Companies across industries recognize that Big Data has become a key component in strategy development. But, as they decide how to incorporate these newfound insights with their current methods, many companies have also discovered that C-level collaboration is essential for success. While CMOs and CIOs are often believed to be fundamentally at odds, both now agree that Big Data presents an opportunity for marketing and IT to come together in an effort to nurture customer centricity.

The CMO Council's recent study, "Big Data's Biggest Role: Aligning the CMO & CIO," explores Big Data's potential as a key competitive differentiator and how marketers and IT executives will drive the implementation of a more customer-centric business culture. Conducted in partnership with SAS, the survey polled 237 senior marketers and 210 senior IT executives, revealing that, according to 40 percent of marketers and 51 percent of IT professionals, Big Data now stands as the primary factor in achieving an enterprisewide customer-centric culture.


The following statistics examine where marketers and IT professionals currently stand in their journey toward collaboration and customer centricity:

  • While 61 percent of marketers and 60 percent of IT executives agree that Big Data brings both obstacles and opportunities to the table, 52 percent of marketers and 45 percent of IT executives believe functional silos block the enterprisewide aggregation of data, thus making it difficult to achieve true customer centricity.
  • Forty-one percent of marketers and 39 percent of IT executives say they are aligned with one another, yet both admit there are challenges to executing priority projects. But, no matter the difficulty, 85 percent of marketers and 85 percent of IT executives agree that this relationship is critical for success.
  • When it comes to departmental alignment, 26 percent of marketers look for a strategic partner that will collaborate on initiatives to advance customer centricity. Marketers also believe the greatest opportunity comes from the ability to better gather data from across the organization (63 percent).
  • IT professionals look to marketers as their partner in advancing analytics and data-driven decision-making throughout the enterprise (62 percent). However, 62 percent of IT executives would also like marketing to approach them earlier in the process to collaborate more on strategy, not just platform selection and deployment.
  • Thirty-one percent of marketers and 33 percent of IT executives agree that corporate culture must put the customer at the center of all processes and business decisions, yet this and other key attributes of customer centricity have only been partially adopted.
  • Forty-eight percent of marketers and 44 percent of IT executives are only moderately confident in their company's ability to reach and engage with the customer at its core touchpoints because of the lack of clear ownership of the customer.
  • For organizations that believe they have total partnership between marketing and IT, the CEO is the primary owner of the customer, not sales. Both marketing (42 percent) and IT professionals (31 percent) at such companies are highly satisfied with the organization's ability to reach and engage the customer.
  • When determining customer-centric responsibilities, marketers typically develop both customer engagement strategy (80 percent of marketers/80 percent of IT) and the insights into customers and customer requirements (84 percent of marketers/65 percent of IT), while IT focuses on aggregating and delivering data from across the organization (64 percent of marketing/65 percent of IT).

Key takeaway: CMOs and CIOs have the power to spread customer centricity throughout the enterprise, yet many note that their company lacks the centralized leadership necessary to keep the relationship between marketing and IT focused. However, while these two departments appear eager to work together, they often find themselves on opposing sides when it comes to budget, ownership, and governance. To succeed, marketing and IT must grab onto this new opportunity and become partners as they analyze the data and adopt the technologies that will advance their customer-centric goals, enhance customer engagement, and boost efficiency throughout the organization.