Why CIOs are Smarter than CMOs

Marketing consultant Ron Shevlin has a theory that might get some particularly pointy rocks hurdled his way. You could say that when it comes to CIOs and CMOs, Shevlin thinks CIOs are cooking with gas, and CMOs are still figuring out how to turn on the stove.

That was My Metaphor, Not His

There are only three questions that Shevlin needs to ask in order to learn how well-managed your company is: 1) How tolerant of IT risk is your company? 2) How committed is the executive team to using IT as a strategic enabler/differentiator? and 3) How well-aligned and coordinated is IT with other business functions? The highest-performing firms are always the ones who have the most positive responses to those questions.

A report from Accenture suggests that a wealth of CMOs would not respond positively to those questions. It shows that 44 percent of CMOs surveyed “simply don’t believe there’s any need for alignment with CIOs.” And another statistic from InformationWeek shows that only 10 percent of marketing executives “plan to work more closely with the CIO and IT department.”

Comparatively, 30 percent of CIOs in yet another survey find that they have a “very strong” relationship with marketing, while another 46 percent find it “quite strong.” Shevlin points to these stats in conjunction as demonstrating that CIOs care more about marketing than CMOs care about IT. He has three theories on why this might be the case.

Solving the Mystery

Firstly, CIOs might just better understand and appreciate the available research, because they have more internal and interdependent relationships to manage than CMOs do. A second theory is that there are a bunch of “legacy” CMOs out there who are stuck in the past and still think marketing is about having the best TV commercial. And then there is the final theory:

CMOs… think that they can go it alone. “IT doesn’t know what it’s doing, doesn’t understand marketing’s needs, and doesn’t put marketing’s needs high enough on its priority list, so we’ll just hire our own marketing technologists, and build our own marketing technology capabilities.” You just know that that view exists out there.

Are juxtaposing a few numbers a justifiable way to declare that CIOs are really smarter than CMOs? Nah. But it is food for thought. You can read Shevlin’s full post here:

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