Why CIOs and CMOs Need to be Joined at the Hip

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


I won’t show you all the studies, but there’s a couple major things CIOs and CMOs have in common. One is that they are the two C-level executives with the shortest tenures. So, well, they have that in common. But what’s the most important factor here?

Maybe you guessed it -- digital marketing. And imagine what they could accomplish if they started buddying up to each other a lot more, like extending each other’s tenure?

Some of the clients I work with do this right. The marketing organization is in lock-step with the technology team. Marketing automation, digital content, Big Data, and five other intersections of technology and marketing are at the forefront of what they do. Those companies are moving in the right direction, even if they don’t get every decision right.

But I have worked with a couple of other companies that have those silos up. And the interaction between marketing and technology consists mainly of loud demands and finger-pointing. I admit to a multiple times where I had to gently (OK, a couple of times not so gently) sit down the warring parties and help them remember that they have actual competitors outside their hallowed walls that would be thrilled to see how they are behaving–and customers that would be disgusted.

I’ve seen a few companies that are even creating Chief Digital Officers–CDOs–to ensure that this partnership really takes hold by having another executive on the team. CDOs are typically charged with transforming the experience of both employees and customers to a more digital one. Motorola even named Eduardo Conrado the Vice President of Marketing and IT (which ought to make cooperation just a little easier), apparently such an new idea that he was later named Chief Innovation Officer.

Regardless of who you are, what you do, or where you sit, if you aren’t reaching out to your counterpart in the other group, you are missing the boat. Digital isn’t optional in marketing anymore. And no tech team can afford to remain a “cost center”–not driving revenue.

Whether this match was made in heaven or hell is up to you, but you have little choice but to merge technology and marketing if you want to be successful. And if you don’t think you are working in a place where that can happen, I’d start looking for a place where it can.


TAGS: CIO CMO Executive Education Marketing Mike Moran