Will CMOs Outspend CIOs? Wrong Question - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Government // Mobile & Wireless
11:31 AM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
Connect Directly

Will CMOs Outspend CIOs? Wrong Question

Instead of focusing on who controls those tech dollars, IT pros should focus on why companies need more tech in marketing and where they can fill those needs.

Remember Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat? In four clever words, he gave us a catchphrase for all the fear and promise and complexity of globalization. Same with Nicholas Carr's article "IT Doesn't Matter"--a three-word summary of all the fear about IT becoming a commodity.

The 2012 phrase of fear has been "the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO." Not quite as catchy, and almost no one cites the source of that prediction: Gartner analyst Laura McLellan. McLellan staked out her claim in two webcasts this year, predicting that CMO spending will pass CIO spending on technology within five years.

So I called McLellan. Whether her prediction comes true isn't that important for you. What is essential to any CIO's career is to understand the trend she's talking about. Here's what I learned.

The Basis

McLellan's core argument is that marketing's role in the company is expanding as e-commerce sales grow and social and mobile rise as customer channels. Marketing budgets are rising overall, technology as a share of those budgets is rising, while conventional IT budgets are growing more slowly. Ergo, those lines will cross and marketing tech will pass IT spending, she predicts, by 2017. (Most of McLellan's data pertains to high-tech companies, but she says it applies broadly.)

[ Want more on how IT's changing? Read 15 New Rules For IT To Live By. ]

Of the three big areas of marketing tech spending, first is e-commerce. Marketing often owns the e-commerce site, so more and more CMOs McLellan talks with have P&L accountability because of e-commerce.

Second is social and mobile. This used to be trying to get people on Facebook to click through and buy something. That approach hasn't worked so well. Now it's about mining social networks for new product ideas, building loyalty through social interactions, and offering self-serve customer information for support. It means building mobile apps to enhance products. And that means spending big money on software development, analytics, data management platforms, and raw computing power. And CMOs are buying in all those areas, often without IT's help.

The third spending area is around marketing effectiveness, i.e., campaign management and process management. Marketing hasn't gone through the efficiency and automation wringer that other company areas have.

Global CIO
Global CIOs: A Site Just For You
Visit InformationWeek's Global CIO -- our online community and information resource for CIOs operating in the global economy.
Marketing's Role Is Expanding

The old outlook was that marketing was in charge of promotions to get and keep customers. The new outlook is that "marketing's role is to drive growth," McLellan says, and that mandate includes product development, strategic planning, and customer service and interaction. It seems to me that McLellan paints a picture where marketing owns just about everything about the customer.

The Tension

The reason "CMO will outspend CIO" strikes a chord is because 1) it rings true about rising marketing tech spending, and 2) many CIOs know they don't have a good relationship with the CMO. InformationWeek research finds that more IT leaders give their relationship with marketing weak marks (29%) than for any other business area. With the CMO-CIO relationship, "my gut feel is it's not working in more places than it is," McLellan says.

My Takeaway

And yet, marketing desperately needs great technology if it's going to succeed. Marketing is in a trial-and-error mode, McLellan says, trying out new techniques for tasks like analyzing customer sentiment on social networks or trying to create a two-way interaction via mobile and social channels. Whether to automate their operations or analyze data, marketing teams are buying cloud software, giving it a short run, and dumping it if it isn't working. "Marketing has an internal innovation and R&D role that is brand new," McLellan says, adding: "Marketing's thinking might be 12-plus months ahead of where IT is."

Do IT leaders understand where all of this is headed? Listen to Procter & Gamble CIO Filippo Passerini's remarks at the InformationWeek 500 conference in September: "There is nothing more important for us than to be able to predict [customer response] when we launch a new initiative, a new brand, a new product, a new packaging." He thinks P&G can monitor online reaction to predict in-store sales well before sales data comes in. "We haven't cracked this nut yet. I believe this is the next stage of breakthrough opportunity."

Marketing is searching for answers. IT needs to be immersed in that search.

This isn't just about marketing; it's about digitizing more of our customer interactions. What used to be a phone call and a customer file now could include a customer's mobile app activity, tweets, Web searches, and purchase history. It's not about marketing winning and IT losing--it's about creating a new function across marketing, tech, product development, and customer experience that doesn't exist today. We haven't cracked this nut.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
1/26/2013 | 1:15:10 PM
re: Will CMOs Outspend CIOs? Wrong Question
I am already doing that part. However, no proper title (and remuneration) yet. Still waiting. :-)
User Rank: Apprentice
11/14/2012 | 12:29:24 PM
re: Will CMOs Outspend CIOs? Wrong Question
While itGs probably right that CMOs are driving the IT spend right now, CIOs better step up to the plate and use their leadership and consensus build skills (strengthen them if needed). Pbarry57001 is right that enterprise mobility is a complete game changer. Mobility is changing the enterprise from every angle and it is CIOs opportunity to lead the enterprise transformation to what we call the New Age Enterprise. All departments will benefit but this needs to be led centrally. CIOs need to create mobile policies, choose app development tools, MDM, security, etc. If their organizations donGt change, they are going to be left behind and become irrelevant.
User Rank: Apprentice
10/24/2012 | 2:03:08 AM
re: Will CMOs Outspend CIOs? Wrong Question
This makes a lot of sense to me but I would go further. We don't just need mobile Apps, the mobile device is at the center of the process from exploring thru buying and using. It connects the online and offline worlds throughout the process. It is no longer a funnel and it isn't about marketing to anybody, the focus is the user experience controlled by the mobile device. Analytics and marketing automation play a large role but I really think mobile is at the center.
User Rank: Apprentice
10/23/2012 | 11:14:49 PM
re: Will CMOs Outspend CIOs? Wrong Question
Gartner analyst McLellan is right on target with the notion regarding the rise of the CMO vis-+-vis IT spending. From my perspective as a Data Science consultant, it is much more likely that the marketing department will engage my services rather than the CIO. It is easier for marketing to best understand the relevance for maximizing the value of corporate data assets and explore ways for machine learning technology to play a leading role. My experience has been that the CIO is more likely to take the "not invented here" approach and engage in analysis/paralysis mentality which more often than not means nothing gets done.
Talent Analytics
Talent Analytics,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/23/2012 | 8:36:18 PM
re: Will CMOs Outspend CIOs? Wrong Question
Perfectly said (coming from the marketing side of the house).
Mike Kennedy
Dir of Marketing
Talent Analytics, Corp.
8 AI Trends in Today's Big Enterprise
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  9/11/2019
IT Careers: 10 Places to Look for Great Developers
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  9/4/2019
Cloud 2.0: A New Era for Public Cloud
Crystal Bedell, Technology Writer,  9/1/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Data Science and AI in the Fast Lane
This IT Trend Report will help you gain insight into how quickly and dramatically data science is influencing how enterprises are managed and where they will derive business success. Read the report today!
Flash Poll