by: Mary C. Long & Kim Niemi
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a shift taking place – one that not only requires CMOs and CIOs to work together in new ways, but one that may leave the CIO feeling a bit . . . threatened.
In the past, the chief information officer was responsible for anything that fell under the umbrella of technology, and the chief marketing officer dealt with all things “message.” Both execs would manage teams of their own, most often in typical silo fashion, where never the twain shall meet.
But thanks to the Internet, digital and mobile, technology is no longer separate from marketing – they’re moving closer together all the time, due to the need for personalized advertising and the big data that informs it all. Brands can no longer afford to segregate their top experts in these fields and expect to compete. CIOs that partner with CMOs will do best for their brands – and those that don’t, may be struggling to reinvent themselves.
Embracing the Change
It’s a strange new idea, but a necessary evolution. Everything has changed in the past few years, as consumers become increasingly obsessed with mobile accessibility, and broaden their social reach. The “path to purchase” is now influenced by brand-consumer relationships born of engagement, none of which happens by accident.
Increasingly tech-dependent (and –savvy) consumers require more complex marketing strategies, forcing CMOs to deal with more technology-related aspects than ever. Meanwhile CIOs must adapt to offer solutions for collecting and sorting of big data to inform those strategies and help move consumers through the purchase funnel.
Millennials in particular do thorough research online before making even small purchases, and they share info socially as well as in person, advocating for their favorite brands, especially when incentivized. Bottom line? Incentivize! Brands need to start courting this demographic now if they want retention as they hit their peak spending age in the next few years. Or risk missing out.
How will they do that? By using their CMOs to craft the appropriate messaging and choose the behaviors to incentivize via loyalty programs, and using their CIOs to create tracking and sorting algorithms of all the data created through each interaction.
But it’s not all about Millennials. Twenty-seven percent of all consumers are open to the idea of mobile tracking to receive location-based and time-sensitive offers (with another 23% indifferent – and likely swayable). All of this information can be collected using big data and gamification techniques. So there’s another obvious opportunity for collaboration, panicky CIOs!
PunchTab’s VP of PR & Communications, Robyn Hannah, spoke with Clark Buckner from TechnologyAdvice during GSummit in June and noted that Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms that might previously have been sold to the CIO are now being sold to CMOs, indicating a shift in how brands are getting to these platforms. This shift in marketing technology decision-maker is key.
When Buckner asked, “Why do you think there’s that shift to the CMO?” Hannah replied:
“Because it’s really about consumer engagement, retention, the path to purchase, and so those are all things that are falling under the CMO stack. Brand managers and digital marketers are looking for new, creative, enhanced ways of reaching consumers, with more authenticity and more relevant messaging and offers. So it’s now shifted.”
But don’t count the CIO out yet! Where the CMO should be a driving force when it comes to what kinds of new technology brands should be adopting to help attract a targeted audience and guide them along that path to purchase from prospect to paying customer, the CIO is needed for the very technical, infrastructure type tasks that allow that to happen – and they can be key in the analysis as well.
So there’s room – and a need for – a freer dialogue between departments, but as Hannah notes, not everyone is embracing this new direction:
“I think a lot of large organizations are still suffering with silos. Smart brands are looking for ways to break down those silos and better communicate across the board.”
From Silos to Bridges
Of course, continuing to work independently of one another in those metaphorical silos might be an easy habit to fall back into, but the better solution is to break down even more silos and open up the lines of communication across all C-level teams.
Imagine taking the feedback that customer service gets and plugging that info back into product and development (as was always intended, of course – but doesn’t always happen). When you break down the silos and let everyone communicate with each other and collaborate, you allow for creation of better products and services. If you keep everyone separate, you’re missing a huge opportunity to gather and apply information that can elevate your brand.
Hopefully the CMOs and CIOs will set the example and the domino effect can continue from there. It’s happening either way, folks – so the time to embrace it is now.
How are your CMO and CIO approaching this shift and making it work for your brand?
*Image by Megan Ann.
*This post originally appeared on Commpro.biz.