The chief marketing officer (CMO) role has been around for a while now. Still, as digital marketing strategies and marketing tech solutions gain prominence, CMOs and chief information officers (CIOs) have found their responsibilities overlapping.
As a result, the lines of division between roles and responsibilities are increasingly blurred.
For instance, CIOs are generally responsible for evaluating and implementing technology solutions for the enterprise, yet CMOs who lead marketing initiatives have a vested interest in many of these solutions.
Who should be responsible for selecting and investing in the best content management systems for an organization? What about customer analytics tools, secure marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions?
To understand how businesses navigate technology purchases, it helps to know the roles and responsibilities of the CMO and the CIO.
The chief marketing officer is responsible for planning, developing and implementing the organization’s marketing strategy, including brand identity and advertising. They also handle the web design process, trade shows, email marketing campaigns, promotions, social media marketing, events and more.
Many of these marketing responsibilities include digital technology, such as high-end computers for graphic design; external technology vendors, such as Google for advertising; CRM systems, big data insights; and artificial intelligence.
In some organizations, the CMO role is combined with sales functions, including new-business development, distribution channel management, and sales team management. The role may even spill over into product development and customer service.
The CMO’s focus is external. This executive communicates the organization’s marketing message to current and potential customers to increase brand awareness, improve market perception, and ultimately increase sales and boost profitability.
The chief information officer’s responsibilities include planning, deploying and maintaining information technology (IT) systems and operations. The CIO may have some or all of these responsibilities:
The CIO’s focus is both internal and external. They ensure employees have continuous, smooth use of hardware, software and networks. They also aim to protect the company’s technology assets from cybercriminals.
CMOs and CIOs are typically analytical and responsible for crucial functions within their budget constraints. However, the CIO may be more cost-conscious, because technology is typically seen as an expense to be minimized. In contrast, the CMO may justify higher expenditures with the potential for creating additional revenue.
CMOs may seek control over marketing-related technologies, because they want to implement the best tools to support the organization’s marketing processes. Their goals include the following:
CIOs’ goals are different. They want to do the following:
Myriad digital and tech-related marketing tools entice companies with their features and benefits, and the tool you select for the job will substantially affect your organization’s productivity and marketing ROI.
For example, dozens of business intelligence and analytics tools fuel marketing programs with actionable data about their target audiences, competitive landscape, opportunities and more. The CMO likely would be interested in seeing how these tools could benefit an organization’s marketing strategy.
CIOs, however, are focused primarily on risk management and security. When CMOs implement solutions that facilitate better marketing outcomes but introduce network vulnerabilities, conflict is inevitable.
The only genuine solution to CMOs’ and CIOs’ conflicting motives is enhanced collaboration. Effective collaboration in the form of data and analytics integration has broken down silos in other departments, such as sales and marketing, whose motives can differ.
The better organizations can break down silos and promote streamlined information sharing, communication and cooperation, the more effective the organization will be at meeting its objectives while satisfying everyone, including executives, various departments, team leaders, employees and customers.
Modern-day CIOs and CMOs can’t work in isolation. Without input from the CIO, a CMO might implement technology that proves disastrous for the company’s security. Likewise, a CIO might not choose the best marketing technology without a clear picture of the organization’s strategic direction, marketing goals and business requirements.
When they communicate and collaborate well, marketing and IT can work together to boost an organization’s success. Marketing technology produces massive amounts of data, and the IT department can manage and translate that data into actionable insights.
If your organization wants to cultivate a better relationship between marketing and IT functions by creating shared ownership of marketing technology investments and assets, these four key strategies can serve as your roadmap for success:
CMOs and CIOs may have conflicting motives and vested interests in tech-decision ownership. However, there’s a far greater value in effective collaboration and shared ownership in marketing technology and its underlying infrastructure.
Fergal Glynn contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.