no By the|G|™ on flickrI read an article over on titled Should the CIO Head Up the Marketing Dept As Well? that left me speechless (for a minute at least).

Initially, I wanted to believe the author was asking whether the CIO should head up marketing technology, but I  don’t think that’s what the author was asking. I really do believe he was proposing that the the CIO lead marketing. In other words…should the CIO also be the CMO.  Note: a thought has crossed my mind that the article was written as link bait…and it worked.

Even thought marketers use technology a great deal today, marketing is about much more than technology.  We talk a lot about the CIO and the IT group being more business focused, but this is more than business focused…this is the CIO taking over a completely new function.

Now….I come from the world of IT. I grew up in telecom and IT and am a technologist….but I know enough to know that there are very few CIO’s who would want the role of CMO. Even more, I don’t know many CIO’s that have the skill-set to be a CMO.

The marketing group in most organizations is a technology driven organization.  The CIO and the CMO should be close…but I think the two roles and groups are just too different to say that a CIO should also be the CMO…or vice versa…the CMO take on the role of the CIO.

How many IT professionals would be happy with the news that the CMO was taking on the role of the CIO?   Very very few. There would probably be a mutiny if that were to happen. So why, then, would an IT professional think the CIO should take over the marketing group and functions?

IT and Marketing are different functions with different foci.  Sure…marketing teams are becoming more technology-centric, but that doesn’t mean that marketing does what IT does nor vice versa. Just because a CIO and the IT team helps marketing with their technology and technology efforts, that doesn’t make the CIO a marketer.

The CIO has as much business being in charge of the marketing group as the head of the facilities team has being in charge of the finance group.

Think of it this way – you helped the local hospital implement a technology system for the Operating Room.  You spend days, weeks and months working on that system.  You know it inside and out….you are the expert at the system that the doctors and nurses use while the OR. In your time working on the system, you’ve picked up some terminology from the doctors/nurses and you’ve even watched a few surgeries.    You become very comfortable talking about the OR, surgeries and the OR technology platform.  But….does that mean you should declare yourself a doctor and start operating? No.  You’d be laughed at, fired and perhaps even put in jail.

So…the answer to the question Should the CIO lead Marketing? is a resounding NO.

Image Credit: no By the|G|™ on flickr