“In today's digitally driven world, best in class companies cannot afford any level of discord between CMO and CIO offices.

In fact, the CMO and CIO should be closely aligned allies, challenging the organization to look to deliver customer relevance as a key route to increased revenue”, says Donovan Neale-May of the CMO Council.

Yet, their report The CMO-CIO Alignment Imperative: Driving Revenue through Customer Relevance, released in co-operation with Accenture, revealed the opposite situation.  From June to September 2010 they surveyed that more than 320 global marketing executives and 300 global IT and information systems executives to understand the challenges they both face in meeting market trends, challenges and expectations that influence their working together.

The study found that marketing and IT do not believe they are highly effective partners and are often struggling to achieve common goals.  Moreover, they feel ill prepared to capitalize on the opportunities new digital marketing technologies and channels have to offer. While marketers believe that customer insight and intelligence are critical to competitive advantage, they are finding it difficult to gain IT support for better integration and mining of disparate customer data that is often isolated and under-utilized across organizational silos.

Respondents noted that in the absence of top-down engagement in the digital reinvention of marketing, there is a noticeable disconnect between IT and marketing executives about who they believe is leading the digital strategy for their company. More than half (58 percent) of IT executives said they were championing, spearheading or shaping the digital agenda at their company, whereas less than one-fifth (19 percent) of the marketers said that the digital agendas at their companies were being shaped by IT executives. Instead, 69 percent of marketers said they were the ones in the driver's seat.

In fact, very few marketing and IT executives surveyed for the report believe their companies are prepared to exploit the new digital channels, despite their shared conviction that technology now underpins and shapes the entire customer experience.  Nearly one-third of marketers and IT executives alike said they are either having difficulty integrating critical analytics capabilities or believe they are not integrated at all.

Interestingly, a large majority of marketing executives (78 percent) and IT executives (68 percent) said that digital marketing is important to their organizations.  Yet, only one-third of marketers (35 percent) and one-fifth of IT executives (20 percent) said their companies are "heavily committed and invested" in digital marketing - although both groups agree that delivering more timely and relevant transactional, behavioral and customer insight data is at the top of the list.  Insufficient funding (cited by 59 percent of marketers) and a lack of understanding of the opportunity by senior management (cited by 46 percent of IT executives) are viewed as the primary constraints for those who were unprepared to capitalize on the opportunities.

Tim Breene, senior managing director of strategic initiatives at Accenture and chief executive of Accenture Interactive, considers the outcome of the survey as “a wake-up call to savvy CMOs and CIOs, who are looking for the next frontier of success” namely becoming a fully empowered digital enterprise, capable of forging and maintaining continuous, relevant relationships with its customers.

"Marketing is struggling to keep pace as new technologies that address functional, operational and go-to-market efficiencies and engagements are introduced, often circumventing IT in order to quickly deploy solutions that are not integrated into enterprise structures and systems," said Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council. "This desire to embrace the latest marketing innovations leaves IT in the position of having to fix, patch or repair point-solutions that have little impact on IT strategic goals and can detract from senior management's up-time and security directives."

Timing, resources and support are also key constraints to a more collaborative, fluid and profitable IT-marketing relationship, as both marketing and IT executives admit to following different schedules, priorities and paths to implementation.

The CMO Council, the BPI Network, and Accenture invite you to an interactive webcast, dedicated to furthering the discussion around this key point of synchronization.

Join them now Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 11:00 am EST (8:00 am PST) for a complimentary one-hour webcast that will delve deeper into the key findings of the report and will gather additional expert insights from experts and leaders in both the marketing and IT space.  Among the key issues to be discussed:

  • Are both marketing and IT ready to fully exploit new digital marketing and customer engagement channels?
  • Do we have the right talent, right technology, and right direction in place to be able to fully capitalize on digital channels?
  • While the mandate must come from the top, how and where can the CMO and CIO make an impact by collaborating from the bottom up?

To register for this webcast, visit https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/402476297.

For a deeper look into the call for C-Suite synchronization, starting with the alignment between CMO and CIO, visit http://www.cmocouncil.org/resources/form-cmocio.asp.  Once you have read the report, we welcome your feedback and discussion at www.cmocioalign.org.