The CIO/CMO relationship is among the weakest in the c-suite according to a recent study by PwC, with only 51% of respondents rating it as strong. For many this will not have come as a surprise, but the study also pin-pointed this particular relationship as one of five key factors for businesses looking to maximise the return on their digital technology investments.
This particular work relationship is growing in importance as we are seeing the traditional roles of both c-suite executives converging – and marketing technology is a key reason for this. Gartner recently predicted that by 2017 CMOs will be spending more on technology than CIOs, sometimes in conjunction with the CIOs, but also sometimes outside of the IT departments control. What remains clear is that the way marketing departments and IT departments buy technology is distinctly different. But why is this the case?
The digital landscape has altered the marketer’s world beyond recognition and technology companies have stepped in to offer them data management platforms, real-time media buying tools and sophisticated measurement systems. This technology helps to make sense of the huge volumes of data marketers now possess, enabling them to buy targeted media placements automatically and at scale, then test, measure and optimise to make sure that campaigns are driving maximum ROI. What all brands and marketers are working towards is personalised marketing across every channel and every device, for all consumers, in real-time, as this is both what consumers expect and what affords them the greatest commercial advantage. Naturally marketers are racing to find the best tech solutions for their particular business needs in order to maintain or gain a competitive edge, but for CIOs this approach to buying technology presents some challenges.
In general, CIOs tend to prioritize their IT investments and purchases in terms of cost reductions, standardization, security, stability and control. Seeking financial leverage, they often look to reduce the number of technology providers from whom they purchase. This quest for simplification and standardisation often leads them to buy application suites and lock themselves into longer contracts, seeking a stable and profitable relationships with a few key vendors such as Oracle, Adobe, or Salesforce.
Today’s CMO carries the load of traditional marketing initiatives, such as branding, advertising and PR (all necessary and all still tough to quantify) and increasingly programmes such as lead generation, SEO, the digital experience and social media. At the same time they are under increasing pressure to deliver a compelling ROI on their growing marketing spend. And they strive to deliver more compelling user experiences that lead to more loyalty and stickier revenue.
What are digital marketers demanding? Personalized marketing. Everywhere. On every channel and every device. Wherever their users access the growing “Internet of things.” They want timely and actionable data. And they want it all now. To achieve all of this they are willing to try any technology that gives them the edge.
As the digital marketing landscape continues to add solutions and services, the ‘closed suite’ players run the dual risk of picking the wrong technologies from everything that is out there and then making sure it works with the rest of the suite. It’s hard to imagine the big players can acquire or integrate fast enough to offer a true one-stop-shop solution or suite for the CMO. The CMO does not buy that way. The future belongs to brands that leverage open platforms, enabling the integration of best-of-breed solutions to deliver personalized marketing everywhere.