CIOs and CMOs: Feuding in the C-suite

By Minda Zetlin, CIO |  IT Management

An Accenture survey of 252 CIOs and 405 CMOs shows that, despite IT's years of work toward business alignment, it remains far removed from marketing.

Apparently, more IT executives care about the IT-marketing relationship than marketers do: 77% of CIOs believe there's a need for alignment between marketing and IT, but only 56% of CMOs feel the same way. And few are happy with their relationships as they stand. Only 11% of CIOs and 13% of CMOs report that there's enough collaboration between the two disciplines in their organizations.

The survey results read like a heated argument. Only 51% of CMOs say the CIO understands marketing requirements, while 40% of CIOs counter that those requirements change too often.

Nearly half of CIOs, 49%, complain that marketing brings in technology without considering IT standards. But many CMOs like it that way: 45% want marketing employees to control data and content without IT intervention, and 35% say they'd prefer to buy cloud-based software and bypass IT.

The two groups also worry about completely different things. CIOs' top concern is IT complexity and integration. CMOs' main worry is that their companies aren't investing enough in digital marketing channels.

Frank Cutitta, research associate for the CSC Leading Edge Forum, says CIOs worry marketing will cut them out of the corporate ecosytem, while " CMOs see IT as the land of slow and no." He says the solution is for marketing to hire technology pros--as marketing departments everywhere are doing--and for IT to hire its own marketers.

There are organization-wide benefits to greater alignment between the two groups. A recent PricewaterhouseACoopers study showed that the companies where CIOs and CMOs have the best working relationship consistently outperform the average in revenue growth, margin growth and innovation.

Chris Curran, a PwC principal, says C-suite executives need to go beyond paying lip service to cross-departmental ties and develop "deep problem-solving relationships, which are the relationships that can have an effect in the marketplace."

Read more about leadership/management in CIO's Leadership/Management Drilldown.

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