CIOs must merge IT with marketing to win in the digital decade

In the future, only companies that understand and anticipate their customers' needs and can consistently deliver unique, tailored customer experiences will be able to attract and retain loyal customers.

This requires not just having the knowledge about the customer but also the processes and the systems that create unique customer insights and deliver compelling interactions across the customer life cycle.

To achieve this, Forrester believes that CIOs must form a strong partnership with CMOs, going beyond collaboration to co-create new organizations and processes, where both teams share ownership of goals and business outcomes.  

Forrester and Forbes Insights fielded a global survey to 300 CMOs and CIOs to determine their readiness to work together.

We found that relatively few companies are well-positioned to develop strong IT and marketing partnerships and that marketing professionals are less optimistic than their IT counterparts.

As independent teams, IT and marketing may well demonstrate high maturity.

But past experiences and misperceptions about each other persist, so IT and marketing may struggle to develop a successful partnership.


Mastering the customer data flow is critical to future success.

To help organizations assess its readiness to build a stronger partnership between IT and Marketing, Forrester created a model that looks at three critical dimensions: people, process, and technology (see Figure: A sample readiness assessment).

 - People: Make your IT and Marketing teams ready to merge skills.

The majority of survey respondents reported little progress toward merging IT and marketing skills. Only a third of IT leaders are making progress in this direction, while only 10 per cent of marketing leaders are aware of any progress.

This suggests CIOs need to bring marketing expertise in from outside of IT or develop these skills in existing staff.
 - Process: Develop processes to increase agility. While more than 45 per cent of IT leaders are making progress toward adapting their IT processes to deliver more speed and flexibility to marketing, only 32 per cent of marketing leaders recognize any progress being made.

This suggests that even speeded up, IT may still lack the agility needed for marketing.