According to Gartner, by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
In fact, you should count on the influence of the marketing department to further increase as the social web drives more buying decisions. Leading CMOs, who understand how to leverage modern marketing technologies (marketing automation, social sentiment monitoring, etc.), are at the forefront of this shifting landscape.
In view of this Gartner report, how should CIOs respond? Rather than viewing this as a threat to their relevance, smart CIOs should respond positively, and see this as another way to drive value for their companies. Here are four suggestions on how to do so:
1. Get Into the CMO’s World: Most CIOs are playing catch up, here. They simply don’t understand the world the CMO lives in. They have no sense of what’s important to the CMO, nor the business pressures that CMOs live under. CIOs need to intentionally and strategically partner with CMOs.
2. Drive Value Through Your Technology Expertise: Most CMOs aren’t steeped in technology -– at least not the way CIOs are. That’s an opportunity for the CIO to be of significant value to the CMO in numerous ways, but in particular, in the selection of technology solutions.
From my experience, I’ve found that most marketing organizations aren’t particularly experienced in purchasing software -– in defining requirements and managing a formal evaluation process. This is where CIOs can add value. IT organizations are used to purchasing software and tools. They are accustomed to addressing issues like security, vendor lock-in, and scale.
3. Move Fast: You want to know why many marketing departments don’t like involving IT? Speed -- or rather the lack of it. Marketers fear that involving IT will slow things down and put their initiatives at risk. Bear in mind that the average tenure of the CMO is 22 months. If you’re not sure if you’ll be around after two years, showing results and doing it fast is high on your priority list. CIOs who partner well with CMOs learn to move fast. They add even more value by teaching marketing organizations Agile techniques that have been proven successful in the IT world.
4. Keep One Step Ahead: Again, most CMOs aren’t as familiar with technology CIOs. They often see technology as a means to an end and may lack the natural interest in new, emerging technologies -- the kind that can disrupt a competitive landscape.
CIOs can drive value and lead the way by introducing new technologies to the CMO in consumable, relevant chunks. For instance, if anyone is drowning in data, it’s the marketing department. There are metrics generated by online campaigns, contact information collected through various channels, and reams of unstructured social interactions to analyze. This screams big-data, but most CMOs don’t know where to start.
CIOs who understand how to explain big-data technologies and apply them appropriately to the kinds of problems marketers are trying to solve will make themselves invaluable to the CMO. More importantly, they will make a difference in driving revenue for their companies.
Will CMOs actually spend more on IT than CIOs? Maybe, but don’t fight it. Even if CMOs get bigger budgets for IT, and drive more purchasing, it doesn’t necessarily equate to a lesser role for the CIO. In fact, for smart CIOs, partnering with the CMO to help drive the revenue engine means the future is brighter than ever.