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Tom Hoffman | March 6, 2012

A Conduit for the CMO-CIO Divide


Rising investments in marketing automation have resulted in increasing overlap between the roles of the CMO and the CIO. Gartner predicts that by 2017, CMOs will be spending more on IT than CIOs. Indeed, a growing number of CMOs and other business leaders are circumventing the IT organization when acquiring technology to support their function in order to move faster on deployments and avoid lengthy architectural and compliance reviews.

Meanwhile, industry observers say that a growing number of CIOs are trying to muscle in to seize control of a growing portion of marketing responsibilities as they become more involved in social CRM and other marketing automation efforts. As CMOs and CIOs become more active in one another's turf, hostilities between the two camps are mounting.

In talking with executives from both camps and in other roles about the evolving relationship between CMOs and CIOs, I've come across some interesting observations. This includes a discussion I had with Michael Zuckerman, who recently became the CMO at Knoa Software.

As Zuckerman sees it, the growth of marketing automation has led to an increase in disparate systems being put into use within many organizations. For decision-makers to get at the heart of the vital customer information that reside in these systems, analytics tools are needed. This, says Zuckerman, is one place where the CMO and CIO can find common ground for collaboration.

In Zuckerman's experience, the IT organization has focused on building out the BI front ends for these systems while he and members of the marketing team concentrate on domain expertise.

"I think the partnership is a good one," says Zuckerman. "I see it as a benevolent relationship and mutually beneficial."

What are some other steps that CMOs and CIOs can take to bridge the growing divide and work together in a mutually advantageous environment?


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