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A halftime update on the fight between CMO and CIO

24 September 2015
by Adam Oldfield

In 2012, Gartner predicted that within 5 years CMOs would be spending more on technology than CIOs. 

A bold claim, but now we're at the halfway point, is there an element of truth? Or are there likely to be some red faces at Gartner in 2 years' time? Adam Oldfield, Force24’s MD investigates…

“When the report first hit, there were an unsurprising number of naysayers. People who argued that the majority of money spent by CIOs is on maintaining legacy systems - legacy systems that companies couldn't survive without - and therefore the shift is impossible. But how right were they?

But hang on… the SaaS market is becoming increasingly buoyant and even the most complex technologies getting easier to onboard, plus cloud software has become the norm. It seems like the legacy systems issue has sort of cleared itself up, leaving CIO’s to ponder the technology needs of their CMO counterparts.

Last year, Accenture Digital released the CMO-CIO Alignment Survey which gave us some pretty clear updates in terms of where the alignment stood and more importantly, not least for Gartner, where it was heading.

The results were interesting.

83% of CIOs recognise the need for alignment between IT and Marketing, compared to just 69% of CMOs. CIOs are embracing the change before CMOs? Who'd have thought it?!

What's more, the majority of survey takers think the marketing IT budget is managed by both parties in a straight 50:50 split.

So there you have it folks, so far, so good. Gartner can breathe a sigh of relief. If things continue in this direction, they're on to a winner.

What does this mean for the next generation of marketers?

But, I couldn’t help but wonder what this would mean for the next generation of marketers?

Afterall, it’s those that we - Force24, want to nurture, work with, train and inspire…

It all depends on how businesses choose to deal with the change. Will they embrace the alliance, focusing now more than ever on a dynamic duo that together can take on the world? Or will they look to amalgamate the roles for one superpower of marketing and technology?

A quick look on Google Adwords shows that the number of searches on compound job roles such as CRM Specialist, Marketing Automation Manager, CRM Marketing Manager and Marketing Technology Manager are on the rise.

Searches are 32% higher in 2015 than they were in the same period of 2013.

And this is only going in one direction. According to Gartner, marketing already influences almost half of all purchases.

There is something bigger at play here; marketing is becoming the driving force behind a business.

And if you think about it, it shouldn’t be any surprise. Marketeers are being taught from day one that everything that touches the customer is marketing. In fact, the CIM definition clarifies this, “Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”.

Crucially this doesn’t just mean offers, promotions, advertisements and brand. It means the pivotal features of a business; product, service, public perception, market research and yes, even financial profitability.

In one interview, Jim Melvin, CMO of SevOne and interestingly ex-CEO of AppNeta commented, “CMOs today are really in the driver’s seat in terms of focusing the organization on expanding the value of the enterprise…  That leaves the CMO and other executive leaders to create sales-enhancing value for the company. That’s my favorite part of the job and why I chose to take this position—the potential impact I can have. Great CMO roles enable you to drive business performance and, in my opinion, there is no more exciting or dynamic role in the company.”

Could it be the case, that CMOs are not just going to spend more than their technology counterparts, but that their influence will be felt across the organisation, perhaps even creating a handful of organisations in the next 5 years who position their CMO above their CEO… or don’t require a CEO at all…?

It’s definitely one to watch but don’t worry, I’ll be sure to update you if and when anything changes.”

Adam Oldfield

Managing Director



Photo of Adam Oldfield
Adam Oldfield
Managing Director & Founder

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