"IT is no longer just a cost center that makes sure the plumbing's working and the lights are on," he says. "CIOs can't be involved with everything, but they're the ones who connect the ones and zeros with the business as a whole."
A CIO-CMO Partnership is Key
When a video marketing campaign goes viral, we all jump for joy. Right? You may have reason to cheer, but only if you've done due diligence, something easier said than done.
Online video, social media and mobile computing have fundamentally changed the way companies interact with their customers. To harness the value of these innovations, CIOs and chief marketing officers must attain a new level of collaboration.
If the goal of a viral video campaign, for example, is to attract a surge of attention, traffic and even revenue, then the CIO and CMO both need to be in on the planning process. There would be no greater failure than to be ill-prepared when your video goes viral, says Jason Ricci, CIO of the Energy Foundation. But many times "there's just not enough coordination between the CIO and the marketing side," he says.
Kony-level social outreach work pushes both IT and marketing out of their comfort zones and forces them to adopt a more flexible approach, says analyst Nigel Fenwick of Forrester Research. But often both departments hesitate to reach out to each other because they think they're incompatible.
"IT thinks marketing is an art, not a science," Fenwick says. And IT is often accused of using technobabble. "IT staff need to learn the language of marketing in order to be taken seriously by marketers."
Another challenge CMOs and CIOs face is that IT tends to work on a much longer schedule. Marketing works in campaign cycles, which have become faster and faster, adapting to the pace of social media. IT is used to moving more cautiously, fearing a systemwide failure.
In the age of the empowered consumer, companies get almost constant feedback from consumers. But the real value of this, says Fenwick, "is being able to connect the dots and drive value for the business."