IT and marketing too often work at cross purposes. Here's how to end bad behavior and drive more revenue.
The chief information officer and the chief marketing officer should share the new tile "chief revenue officer," and they should both be held accountable for reaching revenue targets.
This suggestion, offered by marketing expert Tim Pearson, gets to the heart of the need for better cooperation between IT and marketing. It's an imperative that's all the more urgent now that e-commerce and digital marketing have emerged as the big revenue drivers in so many industries.
Trouble is, CIOs and CMOs too often compete, says Pearson, author of the recent best seller, The Old Rules of Marketing Are Dead: 6 New Rules to Reinvent Your Brand and Reignite Your Business. As a consultant to Global 1000 firms and a former vice chairman, global managing partner and first-ever CMO at KPMG, Pearson has seen his share of bad behavior, from CIOs underfunding marketing-related projects to CMOs jumping from one trend to the next without setting priorities tied to revenue generation.
So just how do you promote a better IT-marketing working relationship starting from the top? Pearson offers this tech-oriented version of his six rules to InformationWeek's readers.
Rule 1. Cooperate, don't compete
It's easy to say that CIOs and CMOs should align around a common business strategy, but sharing control often feels too much like ceding control. Who's going to control the budget? Who's going to determine the timetable and the deliverables? What metrics can we agree upon? And who's going to make the presentation to the board?
Rather than letting these questions fester and become ongoing power struggles, CIOs and CMOs have to co-lead and agree on the most important priorities and responsibilities up front. That's happening more and more as marketing budgets grows and decisions get scrutinized by executive-, management- or even board-level committees. Oversight and accountability from the CEO, CFO or COO can help make it happen.
Rule 2. Embed full-time people into each others' team
IT should have marketing and communications people and marketing should have IT-savvy people. Large IT organizations often hire marketing people to help promote their agendas, according to Pearson. Similarly, marketing usually needs tech-savvy people to support data-centric digital marketing programs. This sort of hiring is already happening, but it should not be about promoting rogue initiatives or having experts who can question the other guys. Embedded experts can help breed familiarity, understanding and acceptance of the needs and constraints of the other team. These internal experts should participate in leadership meetings and act as liaisons to their counterparts.
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