Accenture report finds digital driving new collaboration between CMOs and CIOs

New York -- Chief marketing officers and chief information officers are working more collaboratively than in the past to take advantage of digital opportunities, but they remain at odds on issues involving how to drive integrated digital marketing solutions for their customers, according to a new study by Accenture.

The report, “Cutting Across the CMO-CIO Divide, reveals  a growing collaboration between CMOs and CIOs – 43% of marketers and 50% of IT leaders think their relationship with the other has improved over the past year.

“All members of the C-suite, particularly CMOs and CIOs, understand the need to collaborate as they transform their businesses into digital businesses,” said Mike Sutcliff, group chief executive, Accenture Digital. “But in order to ensure the success of digital marketing campaigns, and the company’s overall digital strategy, the marketing and IT functions must realize that digital is driving a new wave of collaboration as marketing becomes increasingly enabled by technology.”

According to the report, finds that marketing and IT departments are aligned on the importance of marketing IT, with 52% of respondents ranking it at the top of their priority lists. Both parties also agree on the top five marketing IT priorities: customer experience, customer analytics, social media, corporate website, and other web development.

But challenges persist. For example, 40% of CMOs believe their company’s IT team does not understand the urgency of integrating new data sources into campaigns to address market conditions – an increase of 6%  from last year’s survey.

Additionally, 43% of CMOs now say that the technology development process is too slow for the speed required for digital marketing, up from 36% last year. For their part, CIOs are increasingly frustrated by shifting goals and a perceived lack of vision from their marketing counterparts. Forty-three percent of IT executives said that marketing requirements and priorities change too often for them to keep up. Also, 25% now believe that CMOs lack the vision to anticipate new digital channels, compared to just 11% who expressed that view last year.

“Getting this relationship right is critical for delivering seamless, omnichannel experiences for customers,” said Brian Whipple, senior managing director of Accenture Interactive. “The CMO needs to develop a vision and strategy for how customers experience the brand while the CIO needs to deliver the tools and technology to bring those experiences and campaigns to life. Together, they need combined processes and perhaps even organizations to make this happen. If one works without the other in a silo, customers will feel the impact and switch brands.”

The study suggests four actions CMOs and CIOs should take to strengthen their alignment, pursue customer relevance at scale, and improve business performance:

• Investing time in establishing a digital vision and collaborating with each other to bring the vision to life;

• Unifying around the customer experience to create a truly digital business;

• Rethinking the operating model to integrate customer-focused skills throughout the company; and

• Orienting a marketing model and budget that aligns with a new ecosystem of marketing services.

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