Disconnect between CMOs and CIOs threatens marketing effectiveness of companies

By Brian Whipple

A disconnect between chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) threatens the ability of companies to deliver effective customer experiences, according to a new study by Accenture. The study, based on a survey of 400 senior marketing and 250 information technology (IT) executives in 10 countries, revealed that only one in 10 of the executives believes collaboration between CMOs and CIOs is currently at the right level.

CIOs appear to be more committed to greater collaboration than CMOs, according to the report, The CMO-CIO Disconnect. More than three out of four CIOs surveyed – 77 percent – agree that CMO-CIO alignment is important, compared to 57 percent of CMOs participating in the survey. However, despite CIOs appearing more open to engaging with CMOs, only 45 percent of CIOs say that supporting marketing is near or at the top of their list of priorities.

Regarding the use of technology, CMOs and CIOs agree that technology is essential to marketing and that its primary purpose is to gain access to customer insight and intelligence (60 percent of CMOs and 73 percent of CIOs). But while CMOs claim that gaining customer insight is their number one motivator for collaborating with IT, CIOs rank this tenth on their list of reasons to work together. CIOs’ top motivation for collaborating is to improve the customer experience, which CMOs rank as their third most important motivator.

The CMO and CIO continue to work in silos, but now more than ever bridging the gap between those two organizations is critical for success. With today’s multichannel consumer seeking highly relevant experiences and with digital and analytics platforms emerging to help companies respond, marketing and IT executives must work more closely together. C-suite decision makers face a variety of challenges when collaborating, ranging from a lack of trust to differing business goals. These issues must be resolved to turn a company’s digital marketing capabilities into a platform for market differentiation, business growth, and profitability.

Challenged Collaboration in Action

The report reveals that when collaborating on a marketing initiative, neither the marketing executives nor the IT executives come away satisfied. According to the survey, 36 percent of CMOs say that IT deliverables fall short of the desired outcome, and 46 percent of CIOs say marketing does not provide an adequate level of detail to meet business requirements.

The survey also shows that a disagreement over the freedom and control of the use of technology and data also prevents effective collaboration. While 45 percent of CMOs say they want to enable their teams to leverage and optimize data and content without IT intervention, 49 percent of CIOs counter that marketing uses technologies without consideration for IT standards.

A Positive Shift

Despite the issues in collaboration raised by the survey, both CMOs and CIOs believe their relationship has improved over the past year: 45 percent of marketing executives and 47 percent of IT executives share this opinion. Additionally, almost an equal number of CMOs (41 percent) and CIOs (42 percent) believe that significantly more collaboration with each other will be required to drive relevant customer experiences.

Steps to Improve CMO-CIO Collaboration

According to the Accenture report, CMOs and CIOs should consider taking the following actions to strengthen their alignment and improve collaboration:

• The CMO should be identified as the Chief Experience Officer and IT should be looked at as a strategic partner with marketing and not just as a platform provider.

• The skills mix in both organizations should be updated whereby the marketing department would become more tech savvy and the IT organization would become more agile and responsive to market demands.

• Both teams should agree on key business levers and embrace tools, processes and platforms to understand consumer intent and unlock consumer value.

 

To succeed in the digital age, CMOs must place an immediate focus on technology to improve relevant customer experiences and advance marketing practices. The good news is that CMOs and CIOs agree technology is important. Now they must work together to agree on how technology can be most appropriately applied to drive their company’s specific marketing needs, and how it can ultimately result in increased brand affinity, loyalty and sales growth.

Learn more at: The CMO-CIO Disconnect.

Methodology

The 2012 CMO-CIO Insights Survey is a global survey sponsored by Accenture aimed at understanding the opinions, challenges and points of view of senior and IT executives as it relates to marketing-IT alignment. The results are based on 405 surveys across 10 countries with senior marketing executives, and 252 surveys across the same countries with IT Executives using the same criteria. All respondents are from companies from the U.S., Canada, Germany, Italy, U.K. and China with at least $1 billion in annual revenues, with companies in France, Australia, Singapore and Brazil all having an annual revenue of at least $500 million. Accenture conducted an online survey in August and September of 2012.

About the author and Accenture

Brian Whipple is global managing director of Accenture Interactive. Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 261,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2012. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

Accenture Interactive helps the world’s leading brands drive superior marketing performance across the full multichannel customer experience. Working with over 5,000 Accenture professionals dedicated to serving the marketing function, Accenture Interactive offers integrated, industrialized and industry-driven digital transformation and marketing solutions. Follow @AccentureSocial or visit accenture.com/interactive.

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