The potential for collaboration between Marketing and IT has never been greater than today. Based on Accenture Interactive’s recent research, CMO-CIO Alignment survey, we are seeing a sea of change happening, putting marketing IT at the top of their agendas. What’s driving this change? Digital, of course. More technology is required as marketing becomes more digital.
I wanted to dive deeper into this concept and capture the opinions of my agency’s stakeholders. I had the privilege of sitting down with Trone Brand Energy’s President Doug Barton and Vice President, Digital Operations Eric Tessau to discuss this relationship trend. Generally, they did not stray too far from the results we see in the alignment survey. They both agree that digital is driving the collaboration trend. Below is a snapshot of our conversation:
Why is there a divide between CMOs and CIOs and do you see it getting better?
Historically, Doug believes that IT and Marketing were fighting for their share of the same budget and marketing didn’t need IT to do their job. “IT usually got the budget and marketing didn’t, because IT was more mission critical.” To this Eric disagrees, he felt as though he was always begging for money!
From Eric’s perspective, IT is fairly new in the grand scheme of things (within the last 15-20 years) and marketing has been around “forever.” Also, marketing has had autonomy; having it’s own goals and objectives. All departments, not just marketing and IT, have been fairly siloed. From a technical perspective, what I gathered from Eric is that historical marketing teams had the “just” syndrome. Meaning that I “just” need it to send email. I “just” need it to send me a report. I “just” need a CRM.However, he sees the divide starting to close out of dire necessity. Marketing is beginning to include the IT team to prevent major missteps.
What has made the biggest impact on marketing IT?
Doug and Eric both agree that digital channels and globalization are making a huge impact on marketing IT. Doug sees systems integration as a major driver of change. Channels, like e-commerce and marketing automation, drive the collaboration. More marketing people are understanding technology and more tech people are understanding marketing.
“With all this disruption we need to continuously ask what are we going to do internally and what are we going to outsource?” – Doug Barton
What do you think of the idea of a CDO, someone who crosses traditional functions and boundaries?
Eric thinks this makes a lot of sense. He’s tried to position himself in this role by understanding both sides of the house. Doug says, “digital has caused more disruption in the last 10 years than it did in the previous 50 years. Now, we really need a Chief Disruption Officer, who is an expert in channels, to understand what is coming and prepare for it.”
So, who should control the marketing IT budget?
Both agreed if there was a CDO, then they should control it. If no CDO is present in the organization they also agree there should be three budgets: marketing, IT and combined. Eric also believes that recurring technical costs need to stay where they usually are in a separate budget. And Doug believes marketing may end up with the budget, but IT will assist with allocation.
I ask you now, what does the future hold for marketing IT? Do you agree with Doug and Eric? Will this article be out of date in a year? Or will we still have a fundamental problem?