A disconnect between chief marketing officers and chief information officers threatens the ability of companies to deliver effective customer experiences, according to a new study by Accenture.
The study, based on a survey of 400 senior marketing and 250 information technology executives in ten countries, revealed that only one in ten of the executives believes collaboration between CMOs and CIOs is currently at the right level.
CIOs appear to be more committed to greater collaboration than CMOs, according to the report. More than three out of four CIOs surveyed—77%—agree that CMO-CIO alignment is important, compared to 57% of CMOs participating in the survey. However, despite CIOs appearing more open to engaging with CMOs, only 45% of CIOs say that supporting marketing is near or at the top of their list of priorities.
Regarding the use of technology, CMOs and CIOs agree that technology is essential to marketing and that its primary purpose is to gain access to customer insight and intelligence (60% of CMOs and 73% of CIOs). But while CMOs claim that gaining customer insight is their No. 1 motivator for collaborating with IT, CIOs rank this tenth on their list of reasons to work together. CIOs’ top motivation for collaborating is to improve the customer experience, which CMOs rank as their third most important motivator.
“The CMO and CIO continue to work in silos, but now more than ever bridging the gap between those two organizations is critical for success. With today’s multichannel consumer seeking highly relevant experiences and with digital and analytics platforms emerging to help companies respond, marketing and IT executives must work more closely together,” says Brian Whipple, global managing director of Accenture Interactive. “C-suite decision makers face a variety of challenges when collaborating, ranging from a lack of trust to differing business goals. These issues must be resolved to turn a company’s digital marketing capabilities into a platform for market differentiation, business growth, and profitability.”
The report reveals that when collaborating on a marketing initiative, neither the marketing executives nor the IT executives come away satisfied. According to the survey, 36% of CMOs say that IT deliverables fall short of the desired outcome, and 46% of CIOs say marketing does not provide an adequate level of detail to meet business requirements.
The survey also shows that a disagreement over the freedom and control of the use of technology and data also prevents effective collaboration. While 45% of CMOs say they want to enable their teams to leverage and optimize data and content without IT intervention, 49% of CIOs counter that marketing uses technologies without consideration for IT standards.
Despite the issues in collaboration raised by the survey, both CMOs and CIOs believe their relationship has improved over the past year: 45% of marketing executives and 47% of IT executives share this opinion. Additionally, almost an equal number of CMOs (41%) and CIOs (42%) believe that significantly more collaboration with each other will be required to drive relevant customer experiences.
According to the Accenture report, CMOs and CIOs should consider taking the following actions to strengthen their alignment and improve collaboration:
- The CMO should be identified as the chief experience officer and IT should be looked at as a strategic partner with marketing and not just as a platform provider.
- The skills mix in both organizations should be updated whereby the marketing department would become more tech savvy and the IT organization would become more agile and responsive to market demands.
- Both teams should agree on key business levers and embrace tools, processes, and platforms to understand consumer intent and unlock consumer value.
“To succeed in the digital age, CMOs must place an immediate focus on technology to improve relevant customer experiences and advance marketing practices,” Whipple says. “The good news is that CMOs and CIOs agree technology is important. Now they must work together to agree on how technology can be most appropriately applied to drive their company’s specific marketing needs, and how it can ultimately result in increased brand affinity, loyalty, and sales growth.”