The ultimate power couple – A marriage of the CIO and CMO.

After spending a considerable amount of time at CIO and CMO summits over the past year, I began to ponder where the boundaries lie between the role of the Chief Information Officer and Chief Marketing Officer. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that securing a seat at the board requires a very transferable set of skills. So could these two C-level executives join forces and merge skills to become a more powerful entity?

Previously, there’s been a common practice that most companies follow. First, the CIO will obtain and manage the data available then, the CMO will work on the meaning and interpretation, turning numbers into valuable consumer insights. As customer numbers go up, and with them, customer demands, there’s an urgency to this process. The CMO and CIO are finding new ways to work together to create more rapid, yet accurate, insights to help target consumer behaviours correctly.

Let’s take another step back and really look at why this is happening. Take me for example. I am one of billions of consumers stuck in a digitally obsessed world. Everything I do is accessible, there are apps that tell you where I am, what I am doing and who I am with. Sound creepy? Well, most of us are willingly giving up this information to businesses to sell or, transform into insight. Imagine how difficult it is for the decision makers to target each and every one of us efficiently, satisfying our personal needs?

According to Gartner, by 2017, the CMO will actually be spending more on IT than the CIO… So who is wearing the trousers here, and how long will it be before one doesn’t need the other? In any relationship there are bound to be some conflicts and for these two, disagreements stem from a want of different things. The CMO is under pressure from the consumer to deliver at speed but the CIO, cares more about delivering accuracy and this takes time. So, would combining these roles neutralise the conflicting priorities and make it simpler? A CMIO?

In some companies now, the CEO is introducing a third person, The Chief Experience Officer. This is an executive responsible for the overall experience of an organisation’s products or services. Their duties seem to be pretty similar to those the CMO is expected to manage, such as setting the direction for the customer experience and being accountable for the outcomes. In this new format, the CMO would typically report to the Chief Experience Officer. I for one can’t work out the hierarchy… So can the employees?

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