The merger of the CIO and CMO functions and what it means?

Authored by Ameex Technologies on 07 May 2019

The digital world increasingly dominates the world of business and marketing. Frequently used terms such as e-commerce implementation, digital disruption, the Internet of Things (IoT), cyber threats, programmatic marketing, big data, AI, and others seem to dominate discussions today.

All of these terms are a frequent topic for both CIOs and CMOs around the world, calling for unprecedented levels of collaboration between these two operative leadership positions. According to a 2018 Forrester report, over two-thirds (68%) of businesses around the world look at their digital transformation as a top priority over the coming years. 

And as the business and retail environment continues to evolve, customers are expecting a seamless transition from online to the offline in-store experience. This has led the CIOs and CMOs to collaborate and adopt innovative digital-forward strategies, to keep their organization relevant in an ever more technologically advancing world. 

Cio and CMo merger Ameex Technologies

The synergy of the CIO and the CMO 

The CIO's and CMO's duties and functionalities are undergoing a transformation that is resulting in a synergistic outcome with technology being the enabler to provide that seamless and unparalleled user experience to the customer.

On the one hand, marketing is bringing forth its strengths such as customer insights, brand strategy, creative development, and storytelling capabilities. But as the customer is becoming more digital, marketing needs to undergo a severe transformation, becoming more and more dependant on data and technology. 

IT, on the other hand, cannot be focused on technology alone and needs to look at the 360-degree view of what it can enable and deliver. A robust Digital Experience Platform that is scalable and allows for integrations leading to Personalization, Chatbots, Location-based targeting, virtual assistants and connected devices which are enablers to marketing and therefore customer experience.

All of these, naturally bring the two fields closer together. The traditional org chart, however, is now posing more problems than providing any solutions to this change. The separation of the CIO and the CMO, as well as their respective fields, will generally lead to turf battles over credit and budget, instead of finding a solution that benefits everyone. 

A recent Forrester report shows that while 72% of businesses say improving customer experience is their top priority, only 63% of marketers prioritize implementing technology investments that will help them reach this goal!

The solution lies in the synergistic merger of the CMO and CIO which will drive the rapid adoption of marketing technology, each guiding the other through their area of expertise. It’s almost like the front end and back end coming together to give that "WOW" experience to today's customer.

The Challenges Facing CIOs and CMOs

Each of these two roles will have their set of challenges going forward. When it comes to CIOs, probably the most important one is to create an omnichannel strategy that can satisfy the customer's expectations. Statistics show that 60% of customers still prefer to interact with the product in-store, instead of doing everything digitally. It means that an offer to order online and pickup-in-store may, in some cases, provide more benefits than regular mail delivery. 

Reports also show that the adoption of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), or voice search could increase marketing efforts. 21% of customers say that they would be more inclined to purchase if they could experience the product via AR. Similarly, 40% say that they would use voice-controlled devices such as Siri, Alexa, or Google Home in their customer journey. 

CIOs need to figure out and embrace the right kind of platform-based strategy that can offer the best customer experience and improve their speed-to-market capabilities. The CMO, on the other hand, needs to utilize the Agile and DevOps methodology to increase collaboration and bridge the gap between tech and business.

They need to provide a seamless experience both online and offline. To do so, they need to identify the brand's core values and redefine them concerning what the customers believe to be of value. By making use of data and analytics, CMOs will have to identify the best products, technologies, and solutions that customers expect from them.  

CIOs and CMOs need to work together and streamline the entire customer experience by making use of technology. Being at the forefront of cloud technology and AI, CIOs can aid CMOs in better use of customer data and provide enhanced customer experience, both online and offline. Without this tight-knit collaboration, it's unlikely that an organization will be able to withstand this digital transformation of the business environment and risk becoming obsolete. 

Setting Mutual Principles Between Marketing and Tech

To succeed in this endeavour, CIOs and CMOs need to establish a series of core mutual principles that both departments will follow. 

Complete Focus on the Customer Experience - While IT and marketing may have seemingly different objectives, their attention should always be squarely on the customer experience and how their actions affect this bottom line. Without aiming their attention on this focal point, teams may end up chasing different objectives, but missing their desired marketplace impact, altogether.  

Becoming One - Breaking the traditional org chart may be one of the most difficult challenges that CIOs and CMOs will have to face during this transformation. Nevertheless, they have to commit themselves and their teams to the same goal and share in the success. To do so, they no longer have to look at themselves as different entities, but part of the same team with no friction, vertical allegiances, or competition, and by promoting seamless cross-departmental collaboration. 

Promoting Simplicity - There are hundreds of choices when it comes to the technologies, applications, and vendors to use in this process. But this seemingly endless opportunity can also bring with it unwanted and unneeded complexity. It will only end up bogging down operations. For an efficient digital transformation process, keeping the solution as simple as possible is incremental to success. 

Practice Makes Perfect - Such a change will never go as initially anticipated and other problems and issues are sure to arise along the way. Similarly, there are numerous ways that an organization can take, but it won't be in anyone's interest to plot the perfect course. You merely need to get started and work your way from there - not get continuously stalled by the many opportunities that await. 

Alongside Ameex Technologies, you can start on this journey of digital transformation and make the merger between CIO and CMO seamless and least disruptive. Contact us today and let's figure out the best path forward together.