4 goals to steer the CMO away
from silos and toward the CIO

Take advantage of your data expertise and enterprise-wide perspective to forge a strategic alliance between the CMO and CIO.

“CMOs who go it alone do so at their own peril. They miss key integration points ... and allow the technology to dictate their strategy and marketing processes.”

—Sheryl Pattek, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester

In last year’s often-cited prediction, Gartner stated that, by 2017, CMOs will have more money to spend on IT than CIOs.1 Simply having the budget, however, does not give marketing the expertise to drive strategic purchases. Data-driven marketing initiatives are becoming increasingly high-profile and important to the business. So how do you avoid compromising data integrity and limiting yourself to a supporting role in the CMO’s pet projects? By changing perceptions, becoming indispensable, and influencing decisions.

Avoid being seen as an obstructionist by enlisting the CIO’s help. Encourage strategic alignment with the CMO on business and technology priorities and stress the pitfalls of siloed efforts in an organization.

As Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Sheryl Pattek points out, “CMOs who go it alone do so at their own peril. They miss key integration points, don’t achieve the desired benefits from their technology investments, and allow the technology to dictate their strategy and marketing processes.”2

If you do little else, approach 2014 with the following in mind:

Goal 1: Change perceptions

Data is a competitive advantage to any marketing organization striving to meet customer demand and adapt at market speed. Like it or not, IT is often seen as sluggish in its response. Rigid data governance standards can be perceived as impeding innovation and agility. Eliminate these perceptions by making sure the CIO communicates to the CMO that IT understands and wants to partner in delivering marketing’s need for speed.

Goal 2: Influence decisions

Protect the time and resources you have invested in creating enterprise-wide data governance standards. Discourage siloes. Explain why it is important to the marketing business to integrate data from diverse sources and how difficult that is to achieve with incompatible solutions. Have the CIO empower the CMO by showing how marketing technology choices are part of a holistic strategy and can add exponential business value if selected wisely.

Goal 3: Enable others

Anticipate integrating disparate systems when investing in infrastructure. “The information leader can make sure that everything a company does meets the overall enterprise requirements for security and data quality and that information architecture services multiple uses,” says Laura Wang, vice president, Marketing Operations, at Informatica. “Make sure that the information architecture is flexible and can be easily adapted for changing business conditions.”

Goal 4: Become indispensable

Find out the CMO’s 2014 agenda. Point out to the CIO the importance of understanding marketing’s requirements, goals, and business objectives. Identify solutions that meet not only marketing’s data-dependent initiatives but also your own standards. This can give you essential visibility into the marketing platform’s data management capabilities and gaps, providing you valuable early insights into future opportunities and obstacles.

Understand your own power as an information leader. Maintain alliances with both the CIO and the CMO, despite their sometimes adversarial relationship. Be a trusted advisor to the CMO on all things data, big or otherwise. At the same time, stay true to IT by encouraging the CIO to vocally support critical marketing initiatives while quietly financing core enterprise IT initiatives. Your actions will benefit the organization as a whole and, if done with finesse, your career as well.

Understand the CMO’s perspective by reading the article “5 ways to turn your CIO from biggest barrier to best friend” in the Potential at Work Community for Sales & Marketing Leaders.

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