CIOIT-Business Alignment

How to Join Tech and Marketing

We know that technology and marketing are like coke and beer–the former targets a large anonymous population, while the latter reaches out to smaller known groups of audiences. Yet they are dependent on each other for the overall outcome of a business. To better connect the two functions, Mark Samuels, in writing for ZDNet, points out four ways that CIOs and CMOs can create a mutually beneficial relationship:

  1. Finding common goals to help the business grow
  2. Understanding the increased blurring of executive responsibility
  3. Refraining from getting distracted by smaller details
  4. Focusing on all C-suite executive partnerships

Get Along with Your Neighbors

Remember all the business-IT alignment tricks? The same basic lesson can be drawn here: You need to focus and highlight commonalities that you and the other share. Even when every department is competing for investment, it doesn’t mean that the CMO and CIO relationship must be strained. CIO consultant Andrew Abboud says both executives have their strengths and can harmonize to benefit the business. Just as a business relies on technology innovations and changes to create a competitive advantage over their competitors, the best CMOs also lean on CIOs and their department. Only partnerships that are based on mutual respect and shared objectives can drive a business.

Experienced CMO Sarah Speake also says that marketer and tech experts must work hard to create a strong bond and develop approaches that value and embrace the work of the other. There are now more and more CMOs actively recruiting IT talents to their departments, and likewise, an increasing number of CIOs who want more marketing experts with “solid data and analytics experience.” These practices help create a complementary business relationship that support and appreciate each other.

You shouldn’t look at the efforts to harmonize with another department as a nuisance, but as a fruitful practice that saves time and efforts on other tasks. For example, a technology company may have a lot of spokespeople with different opinions on the systems, and it takes time to ask each individual for his or hers. But CMOs can help you by keeping employees on message. So it’s crucial not to get distracted by small details, and to share the mutual tasks and focus on the main big goal. At the same time, don’t divert your attention from other C-suite executive partnerships:

“It’s an important part of the CIO role,” [Dave Smoley, CIO at AstraZeneca] says. “You need to nurture and maintain that relationship. Historically, and maybe less these days, CIOs worry about whether they fit in structurally, and whether they get enough time and attention.”

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