A CIO and CMO's work relationship © rawpixel_ltd
A CIO and CMO's work relationship © rawpixel_ltd

CIOs are finding new ways to turn the business model into profits and growth; by aligning themselves with the Chief Marketing Officer to ensure change.

There has been a decline of 5% in UK IT budgets to 35% in the whole organisations budget, according to the 2017 State of IT report.

In some organisations, CIOs and CMOs are working together to coordinate the business and marketing strategy in creating a better customer engagement. CIO UK looks at the building relationship between the two roles and how the CIO and the CMO can become natural business partners. (See also: How to bring marketing and IT closer -CMO - CIO collaboration in the digital business)

Why a CIO should work with the CMO: Learning the language

Two 2016 CIO 100 organisations who are currently seeing a collaboration between the CIO and their CMOs are Virgin Active and DMG who are working together on developing digital technology in their organisations.

There has been a decline in most traditional CIO priorities but a 15% increase in the number of CIOs charged with increasing customer engagement, according to the 2016 Harvey Nash survey.

CIOs and CMOs should collaborate on how they can turn digital technology into business profits by adjusting the ways in which they work together.

The building relationship between the two roles will add skills and gain an insight into one another’s careers, with the CIO using their strategic leadership to work alongside the CMO's customer insight, to develop a business strategy.

A Chief Marketing Officer uses analytics and data to observe the customer’s behaviour and digital demands. The CMO role is often left on the sidelines when the digital technology is finalised being responsible for generating publicity for the product. A CIO is often seen as the digital leader with the role often ‘keeping the lights on’ in being at the forefront of the digital technology.

The building of partnerships between the CIO and CMO have been cited by several organisations, and Group IT Director Duncan Gray has worked alongside the Chief Marketing Officer at British Car Auctions to influence a change.

“In collaboration with the CMO, we have introduced a customer-centric product ethos which will focus on making it easier for our customers, both the sellers and buyers,” Gray said.

Group IT Director Gray has seen his primary concern on bringing British Car Auction’s ‘best practice’ to the wholesale vehicle marketplace, with a focus on omni-channel services.

“IT business system solutions lead discovery workshops with large corporate customers that tease out the problem that the customer is trying to solve rather than the technology they think they need. This has resulted in an efficient delivery of a solution that builds a stronger partnership,” he added.

A CIO can increase their understanding of marketing in ensuring the digital technology being implemented is catering towards the overall customer’s needs.  An alignment with the CMO can develop the IT team’s skill set in areas in which they need more digital expertise.  

The increasing responsibility of a CIO will need to find new ways of enhancing creativity within their digital team. The customer focused strategy will establish that the CIO and the CMO have the consumer's interests at the core of the organisation’s digital vision.  

Why the CIO should work with the CMO: Audience Content

IT spending is shifting from on-premise hardware to digital technologies, with 17% of IT budgets being spent on hosted/cloud-based service projects in 2017.

A CMO’s responsibility will focus on ensuring business growth; while a CIO’s role requirement needs to turn technology into growth. This collaboration between the two roles will see a better functionality in the digital and marketing strategy.

Audience content such as social media, forums and blogs have generated revenues in giving consumers a more personalised customer experience.  

Marketing to the customers’ needs through the use of digital content has been cited by several businesses, and Chief Productivity Officer Brian Franz is using leadership skills to co-align with the CMO helping to ‘accelerate’ the digital marketing capabilities at Diageo.

“Our goal is to enhance and strengthen our global capabilities and excellence in digital, and to ingrain it into the fabric of what we do,” he said.

Chief Productivity Officer Franz has ‘defined’ an ambition and a ‘strategic’ framework in order to link Diageo’s digital marketing activities to their customer’s journey.

“In order for us to do this we are building digital capabilities and services for our markets and brand teams while also seeing a budding relationship between the two departments,” Franz said.

CMOs can analyse the data collected and understand the diversity of their customers in giving a better knowledge of the business strategy.

Why the CIO should work with the CMO: Stronger cross teams and better branding

A broader view of the business and a collaboration of the CIO and CMO can help build a stronger cross team across the departments.

Both the CIO and CMO role need to be aware of the changing consumer expectations in ensuring the business can get ahead of its competitors.

For a CIO and CMO it is collaboration between the technology and marketing department with an increase of skills. Overall it will give the organisation a unified approach in both departments working towards to a customer-focused business goal.