[BE] Midmarket CMO Blog

Nurturing a necessary bond

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Successful digital transformation hinges on CIO-CMO collaboration

Marketing is the sprinter racing to the finish line, and IT is the sumo wrestler guarding the gate.

Walt Carter, who previously managed responsibilities of both the CIO and CMO seat in his previous role at Atlanta-based Generation Mortgage Company, aptly illustrated the current push-pull struggle between marketing and technology departments grappling with digital transformation.

Many marketing leaders in the midmarket B2B space contend it’s not a direct intention to build their own technology organizations within marketing, but IT is typically spread too thin and taxed by regulatory mandates to respond at the rapid rate needed to keep pace to respond to today’s digital savvy customers.

As the saying goes, the struggle is real.

With the big data explosion funneling massive amounts of information into both B2B organizations – many of whom are just catching up to the rates at which B2C companies have been contending for some time – extraction and management of that data to drive business decisions [read negotiate for budget allocation] emerges as a major point of contention in warming alliances between the CIOs and CMOs.

Data Scientist Omar Abdala asserts that though every enterprise is different, it’s “likely that ownership of various data programs was assigned haphazardly” with marketing owning social media and mobile while financial data transactions are managed by the CIO.

But even midmarket organizations like Massimo Zanetti Beverage, a grower, manufacturer and seller of coffee to international consumer brands, have limited budgets for luxuries like a data scientist to process and funnel useful information across technology and marketing organizations.

Companies like Generation Mortage and SRS Distribution, a roofing distribution holding company with over 150 locations in 39 states, have brought responsibilities of marketing and technology under the purview of one role.

Robbie McDonald, who recently assumed the dual role of CIO and CMO, said he must identify meaningful ways to connect and engage with contractors to help them run their businesses more effectively and efficiently, find (and be found by) new customers, increase their revenue and profitability.

“Helping our customers build their business, helps us build our business,” McDonald explained. “How can I help make our buyers more sticky to us? What can we do to make their jobs easier? It really means putting myself in their shoes and considering what we can do to make their lives easier.”

Forrester VP Sheryl Pattek, who’s current role focuses on serving CMO professionals, says she’s seen companies periodically switch up their CMOs and CIOs, which helps IT better sell themselves internally and understand the customer-experience point of view. Marketing, in turn, becomes more tech savvy.

Increasingly and inevitably, marketers across all industries are tasked with charting the course for innovation through digital transformation. It’s time for IT to lace up their sneakers and join the race.

San Antonio | October 23 — 25, 2016

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