Forging a Successful CMO and CIO Relationship

Executive Insights3 minutes readJan 3rd, 2014

Not many CMOs would have predicted how fundamentally technology would change their profession and the skills required to do their job.  Technology has historically been the domain of IT that other groups within the business, including marketing, would leverage. Marketing would look to IT to utilize the company applications to input and track data, run reports, etc.

But, the Consumerization of IT has upset this paradigm. Technology is now at everyone’s fingertips opening new channels for communication and business with intuitive interfaces and price points that are affordable to consumers. CMOs are proactively looking to utilize the new social media and digital options to drive brand awareness and demand generation into sales.  This new dynamic requires the CMO and CIO to forge a new partnership leveraging each other’s skill sets to jointly meet the common goals of the company. According to IDC’s Market Predictions for 2014: CIO Agenda, in two years, over 70% of CIOs will change their primary role from directly managing IT to become an innovation partner.

In a recent interview with Leontyne Green-Sykes, US CMO of IKEA and Quincy Allen, SVP / Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer of Unisys, they discuss the relationships they have with their CIO counterpart, what skills they are acquiring to become successful, and how budgets should be allocated across marketing and IT.

Most CMOs and CIOs share common objectives that come from the convergence of the overall company’s goals.  By identifying these shared objectives, working together, and leveraging each other’s strengths, IT and marketing can be successful. “I think it has been very important for each of us in the partnership to be clear on their roles, but also be very open to learning from each other around what is the best way to execute against these initiatives,” says Leontyne of IKEA.

Marketers don’t need to understand all the specifics around the backend of technology, but they do need to understand the implications of it and trust IT’s expertise to deploy it so it is stable and secure.  IT needs to understand how the technology will be used by the business and also the consumer so that is provides the desired experience and doesn’t ultimately damage the brand.

“From a marketing standpoint, one of the things we need to get comfortable with is technology and inculcating the organization with more technical savvy people,” say Quincy from Unisys.  Unisys, like other companies, are leveraging the ingrained technology expertise of the millennials, recruiting them into their marketing organizations bringing with them their fresh skill set and ideas.

Although, CIO Magazine states that 68% of the total dollars invested in technology is directly controlled by IT, many organizations see marketing investment dollars on the rise to provide the increased funding identified to support the technology initiatives.  “I think some of the reasons that IT budgets start to migrate outside of IT is because of the perceived speed of IT deployment,” says Quincy. Everyone wants implementation fast without considering all of the implications that could bring disaster.

Watch the full video conversation with Leontyne and Quincy to hear how they are working together with their CIO peers and learning from each other.

Tags-   CIO CMO Executive Conversations IKEA Technology