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Accenture report finds digital driving new collaboration between CMOs and CIOs

BY Marianne Wilson

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.

For more information, click here.

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Changing of the guard at Express

BY CSA STAFF

Michael Weiss, who started with Express when it was an eight-store operation, will retire as CEO of the 600 plus-store specialty apparel company when its fiscal year ends on January 30, 2015.

He will be succeeded by David Kornberg, 46, president, who will assume the added role of chief executive. Weiss, 73, will remain with Express as nonexecutive chairman of the board.

Weiss started at Express in 1980, when it was an eight-store offshoot of Limited Brands, as merchandise manager. He became president in 1982, then CEO. He retired in 2004, only to return as chief executive in 2007 when Express was bought by Golden Gate Capital. Three years later, Express went public again.

“It’s been a joy and a privilege to lead this incredible business since its inception 34 years ago," Weiss said. “I will be leaving Express in the hands of a deep and talented management team, and I am confident that under David’s direction, the company will successfully evolve into an omnichannel brand.”

The change at the top comes at a pivotal time: In June, private-equity firm Sycamore Partners reported a 9.9% stake in Express and said it was interested in conducting due diligence that could lead to a buyout. Express has struggled recently, reporting a 10% drop in net sales and 11% drop in same-store sales for its first quarter.

Kornberg joined Express in 1999 and was named president in 2012. He began his career in the United Kingdom, at Marks & Spencer PLC. He briefly left Express in 2002 to serve as the VP of business development for Disney Stores and returned in 2003.

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Lowe’s to build customer support center in Indy

BY CSA STAFF

Lowe’s plans to build a customer support center in Indianapolis, a move that will create up to 1,000 new jobs by 2016.

The world’s second largest home improvement retailer plans to invest $20.5 million to purchase, renovate and equip a 140,000-sq.-ft. office facility at Intech Park 12, 6620 Network Way, on the northwest side of Indianapolis. The new customer support center will support stores and Internet sales, delivery services and repair services for Lowe’s customers across the United States. The facility is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2015 and will complement the company’s existing customer support centers located in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

"Indiana provides national companies like Lowe’s with the perfect building blocks for success," said Gov. Mike Pence. "We have taken all the parts required — a central location, low taxes and a skilled workforce — and assembled them perfectly here in Indiana. Indiana is a state that works for business because we have built the business climate companies like Lowe’s need for growth and success."

Lowe’s, which currently employs nearly 7,900 people in Indiana, plans to begin hiring for positions at the new customer support center immediately. EmployIndy will offer assistance during the hiring process. Available positions, beginning with the site director position, will be posted this week with additional positions to follow. Applications are accepted online at Lowes.com/careers.

"We chose Indianapolis because of the talented and experienced workforce who we believe can provide outstanding service to our customers," said Don Easterling, Lowe’s VP, contact center. "Indianapolis adds a strategic Midwest location to our network of customer support centers located in North Carolina and New Mexico. We appreciate the support of both state and local officials that helped make this a win-win project."

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Lowe’s Home Centers up to $5,500,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $100,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The City of Indianapolis will consider tax abatement and additional funding for the direct infrastructure associated with the facility at the request of Develop Indy, a business unit of the Indy Chamber.

"Internationally recognized companies, like Lowe’s, are choosing Indy as the place to expand because of our welcoming business climate, central location, and talent pool," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "Indy has seen tremendous business growth this year, and as the city’s unemployment rate continues to fall, we look forward to continuing this course."

With national companies like Lowe’s picking the state for their new operations, Indiana’s workforce growth in June was the largest in the nation. During the past year, Indiana has added more than 53,000 Hoosiers to its labor force. The state’s unemployment rate has declined 1.7% over that period, which is the ninth largest decrease in the nation.

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