CMOs and CIOs: The New Power Team

A good buddy cop movie requires an outspoken go-getter and a restrained straight man. The budding relationship between CMOs and CIOs in business is not so different, and as far as money is concerned, is no less entertaining. A study released by IBM stated that eighty percent of CMOs plan to increase their use of technology in the areas of social media, customer analytics, CRM, and mobile apps. The problem is, despite their enthusiasm, CMOs do not really know how to deal with the technology’s complexity. This is where the straight man CIO walks into the room, having all the answers. The result is a new power team that Carolyn Baird writes about for CRM Magazine.

CMOs and CIOs feel a bond in that they are both increasingly being asked to take on more responsibility and adapt to swift changes. Over ninety percent of CMOs in a study agreed that technology is critical to business success, and a majority of CIOs likewise aim to improve their customer relations. When CMOs and CIOs align under a shared appreciation of what the other can accomplish, the results are glowing:

What about companies where the CMO/CIO pairs are working well? The ones we’ve talked to have one thing in common: a fierce commitment to collaborate and share responsibility for success. They align their strategic business priorities and budget decisions. They build integrated project teams. They create new roles, such as the marketing technologist, who acts as a liaison between the groups. They meet, talk, plan, and experiment. A lot.

As far as areas where collaboration could improve, CMOs have a tendency to be uninterested in matters of data management or security, but if something goes wrong in those areas, the blame will fall with the CMO. The CIOs meanwhile could stand to better support social media, an area where CMOs have sometimes bypassed IT altogether.

But that is the nature of the buddy cop relationship. Things are never quite perfect, but as long as the appreciation and the desire to learn from one another is there, CMOs and CIOs will make for quite the dynamic duo in an organization.

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