At the recent 2010 CIO Summit – The Year Ahead – Tony Scott, the CIO from Microsoft asked the audience the question: “who here is best friends with their CMO?” Only about 1 in 5 hands went up, to which he made the comment that by next year everyone should be friends with their CMO or risk to no longer be in their role.
That struck a chord with the audience. CIO’s should be best friends with their CMO counterparts and here is why:
- Changing processes will require a different infrastructure
Whether companies pro-actively embrace the social wave that is currently hitting businesses or not, most marketing and sales processes have already profoundly been affected by the social. People no longer listen to companies and instead make their buying decisions based on recommendations from peers. The funnel disappeared and is being replaced by a messy, swirly social buying process. Innovation and support can now be turned into social processes involving customers and employees whose job it is not to design and support new products. The CMO cannot enable his team to support these new processes without the CIO and the CIO’s team cannot build the right infrastructure without thoroughly understanding the new processes. They need one another to succeed in this area.
- Cultural environment conducive to high technology adoption rates
CIO’s need to find pockets of culture within their company that are ripe for social technology adoption or enterprise 2.0 adoption. In many companies the marketing department may be that department. Most marketing departments are being forced into adopting social tools by their customers, prospects and detractors. So for CIO’s to get a win under their belt with social tools, they may benefit from befriending the CMO.
- Together create an opportunity to regain senior strategic roles at the executive table once again
Many CMO’s and CIO’s have lost their strategic place at the executive table. At a recent large investment banking portfolio company retreat, the three execs from the portfolio companies that were invited to represent the executive team were the CEO, the CFO and the Exec in charge of Human Resources. Look at many executive teams on company web sites, many of them don’t have a CMO or CIO reporting all the way to the top. The CMO and the CIO can team up together to regain a strategic seat by representing the voice of the customer within the company. That will require for the CMO to stop thinking of their role as the company advocate in the marketplace and instead become the customer advocate within the company, and for the CIO to stop thinking about how to build hard walls around the company and instead to find ways to extend the edge of the company to encompass customers, prospects and detractors.
There are many other reasons why CIO’s and CMO’s should be best friends, but those three alone should make for the divide that exists between them to disappear now.
[self-serving ad coming up]That is also the reason why the upcoming Hyper-Social Mini Summits are now focused on both CIO’s and CMO’s – which should make for a great brainstorm session.[/ad]