science-kid

Drew’s recent blog on whether we’ll ever see the CMO leverage more influence in IT buying decisions than the CIO got me thinking. As exciting as that sounds, is the CMO the right person to own that responsibility?

Headline grabbing reports that claim the CMO will overshadow the CIO with this new influence can become a little misleading and are not generally based in the real world. These predictions happily gloss over the daily challenges that many CMOs face in managing the growing mountain of data and insight created by their marketing activities, which is why the CIO in my opinion is the marketing department’s most important ally right now.

The left brain vs the right brain

The CMO can now set up and manage social media, marketing automation and content distribution actitivities with any combination of cloud based platforms themselves. They provide a wealth of data and customer insight on everything from the number of clicks through to the value of sales generated by a single tweet.

This means that the CIO can be easily bypassed in crucial IT decisions and so lose control on how these platforms are assessed, set up and integrated. This can result in poorly designed and fragmented solutions that store data in siloes, requiring both time and analytical skills in order to deliver the insight, which most marketing teams do not possess. This can often result in this critical process being ignored or executed poorly, losing valuable insight for the marketing and sales teams.

B2B Marketing’s recent report highlighted some rather worrying trends in to how many marketing professionals are missing opportunities with the data these platforms provide, meaning that important customer insight is lost or not acted upon.

For example, with the rush to leverage marketing automation tools and breathe new life into the humble email, just over half those polled were using ‘just some’ of the features available, and 4% didn’t use any at all, suggesting that there is a lack of time or training to configure them properly. Amazingly, given the ease of integration and management, only 54% of brands polled used site analytics and only 31% were analysing data from Social media activities.

So why is this happening?

When you start to think about where all this data is ending up and why it’s being left to gather dust in the corner there are a number of potential causes: Time and resource poor marketing teams, or bad data being used throughout each campaign through to the lack of proper preparation on what insight and data campaigns should provide.

However, I believe that it is the fragmentation of the very platforms the marketers have rushed out to use being one of the biggest causes. With data stored in unconnected siloes, it makes the process of reporting and analysing too slow and resource intensive to do regularly, driving many marketers to continue running campaigns blind.

Learn to play together, or else!

Which brings me back to our friend, the CIO, who’s role of deciding how the organisation’s platforms fit together is now more crucial than ever before. With the growing importance of delivering an amazing customer experience across mobile, social and web, combined with maximising the potential of marketing automation, they all need to be built around a strong CRM strategy that this owned with the CMO. This would allow the responsibility of storing, exporting and analysing the data to be shared across the organisation, helping the marketer deliver ROI and create more engaging campaigns.

The CMO and CIO need to work better together to ensure the investments made on these shiny new marketing tools and cloud platforms deliver the results. Otherwise the board may feel it is time to bring in a new member to the team; the Chief Digital Officer. And that is something I’m sure very few will want to see.