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Chief Marketing Officers and Chief Technology Officers need to play nice to maximise the benefits that the Digital world offers.

In the Digital world in which we now live where we are constantly in touch with everyone and everything in our lives, Marketers have found they are in a position to, and are also expected to do more than they could previously. They can reach out to the individual, understand what they want, predict when they will want it, offer timely inducements and follow up the sale with personalised care and future sales.

Traditional channels of Print, TV and Radio ensure that the brand is kept to the fore. The ubiquitous Digital channel and social sea-change that it has produced, has fundamentally changed the art of the possible. Broadcast targeting makes way for Narrowcast Targeting; which is massively more personal. It is much more likely to deliver results and it has enabled large corporations to appear to the individual as their local shopkeeper; someone that knows them and cares about them.

This change is fundamentally rooted in technology and the Marketing Departments now have to be more aware of technology and technological solutions. Marketers are selling you an experience; of what life would be like for you using their product. Static brochure-ware solutions which are generic and impersonal are being replaced with Experience solutions. These solutions provide full cycle marketing, rapid campaign development, constantly changing content, integration with analytics, influential data, social networks and user generated content. This allows the marketing department to present a highly personal façade to the customer; a façade that can be changed in a moment.

CMOs have the budget and buying power to either procure or heavily influence the procurement of these solutions. Their time requirements for new campaigns and promotions are often much more rapid that can often be satisfied by the IT department, or their requirements fall foul of IT department mandates. How many times have we heard statements like “The Business wants it but IT doesn’t” or vice versa? Sometimes this disconnect can result in IT being bypassed, which can lead to sub-optimal solutions being the face of The Business. A poor performing window to the company can have disastrous results for the business; especially with an army of people tweeting about it.

However, the reality is that The Business and IT are all part of the same organisation and for that organisation to flourish they need to understand each other and work together, not in confrontation, but in collaboration. CMOs need to appreciate the reasons CTOs constrain certain solutions and CTOs need to understand how the CMO wants to market the business.

CTOs are responsible for defining the Architecture of the Enterprise. The Information Architecture and Infrastructure required to keep an organisation running at its optimum capability is immense, and needs rigorous planning to ensure it operates efficiently. However there is no point in having an optimal solution if the business is not able to market itself effectively through technology.

CMOs need to be able to implement campaigns without delay, working with brand and creative agencies to develop compelling campaigns that will draw attention to the business. They also need to be able to react to external influences. It is very difficult to predict the response to a campaign but it is nigh on impossible to predict external influences such as those through Social Chatter, Viral Videos or pressure campaigns. When the unpredictable traffic descends on the Marketing Website it can be incredibly damaging to the brand if the performance is below acceptable levels. When @StephenFry posts a link to his 6.2 million followers, if that target site doesn’t have the capacity then it is likely to result in disappointment; disappointment that can lead to a brand being damaged.

But it is more than just having an infrastructure that has been built to handle the spikes in demand. The Marketing teams need to have the tools to understand what has caused the spikes and react to them. To succeed any business needs to adapt to continual change; in technology, markets, products and customer behaviour.

If we carry on with CTOs and CMOs working in isolation then companies will never be able to harness their true potential. But if they can “play nice”; continually collaborating along the journey, then the business will flourish.


and hence the need for CDOs Chief Digital Officer the bridge between the technical and the business

Submitted by Rob Bradley on 05 December 2013

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