The Next Frontier: The CMO + CIO Connection

Without Mission Control, We Have No Mission.

When I think about the roles of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), I’m often struck by how they’re still a bit alien to each other. It’s like that old Mars and Venus analogy – both exist in the same system, but follow their own distinct path. 

In reality, these two should be working closer together, as the end goals of the CIO and CMO are often more interconnected than they would first appear. 

CIOs are critically focused on the technology and IT infrastructure across an organization and how well these solutions benefit the organization. CMOs are tasked with maintaining a wide array of technology to surface company data and activate campaigns – also to benefit the organization’s overall goals. 

Yet historically, these two departments have often worked in silos and only appear in each other’s orbit when there’s a collective job to be done: a new marketing solution to implement, a privacy policy to refresh, or a website maintenance issue to tackle – just to name a few. 

The Need for IT and Marketing Alignment

As marketing becomes more technologically advanced, the opportunity for collaboration between marketing and IT becomes more apparent – and more critical. Account Based Marketing, lead generation tools, automated digital campaigns, personalized content, attribution, and AI are all means and methods that form the modern marketer’s universe.

And while individually these solutions can appear individually advantageous – without the proper architecture and planning – they can create a martech black hole: undecipherable data, disconnected customer journeys, and overlapping marketing touchpoints that do little to drive real results. 

In defense of marketers, I will say they’re often faced with high expectations to drive results as quickly as possible. This forces leaders to select whatever solution is the brightest and shiniest on the horizon, without much thought for the next generation of use cases.

And in support of IT teams, it’s not uncommon for them to exist in a world where software is selected in departmental vacuums, leaving them to implement without much input, and reactively respond to issues down the line. 

Regardless of these common challenges, what happens when Marketing and IT departments operate on different wavelengths? 

  • Opportunity cost due to overlapping or incomplete solutions 
  • Legal risks if software doesn’t adhere to compliance standards
  • Breakdowns in efficiency across teams and departments
  • Poor prioritization of projects or initiatives
  • Wasteful activities (such as drawn out implementations)
  • A bad customer experience 

How to Unify the Enterprise Universe

So, with all of this in mind, how is it possible for both marketing leaders and IT leaders to help launch their organization into the future? For starters, it’s critical to consider how solutions not only impact one department, but how they can facilitate shared work and outcomes along a wider spectrum of teams and tasks. 

Because, in addition to the complexity of technology, marketing leaders are being asked to collaborate and contribute to initiatives across the enterprise – seamlessly. From promoting HR programs, to enabling Sales with personalized content, to maintaining customer and partner relationships, marketing needs solutions that equip and enable cross-departmental work.

And for IT leaders, challenged with keeping up with rapidly evolving technology and digital transformation, collaboration with other departments is key to helping CIOs make informed decisions that drive business goals, enhance user experience, promote efficiency, and maximize the return on investment. 

What does the future look like if CMOs and CIOs join forces?

By embracing the opportunities presented by the convergence of marketing and IT, organizations can gain a competitive edge, deliver personalized experiences, and drive growth. In addition, this connection can help deliver: 

  • Data-driven decision making
  • Improved customer experience
  • Agile and rapid experimentation
  • Improved security and risk mitigation
  • Aligned business goals

The Future of Marketing + IT is Now

The future holds immense potential for innovative marketing strategies powered by technology and data, and a strong partnership between marketing and IT is essential to leverage these opportunities successfully. With an increased focus on Marketing and improved IT connection, you can not only promote enterprise efficiency, but also foster a sense of shared ownership that empowers both departments to work together towards achieving organizational success.

Tenon, Marketing Work Management for Enterprise Teams

Tenon is a Work Management solution developed exclusively for Marketers. We provide a single space for marketing teams to organize and collaborate on campaigns, projects, and tasks so everyone stays in the loop from start to finish. Built on ServiceNow, we're powered by a platform already used by IT, HR, Finance, and Customer Service, so your company can collaborate and get work done like never before.

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