How to Resolve The Disconnect Between Digital Marketing and IT

You’d think a communication breakdown between communications professionals would be a rare, oxymoronic occurrence, but it’s a common complaint: the marketing team feels the IT department is falling short when it comes to supporting marketing initiatives, while the IT department thinks the marketing team hasn’t given them clear directives or expectations.  When collaboration between these departments fail, so can a digital marketing effort.

According to a new study by Accenture, which surveyed 400 senior marketing and 250 IT executives in 10 countries, a disconnect between chief marketing officers and chief information officers threatens the ability of companies to deliver effective customer experiences. In fact, this disconnect is such a common problem that only one in 10 of the executives polled believed collaboration between CMOs and CIOs was at the right level.

CIOs appear to be more committed to making collaboration a priority than do CMOs; more than three out of four CIOs surveyed—77 percent—agreed that CMO-CIO alignment is important, while only 57 percent of CMOs agreed. However, although CIOs seem more willing to engage with CMOs, only 45 percent of them felt that supporting marketing was a top (or near top) priority.

Whatever the attitudes of CIOs and CMOs might be, the report revealed that neither are satisfied with the current level of collaboration. When working together on a marketing initiative, both parties said they were disappointed by the experience. 36 percent of CMOs said that IT deliverables fall short of the desired outcome, while 46 percent of CIOs said marketing does not provide an adequate level of detail to meet business requirements.

So what can companies do to fix this problem?

According to the Accenture report, CMOs and CIOs should consider taking the following steps toward strengthening  their alignment and improving collaboration:

  • The CMO should be identified as the Chief Experience Officer and IT should be looked at as a strategic partner with marketing and not just as a platform provider.
  • The skills mix in both organizations should be updated whereby the marketing department would become more tech savvy and the IT organization would become more agile and responsive to market demands.
  • Both teams should agree on key business levers and embrace tools, processes and platforms to understand consumer intent and unlock consumer value.

“To succeed in the digital age, CMOs must place an immediate focus on technology to improve relevant customer experiences and advance marketing practices,” said Brian Whipple, global managing director of Accenture Interactive. “The good news is that CMOs and CIOs agree technology is important. Now they must work together to agree on how technology can be most appropriately applied to drive their company’s specific marketing needs, and how it can ultimately result in increased brand affinity, loyalty and sales growth.”