Making CMO and CIO Partnerships the New Norm

The Creation of Man by Michelangelo Sistine ChapelOriginally published on Microsoft For Work on April 18, 2014.

To execute the most effective marketing strategy for your business, you need a marketing department that actively partners with your IT department to tap into data—and new opportunities. Despite CMOs and CIOs having different viewpoints on almost everything, the most successful businesses eliminate the disconnect between the roles and foster a collaborative environment that blurs the lines between the departments.

Rather than look at IT as an execution and delivery arm, your marketing team needs to see IT as a strategic business partner. According to Kathleen Schaub, Vice President of IDC’s CMO Advisory Service, the CMO’s job is “not to defend marketing’s ‘turf,’ but, rather, to steward the resources under their domain to get the best results for the overall business.”

Eliminate the marketing innovation gap

For marketing to tap into new opportunities and justify business decisions, it is essential, now more than ever, for marketing to use technology and data. But IDC predicts that only 20% of marketers will receive formal training on analytics and customer data management.

CMOs are responsible for incorporating technology into the marketing strategy. They need to lead customer experience, integrate marketing content across channels, and use data to improve the experience. To give your marketing department the analytics skills it needs to successfully do this, your business needs to implement consistent training develops these skills. It may mean external professional development courses, or something as simple as workshops run by experts in your business.

This is a chance for your marketing team to partner with IT, eliminate silos, and encourage cross-pollination among departments. This can develop trust between teams, and even lead to cross-departmental teams that put aside personal interests to focus on developing the best customer experience.

Build a tech-savvy marketing team

Schaub emphasizes that CMOs need to put business first and marketing second. “CMOs sometimes think of themselves as ‘the most senior marketer’ when they should identify as ‘the senior executive responsible for marketing.'”

Businesses that have marketing and IT departments working together tend to perform better because marketing can rely on IT to capture and analyze data, and use it to enhance marketing strategy. The wealth of information generated by your company’s interaction with customers is essential to effective contemporary marketing.

IDC believes 80% of customer data will be wasted this year because of “immature enterprise data ‘value chains.'” Late, missing, unanalyzed, or simply uncaptured data is proving a hurdle to marketing success. This makes another IDC prediction seem obvious: by the end of 2014, 60% of CMOs will have formal recruiting process for people with data skills.

You can overcome poor data practices by placing a high priority on data collection and analysis. Start by adding staff to your marketing team with technical and analytic skill sets. It’s also an opportunity for your IT employees to lend their skills to marketing, and for your marketing team to help IT develop marketing skills.

Ready for more?

Schaub will share marketing best practices, along with skills, organizational structures, and technologies you can use today, during the live Microsoft Roadmap Virtual Event on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Learn more and register