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Global CIO: SAS Takes On IBM, As IT Meets Marketing

Analytics is changing marketing, as recent M&A activity shows.
As I argued last fall, IT has a lot of work to do to play a central role in this digital marketing revolution. The Accenture/CMO Council study revealed deep rifts between marketing and IT. Nearly two-thirds of marketers report problems implementing marketing tech, and many blame IT for not giving marketing high enough priority. Only one-fourth of marketers consult enterprise IT when selecting and deploying marketing software. In a column titled "IT & Marketing: Can't They Ever Get Along?", I highlighted the tug-of-war for control between CMOs and CIOs, citing this damning passage from the report:

"There’s also significant disagreement about who’s actually championing and spearheading digital marketing strategies within the enterprise. The vast majority of marketers see the CMO as a primary leader (69%) and only rarely consider the CIO and IT department (19%) important to defining digital marketing strategy. IT executives, on the other hand, most often point to themselves (58%) as the true champions of digital marketing, although they do frequently cite the CMO (51%) as well."

SAS and IBM clearly see the opportunity around a more data driven marketing world. The Accenture/CMO Council study shows that companies are struggling to figure out how to best exploit digital marketing opportunities, which means companies that do this right can gain a competitive edge.

IT leaders, though, must be aware that marketing pros are likely to consider them more or less irrelevant to this change. To change that attitude and get involved, IT leaders must build a stronger relationship with marketing than exists today. This megatrend toward digital, more accountable marketing is a golden opportunity for IT teams to be involved in driving revenue, but CIOs better not wait by the phone for marketing to invite them to the party.

chart: CIO priorities for improving marketing

We're writing about IT's role in marketing's new digital age in the April 11 issue of InformationWeek. If you have first-hand experience you'd like to share, drop me a note.