CIO’s vs CMO’s – what’s the real problem?

Improve end-user workforce productivityEarlier this week I wrote a post titled “The relationship between the CIO and CMO?” where I reported on a survey from the CMO council (as reported by CIO.com).

In that survey, an interesting result was reported that shows a huge disconnect between the CIO and CMO when it comes to digital strategy.  A recap of the survey results:

  • 58% of CIO’s / IT Executives said they were leading the digital agenda at their company.
  • 19% of the CMO’s / Marketing Executives said that the CIO/IT Execs were leading the digital agenda.
  • 69% of the CMO’s / Marketing Executives said that they were leading the digital agenda.

Take a second to think those numbers through.

Looks like have a disconnect, correct?

The CIO thinks they are leading the digital agenda.

The CMO thinks they are.

And we wonder why there’s so much discord between Marketing and IT.

What’s the real issue?

In trying to understand the issue at play here, I took a look at the goals/projects that most CIO’s & CMO’s have reported are on their plate for 2010…and was surprised to find that they are actually similar.

Take a look at the CIO.com 2010 State of the CIO survey (PDF).  Page 12 of that survey has a listing of project IT Accomplishments in the coming year…the top 5 are:

  1. Improve end-user workforce productivity
  2. Lower the company’s overall operating costs
  3. Re-engineer core business processes
  4. Improve quality of products and/or processes
  5. Innovative new market offerings or business practices

Again…all good stuff.

Now…let’s take a look at what CMO’s see as their focus for the coming year.  The CMO Council reports in their Marketing Outlook for 2010 (link to PDF Executive Summary) that CMO’s are focusing on the projects for the coming year (top 5 reported):

  1. Digital marketing makeover – platforms, programs people
  2. Sales and marketing organization alignment
  3. Customer data integration and analytics
  4. Marketing performance measurement
  5. Lead qualification and harvesting system

Pretty interesting projects. B to B Magazine reports on these survey results and quotes a member of the CMO Council as saying:

“This year, we will see a significant shift in how companies integrate, manage and run all of their digital marketing operations,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council.

I think we are all seeing this shift happening in most organizations this year.

Take a look at the CIO projects and compare them to the CMO’s list. They actually kind of match up, don’t they?

The CIO has a goal/project of reducing costs…which can be at odds with what marketing is trying to do…but I don’t think budgetary issues are driving the CIO vs CMO debates.

So…it seems that both groups are working on similar projects, no?

Since we know that the underlying goals are fairly similar, what’s the real issue at hand here?

I think it comes down to two major issues: Communication & Leadership. More on both of those issues next week.

After I published the The Relationship between the CIO & CMO? and shared it on twitter,  Zane Zafrit made an interesting comment when he retweeted the link (thanks Zane!). Zane said: “They Talk?”.

Zane hit it on the head…that’s exactly the problem.   CMO’s and CIO’s don’t talk in most organizations…and its a shame.

Join me me next week when I look at the communication and leadership issue.  I’ll also share a story about how poorly a CIO and a CMO communicated and worked together…and how their relationship caused a massive failure in the organizations abilities to achieve their goals.


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  • http://www.zanesafrit.com Zane Safrit

    Eric! This is a great post because it simply, crisply, illustrates the disconnect.

    “I own the digital media agenda.”

    “No, I own it…”

    And both have their backs turned to the other and their headphones turned up loud.

    And you’re exactly right. It comes down to communication and leadership. Who’s listening? And who’s making the tough choice to say…You two need to sit down and listen because we depend on you both. To work together.

    All the best! I’ll be back next week!

    • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

      Thanks Zane.

      I’ve you’ve hit it on the head exactly. Noboby’s talking nor listening…and we need to change that.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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