The symbol Forrester uses to describe CIO-CMO relations in 2015 says it all

Last year we charted their ups and downs, their good times and bad times, and wondered if there was any chance they could make it work in the long term.

No, I am not talking about The Bachelor. I’m talking, as is Forrester Research, about CIOs and their marketing counterparts, the CMOs.

As the analyst firm’s Cliff Condon explains in a blog post published not long before the holidays, things look and sound a lot rosier than they did when the prospect of CMOs controlling more of the overall IT budget reared its head. This resonates with what I heard on the ground here in Canada. When we convened roundtables on this subject, both CIOs and CMOs sounded less adversarial than they were simply challenged to properly define and meet each other’s distinct needs.

Based on the research in the infographic below, we may only be at about the half-way point in orchestrating the ideal collaboration between these two functions (the loving heart near the top notwithstanding). I found this comment from Condon rather interesting:

The CMO of 2015 must take charge of customer-centric innovationstarting with mobile and expanding out into every technology-enabled channel,” he wrote. “In a world where customers can switch brands in an instant, the CMO must reach out through innovative products, processes, and connections to build a deeper, more loyal set of customer relationships. Unfortunately, only 22% of CMOs focus on customer retention as a top priority.”

If the CMOs don’t see this as Job One, who is? Maybe sales executives, who would rather keep an existing customer happy than find a new one. That said, I suspect part of the problem is that so many organizations are still mired in database messes where pulling together everything the organization collectively knows about a given customer is next to impossible. It’s probably tempting to focus instead on more short-term tactical things like a particular marketing campaign, but CIOs are equally unlikely to own customer retention because they have so many other things to do.

If, on the other hand, they saw building a strategy to assist CMOs in this area (without giving up all the credit, of course), 2015 could be the year this particular partnership flourishes on a grand scale.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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