Digital Disruption Demands Marketing and IT Departments Come Together
In the past, marketing meant taking out print ads in the local newspapers, running billboard and commercial spots, and embarking on well-intentioned email and mailing campaigns. But the one-way street of physical marketing has now given way to a new reality, with the customers holding the reins like never before, connected and empowered by technology and able to buy, review, and provide social feedback no matter where they are in the world. And making matters even more complicated, marketing now needs to take into account predictive analytics as well. Digital disruption is affecting everything, bringing digital and social media marketing further into the fold and blurring the lines and relationships between CMOs and CIOs everywhere.
The Deepening Bond Between CMO and CIO
In an article with CIO.com at the end of last year, Kathleen Schaub, Vice President of IDC's CMO Advisory Service, made the claim that "no CMO today can be a good marketer unless they become a good technologist." Her predictions are based on IDC's CMO report, which found, among other things, that by 2020, 50% of companies will be using cognitive computing to automate marketing, while 33% of CMOs will begin to outsource digital marketing via Marketing as a Service (MaaS).
The rapid adoption of tech, analytics, and automation in business marketing means that collaboration between Marketing and IT is going to be essential moving forward. Collaboration will be key as data from product development, digital web presence, and new applications and digital campaigns offered by third party vendors are all becoming integral aspects to the marketing day-to-day. This lead Forrester to name the relationship between CIO and CMO the most important business partnership in 2015, and to expand upon the importance of their customer-centric campaigns and attitudes in a more recent report.
Everybody Beginning to Embrace Digital
Of course, to those in the marketing trenches, none of this comes as news. Customers have been digitally redefining business operations for years now. The majority of businesses that have been successful in the past five to ten years have had to face digital disruption head on, and those that weren't eaten are the ones left standing (R.I.P Blockbuster). Disconnects between the traditionally innovative and fast-paced Marketing Department and the sometimes slow and cumbersome IT Department can mean disaster, and while not everybody is there yet, Forrester's report shows that a lot of businesses are finally starting to "get it". Nevertheless, many are still behind the curve.
There's an all-hands-on deck type of sense that needs to emerge across the board where digital is embraced by everybody, including CEOs and CFOs. IT is going to have to adopt more of an agile and predictive nature that understand what Marketing needs before they do, such as the ability to reconcile multiple streams of data and to scale operations easily, for example. Marketing is going to have to stay data-driven and responsive, as well as to adopt IT's language when helping to that department to visualize where technology can take you both.
Integrated Marketing is the New Reality
The simple fact is that in 2016, Integrated Marketing has essentially become too valuable to be escapable, and the only way that businesses are going to realize its full potential is by garner the relationship between your CIO and CMO and their respective departments. Agility is the name of the game, and that can only be achieved via the three C's: camaraderie, collaboration, and communication. Some companies have gone so far as to make sure that both C-level's offices are located on the same floor, while others encourage quarterly dinners hosted solely for the purpose of connecting management and leadership from each department. The boldest of organizations have merged the two titles to create one position embodying both CIO and CMO. While it may not be necessary to go that far, a lot of businesses are going to have to make changes to make sure that their departments are working interoperably as well as efficiently--or else face being left behind.
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