If you are over the age of say, 40, the second – and I mean the second you hear the term "love connection" you more than likely conjure up an image of Chuck Woolery sitting on a couch saying phrases like "we'll be back in two and two." If, however, you're under 40 or don't know what in the world I'm talking about, I'm quite sure YouTube can fill you in.
Be that as it may, having a love connection between the CMO and CIO is vital. In fact its importance cannot be overstated for a brand to be successful in today's technology-changing-at-warp-speed world we live, work and play in. In our recently released guide – which was produced in partnership with The CMO Club – The CMO Solution Guide to Leveraging New Technology and Marketing Platforms, one of the solutions included was for the CMO to become BFFs with their respective CIO.
Mary Beth Parks, SVP Global Marketing of Hilton Worldwide put it perfectly: "A CMO’s relationship with the CIO has to be very strong and it is for us. It’s an understanding that the role of technology is to innovate and enhance the way we’re serving guests across the travel journey—from dreaming and planning, to booking and at our hotels, to when they return home and share their experiences.”
A CMO and CIO Love Connection Depends On This (should be obvious)
Before I get to what "it" is, I thought about not including the "should be obvious" verbiage for i didn't want to put any undue pressure on anyone. But then I thought about it some more and figured 'yeah, this SHOULD be obvious.'
Earlier this year Deloitte Digital analyzed 50,000 organic conversations through social media channels. The study revealed that when the CMO and CIO jointly decide to focus on this, it helps them create a shared vision and foundation that can minimize areas of conflict.
What is it?
It is being customer-centric.
Like I said, obvious.
Shouldn't everything we as marketers do focus on the customer? Of course it should but we all know it's not always that easy.
The following key themes were identified from the study, too:
- Shared collaboration leads to evolution.
- Shared skill sets support evolved thought leadership.
- Shared vision enables customer focus.
- Shared responsibility builds stronger cross-teams.
Again, this should be obvious, but…
Focus On the How, Not Just the What
There was another interesting finding that came out of the Deloitte research, via the press release.
"The study also found that while media widely discuss the need for collaboration between CMOs and CIOs, a discrepancy often exists between news coverage and the CMO experience. For example, the survey found that 56 percent of media conversations focused on conflicts between the CMO-CIO, like budget tensions and other pain points, and less on ways they were working to close the gap between the two roles."
In other words, some members of the media, of which I am one, are focusing too much on the problems themselves vs. the solutions to correct the problems.
That is precisely what we set out to do via the aforementioned CMO Solution Guide to Leveraging New Technology and Marketing Platforms.
As I referenced earlier, one of the solutions included was for the CMO to become BFFs with their respective CIO. As for how that happens, as per the guide, which I highly recommend downloading:
- Get excited and engaged with technology. One way to become BFFs with your CIO is to embrace technology—literally. As Cammie Dunaway, President and Global CMO of KidZania, Inc. says: “If you are a CMO and are not excited and engaged with technology, I question how long you will be in the job.”
- Speak the same language. Or said another way, ask questions rather than make assumptions. CMOs and CIO frequently attribute different meaning to the same words. Semantics matter and are often the genesis of confusion.
- Develop a customer-driven technology roadmap. The need to have one technology roadmap is paramount, but unlike technology maps of the past that are anchored in technology stacking limitations, the technology roadmap of the future will be a bi-product of the customer journey and the mutual understanding by the CMO and CIO of that journey.