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IBM Study: The State of Marketing Hinges on the Relationship Between CMO and CIO




With the rapid pace of change of virtually everything these days, marketers can attest to this accelerated pace of learning and adjusting just about better than anyone. Actually there may be one area of business that is experiencing change at much the same rate, if not faster, and that’s those responsible for the technology side of the ledger.

IBM has been examining the state of marketing an the result is their new study called, fittingly enough, ‘The State of Marketing 2012‘. This information combined with a study that was done back in November of 2011 makes it clear that in order for CMO’s and CIO’s to succeed moving forward their needs to be an unprecedented air of cooperation. The chart below shows just how reliant CMO’s are on technology of all sorts

IBM’s Vice President, Enterprise Marketing Management, IBM Software Group, Yuchan Lee, helped to further define this developing relationship that is born of necessity.

The most successful of the 1,700 companies that we have interviewed have a true CMO and CIO alignment.

Both roles have changed. IBM helped redefine the role of CIO over 25 years ago and we are doing the same for the CMO. What we have found and try to impress upon our clients is that a partnership between is necessary to ensure execution and success in the future.

The State of Marketing report leads with the finding that ‘marketing must expand its role to lead their organization’s customer experience by leveraging technology seamlessly to differentiate and optimize their company’s purchasing cycle’. The quicker this happens via the alignment of CMO and CIO planning, vision and execution the faster companies can realize ROI on their efforts.

Lee expanded on this idea by saying, “We have seen companies with realized ROI within the budgetary year. Interestingly enough, the more broken they are the bigger the opportunity. That will come as great news to many. But, regardless of the current state of the organization the reality is that every day your company is not doing this it is leaving money on the table.”

This kind of incentive is what most companies want to see as the end result. Even in the best economy (which we are not currently in) no one wants to leave money on the table. Do you?

This alignment is the future. Lee stressed that the nearly $3 billion investment in the past few years that IBM has made to address the changing role of the CMO should be enough proof that this is very real and very present. That coupled with the findings that show that high performing companies execute alignment between marketing and technology better than those below them makes the point even more clear.

The most important area where this marriage of marketing and tech forces in an organization could mean the difference between success and failure in the very near future is the emerging mobile space. Lee stated that in the November report 65% of the respondents felt they were underprepared for mobile efforts. In the June survey only 41% feel they are keeping pace in the mobile space. Lee also cautioned that often these numbers can skew because no one really likes to admit they are not ready. In other words, that 41% number could be a little high. Here is another chart showing this condition.

So what’s the answer? First, it’s the realization that these two areas are basically joined at the hip. Once companies relax with that idea it’s important to make this true alignment happen across the entire organization so that it does not become a siloed event. As the CMO role is redefined moving forward it will be just as technical as it is a marketing role. It’s inevitable.

Do you agree? Do you see this in your organization? Can these functions exist in silos and still be successful or will their union be the linchpin for success in years to come?