Better Collaboration Between the CIO and CMO to Reach the Digital Consumer

This is the outcome of IBM’s new survey on the marketing industry. Chief marketing officers (CMO) and chief information officers (CIO) must join forces in order to connect with today’s consumer across new channels including mobile devices and social networks. Sixty percent of marketers point to their lack of alignment with the company's IT department as the biggest obstacle to reaching today's consumers.

IBM’s “State of Marketing 2012” surveyed more than 350 marketing professionals across a wide range of industries and geographies. With regard to the IT and Marketing challenge, most important findings are:

Marketing and IT Lack Integration:

  • While 48 percent of respondents believe that improved technology infrastructure or software will enable them to do more, nearly 60 percent indicated that lack of IT alignment and integration are significant barriers to the adoption of technology. This void further reinforces the notion that CMOs and CIOs must forge stronger, more aligned relationships that put the business in a position to succeed.

Marketing and IT Lack Unified Vision:

  • While 71 percent believe integration across owned, earned and paid channels is important, only 29 percent are effectively integrating these different channels. When asked why, 59 percent said that existing systems are too disparate to integrate these channels. This is most evident in areas such as mobile and social where only 21 percent and 22 percent of respondents run these tactics as part of integrated campaigns with the remainder conducting them in silos, discretely and on an ad hoc basis, a practice which inhibits their ability to deliver effective cross-channel campaigns.

Marketers Ignore Social Media Insights:

  • While marketers continue to experiment with social media channels, 51 percent are not using this data to inform decisions about marketing offers and messages. This may represent a missed opportunity for marketers looking to best meet the needs of today’s customer.

Marketers Fail to Turn Data into Action

  • When asked how they are using online visitor data, 65 percent of respondents are doing the basics, reporting and analyzing their data. Despite that number, only one third are using this data to target one-to-one offers or messages in digital channels and less than 20 percent are using this online data to make one-to-one offers in traditional channels.

Yuchun Lee, Vice President, IBM Enterprise Marketing Management Group said:

“This research indicates that as new channels continue to mature and consumer habits evolve, marketing and IT have no alternative but to emerge from their traditional silos and form a strong partnership that puts the business in a position to succeed. CMOs and CIOs, an ‘odd couple’ in some respects, will be the catalysts in forging this union and enabling the types of personalized multichannel brand relationships that today’s customers demand.”

Marketing orientation

The results in the survey as shown on Slideshare reveal additional interesting results. For instance the Agenda is to expand Marketing’s role to lead their organization’s customer experience by leveraging  technology seamlessly to differentiate and optimize their company’s purchasing cycle.

This goal fits ‘marketing orientation’, which occurs when everyone in the organization is constantly aware of its customers, what they want or need, how they can be competitive in relation to its customers and own (financial) goals.

Everything is marketing and marketing is everything, the result that IT and Marketing need to collaborate better seems to have a overarching challenge, which also points out to the second point in the agenda, namely “Remove silos and integrate”. Not only on an operational level but also on a common business goal, where the customer is primairy focus. Integration is more important than ever and IT’s alignment is key to marketing’s expanded ‘role’.

The search for customer centricity

Based on the aforementioned findings, the additional findings from the survey, the overarching challenge and goal is the search for executionable customer-centricity, where the whole organization can act on its mission and perhaps even its ‘strategic principle’ (a memorable and actionable phrase that distills the company’s corporate strategy into its unique essence and communicates it throughout the organization).

Some of the results accord on a previous done research together with Forbes called “Bringing 20/20 Foresight to Marketing”.

Mobile and Social

Key findings on mobile marketing:

  • With mobile marketing working well, marketers are now preparing to go beyond coupons and deliver mobile advertising that reaches customers on their smart phone and tablets;
  • 34 percent of respondents stated that in less than 12 months, they intend to deliver mobile ads, the highest rate of new marketing tactic adoption in the five-year history of the study and
  • 46 percent of respondents are currently using mobile web sites followed by 45 percent mobile applications, up from 40 percent and 44 percent respectively since last year.

Key findings on social media:

  • Marketers lack this same clear consensus on how to best utilize social media which will result in ongoing experimentation with these channels;
  • 26 percent intend to launch applications on 3rd party social network sites;
  • 24 percent plan to incorporate user-generated content into their social media efforts and
  • 23 percent are looking to launch social media ads or share links in email and web offers.

How do you experience the Marketing and IT dilemma?

By Gianluigi Cuccureddu

About the author:

Gianluigi CuccuredduGianluigi Cuccureddu, contributing editor, is an experienced writer specializing in innovation, open business, new media and marketing. He is Managing Partner of the 90:10 Group, a global Open Business consultancy. They help clients leverage social media as business accelerators to generate faster, better and cheaper business output. Social media integration is the new secret ingredient to achieve sustainable competitive advantage in delighting the clients’ customers while continuously driving their cost down.