IBM’s State of Marketing study surveyed more than 350 marketing professionals across a wide range of industries and geographies. The news continues to place the spotlight on a topic that is critical to any business looking to succeed in the era of the multi-channel, empowered consumer. And in order to do just that, chief marketing officers (CMO) and chief information officers (CIO) need to form a cohesive team that merges the skills of marketing with those of IT.
It may seem counter-intuitive and unnatural but this left-brained — right-brained “odd couple” need to overcome their psychological and philosophical differences and just get along, for both of their sakes. It’s in marketing’s interest as close to 50% of marketers surveyed stated that improved technology infrastructure or software will enable them to do more.
And it should clearly be an IT dept objective in light of Gartner’s prediction that the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO by 2017.
Let’s take one example: mobile. Marketers are fueling the mobile revolution that we saw come of age during the 2011 holiday. When it comes to the continued maturation of mobile, the survey found that within the next 12 months, 34% of respondents intend to deliver mobile ads, a clear sign that marketers are prepared to go beyond mobile web sites and apps.
The adoption of these m-commerce engines will enable the delivery of mobile, personalised advertising that reaches each customer on their device of choice, whether it’s a smartphone or a tablet.
While this mobile enthusiasm is certainly exciting, especially for consumers looking to receive highly personalised deals and other communications on their mobile devices, there are hurdles. For example, while 85% agree with the need for an integrated marketing suite, only 21 percent of respondents are actually running mobile marketing tactics as part of integrated campaigns. This ultimately inhibits the effectiveness of these marketing campaigns and the ability to coordinate and leverage each channel.
The answer for this integration conundrum is, you guessed it, the CIO and their IT team. IT professionals are the workhorses of enterprise-wide integration and alignment, knowledgeable of best practices, and, as I’m sure many will tell you, bear the scars of past deployments and implementations. In other words, they have done this before, with finance and supply chain.
As a result they are sources of powerful lessons, which draw upon enterprise knowledge that marketers can leverage as they adopt and scale technology to meet demand and differentiate their customer experience.
In the case of mobile, this marketing and IT alliance will help CMO ensure that these efforts are not functioning in isolation. But the importance of this new teaming has larger implications as well. In the study, 51% of respondents who identified their companies as high-performing indicated they have good relationships between marketing and IT. That’s 10% higher than other companies.
This number validates the importance of the marketing and IT alliance which gives top performers greater responsibilities for the 4Ps (products and services, price, place and promotion) and communication across the purchasing cycle. As a result, these marketers are nearly three times more likely to be pro-active leaders in driving their organisation’s customer experience across all channels.
At a time when customers are flocking to their mobile devices and social media channels, businesses have a tremendous opportunity to engage them in personalised conversations across all channels more effectively. However, to make this happen it takes a village, or in this instance, a marketing and IT alliance.
Werner Lindemann is VP Global Technology Services at IBM