CMOs vs. CIOs: Contention in the Ranks?

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Mobile Engagement
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Like milk and cookies or peanut butter and jelly, in an idyllic world, the CMO and CIO walk hand-in-hand. But, as mobile technology becomes an undeniable player across industries, research predicts that CMOs will soon spend more on IT than the CIO, causing much tension throughout the enterprise. Such changes are destined to reshape the dynamic within many companies, thus posing a threat to the customer experience as the C-suite struggles to balance power with strategy.

Like milk and cookies or peanut butter and jelly, in an idyllic world, the CMO and CIO walk hand-in-hand. But, as mobile technology becomes an undeniable player across industries, research predicts that CMOs will soon spend more on IT than the CIO, causing much tension throughout the enterprise. Such changes are destined to reshape the dynamic within many companies, thus posing a threat to the customer experience as the C-suite struggles to balance power with strategy.Netbiscuits' recent "CMOs vs. CIOs: The Fight for Mobile Web Strategy" report, conducted in partnership with Vanson Bourne, indicates that more than 25 percent of people are spending more than six hours per day on the mobile Web, highlighting the channel's growing power within the market. Yet, while 76 percent of consumers will abandon a company's mobile website if it's difficult to use, only 50 percent of CMOs see testing as "critically or very important to improving customer experience"--a sentiment in clear contention with the technologically oriented CIO. The study, which surveyed 300 CIOs, CMOs, and other C-level executives across the U.S. and U.K., examines the internal conflicts brought upon by emerging mobile Web strategies and the different motivations driving each department's desire for ownership.

"As customer experience becomes more intertwined and contingent upon on technical prowess, the CMO and CIO have been experiencing a gradually more contentious C-level suite," says Daniel Weisbeck, CMO and COO at Netbiscuits. "Instead of getting frustrated with each other, the two need to zero in on an approach to deliver a joint-vision, a task that will be challenging, but ultimately, rewarding. Linking the two offices will have a positive impact on everything from user engagement to revenue. Uniting both parties will create a sound strategy for achieving customer satisfaction, retention and conversion."

The key findings of this survey highlight the disconnection between the CMO and CIO and how this lack of cooperation might impact the customer experience:

- Seventy-one percent of U.S. companies give CIOs at least partial control of mobile Web strategy, while CMOs are at least partially in control at 48 percent of companies.
- While more than 50 percent of CMOs say they should have more control of mobile Web strategy, only 38 percent of CIOs think they should have more control. Yet, while 18 percent of CIOs say CMOs should have more control, only nine percent of CMOs say CIOs should have more control.
- Though 23 percent of CIOs believe that a joint approach is desirable, and 30 percent of other C-level executives agree, only nine percent of CMOs believe they should relinquish more control of mobility to CIOs.

While CMOs focus on improving aspects of the customer experience, CIOs are much more aware of the technical challenges that are bound to arise when delivering some of the CMO's requirements. For instance, 53 percent of CMO respondents cited 'provide customers with more channels for interaction' as a critical factor, compared to just 35 percent of CIOs, and 44 percent of CMOs said 'improving customer online engagement' was critical, as opposed to 29 percent of CIOs. However, 86 percent CIOs are more concerned with the bottom line revenue expansion from improving sales via mobile platforms. For each department, differing priorities remain predominant, and while each has the best intentions at heart, both teams must reconnect and rekindle an atmosphere conducive to collaboration. Companies are large entities comprised of smaller parts that must work in unison in order to keep the enterprise on track.

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