s new bumper CIO survey, and has some takeaways on how the CIO needs to get really close to the CMO to help them through their current predicament. Over to you , Euan…

IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBM Global Services’ executive research group) announced findings from its huge CIO survey undertaken every 2 years (click here for more details). It’s a massive piece of work involving 3000 one hour face-to-face interviews with CIOs from around the world—this year it has some great news for CMOs.

Basically the CIO study segments CIOs into four main mandates—Leverage, Expand, Transform and Pioneer. Each mandate delivers on a set of goals to the enterprise such as streamlining enterprise operations and increasing effectiveness (leverage); Refining business processes and enhancing collaboration (expand); Changing the industry value chain through improved relationships (transform) and; Radically innovating products markets and business models (pioneer). Most of the CIOs are in the expand mandate and focus on driving better decision making across their businesses—process and product simplification and analytics are top priorities ( 82% of them lead on simplifying internal processes; 72% on driving better real time decisions and 71% looking to take advantage of analytics).

Where the study gets really interesting are the implications that the CIO mandate has for stakeholders around the enterprise—and in particular the Chief Marketing Officer. The CMO still warily eyes the CIO after a history of technology squabbles (we have to use Siebel? You’re kidding me right?); They also remember the promise heralded from its flexible CRM systems that ultimately proved to difficult for the old IT model to deliver on. Social media really has put a rocket under the CMO office—reams of online data needs sorting, categorizing and given meaning to unlock the value that it holds. Digital content sits in all sorts of places with vendors, agencies, removable hard drives and CRM folks as content management systems struggle to cope with workflow. CMOs need support and guidance from their CIOs like never before: Support figuring out how analytics can help them and where they get the IT insight around data management, warehousing, search capabilities and virtual dashboards so they can get closer to their customers and figure out which channel has the best ROI; Guidance into how to build an effective digital platform so that they can track and manage digital assets around the business cost effectively and share them with creative agencies and other external parties when they need to. CMOs need CIO support like never before.

The CIO study suggests both sides are coming together to understand which technologies and tools can best meet the needs of the customer— which tools can extract the highest value from data to enhance knowledge of the customer and which platforms can manage a firm’s digital assets more effectively. At last there is some clear common ground opening up between the CMO and the CIO. The CIO study highlighted what the major innovation plans for CIOs were in 2011: Business intelligence and analytics—83% of CMOs see this as a priority in 2011. And if any member of the C suite needs to use these tools it’s the CMO. Check out IBM’s CIO survey here.

Euan Davis (see bio) is Managing Director for HfS Research’s European Research and specializing in Marketing Optimization services

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