CIOs, give your CMO a hug! 4 reasons strong CIO and CMO relationships are essential [Infographic]

By Penny Schlyer

Do you know what keeps your CMO up at night? CIO and CMO relationships are vital to the growth and success of an organization, but often, they just aren’t strong enough. While you focus on technology and your CMO focuses on growth, there may be times when it seems like your executive goals just don’t align. And the fact that the marketing department is taking a greater share of your tech budget probably isn’t easing any tension.

However, no matter your differences, CIO and CMO relationships are critical. CMOs have made great headway in dealing with the recent data explosion and are using this data to effectively create experiences and build out brands. CIOs are the ones who manage and can access that data. For the sake of the organization, you two executives need to work together to transform the way you serve your customers through the use of that crucial data.

Mobile and emerging technology — such as virtual assistants, cloud 2.0, wearables, nearables, augmented reality and virtual reality — is increasingly affecting customer expectations for always-on, connected experiences largely driven through mobile devices. Two-thirds of surveyed executives plan to spend USD 5 million on mobile initiatives over the next 12 months, according to data from the “Return on mobile: Capturing value beneath the surface” report. Though that investment is huge, 40 percent of surveyed executives admit to having an ad hoc approach to their mobile strategy, with only “some” coordination between the mobile portfolio and the organization’s various lines of business.

Hug Your CMO Infographic

As appetites grow for personalized experiences, constant contact and quick responses, you as the CIO are obliged to incorporate more and more marketing and customer service elements into the business strategy. In the most recent C-suite study, 85 percent of CIOs say customer insight and intelligence are their top strategic priority.

Through an understanding of customer behavior before, during and after the buying journey, CIOs and CMOs can work together to tailor engagement, create connected customer experiences that span digital systems and physical environments, and truly differentiate the company in highly competitive, global markets.

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Here are some great ways you can embrace your CMO and his or her business priorities:

1. Work with your CMO to understand your customers

Schedule a meeting with the intent of establishing a partnership focused on customer experience. Let your CMO know that you can and want to help get the information and analytics needed to understand customer engagement before, during and after the buying journey. The CMO’s job is to know your customers, and when it comes to enabling flawless digital customer experiences, you must know what type of technology is best suited to optimize the customer experience in your industry.

2. Tap into your CMO’s creative vision

Your CMO sets the vision for the customer experience. A substantial 82 percent of CMOs from high-performing companies are paying particular attention to the customer journey in its entirety. You can help bring that vision to life by offering new approaches to reach customers where they are on their mobile devices through assistive technology or through intelligent wearables, for example. Whatever use case makes sense for your industry, your CMO is the best partner to help define what will resonate most and how the brand should be represented. You also have many insights that provide an alternate perspective on how the vision can come to life.

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3. Embrace the fact that you and the CMO have the same goals

Your goal is to provide exceptional customer experiences. Companies no longer sell products — they sell experiences. Digital reinvention is no longer a choice — it’s a requirement. The lines between industries are blurring, with startups of all kinds disrupting traditional ways of doing things. CIO and CMO relationships must be formed and strengthened so the organization can move forward in lockstep and maximize the continuously evolving digital landscape to create lasting advantage, thus becoming a disruptor.

4. Wage the war together — your CMO’s success is your success

Don’t battle each other for recognition in your organization. Lock arms and fight together as leaders to be the brand that sends competitors scrambling for new ideas because of the exceptional experiences you deliver. Your CMO is on the front lines with your most important stakeholders. They understand customer needs and are seeking new ways to engage. Avoid the temptation of shadow IT and work closely with your CMO to identify the right technology strategy that will maximize your current assets, not compete against them.

There are many great examples of CIOs and CMOs working together to deliver exceptional experiences, including Staples, ICICI Bank and The Weather Company. You need your CMO in order to do your job, and they need you so they can do theirs. Put your differences aside and form a partnership of mutual respect and understanding to lead, collaborate and advance your customer experiences to stay ahead of disruption.

Written By

Penny Schlyer

Portfolio Marketing Leader, IBM Mobile

Portfolio marketing leader responsible for helping line of business understand the value that contextual and cognitive mobile services on the IBM Cloud bring to engagement to help brands differentiate their experience.

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