CIO Straight Talk - Issue 4 - 45
Subject: IT-Marketing Collaboration
Chief Information Officer
Chief Marketing Officer
Head of Sales
I wanted to share with you some thoughts that I believe are relevant as our company transforms itself -
or is transformed, like it or not, by the business environment - into a digital enterprise.
First, a few observations about your customer - our customer - in this context:
I'm not telling you anything new when I say that customers have changed, as has their purchase process.
It's no longer enough to create a great television spot or print ad, then sit back as the customer walks into
the store or calls a toll free number. For that matter, it's no longer enough for us to hire a top-notch sales
force as a means of generating revenue growth from our business customers. The leverage that you - or
Sales - once had over the customer in terms of controlling the interaction is quickly becoming irrelevant.
Today's buyer is smart, resourceful, and connected through social media, someone who does his or her
own research before entering the formal marketing and selling channels. What Google breathlessly calls
the "zero moment of truth" - when a buyer goes online to learn about a product or service, usually before
any interaction with the company that offers it - is reversing traditional information asymmetry, in favor
of the buyer. Whatever you think of the term, a marketer that is able to positively interact with or influence a potential buyer at this moment will regain some of the power that has migrated to the customer.
Next, a few thoughts on technology:
Influencing a buyer online is a very different undertaking than influencing a buyer in the traditional way.
Smart CMOs like you - and, if I may, business-savvy CIOs like me - are seeing opportunities to influence
customer behavior through technology. This is ushering in an era of marketing and technology convergence, as marketers try to grow the top line by leveraging customer data - much of it "big data" - and
using technology to enhance the customer experience.
Again, you probably already know most of this. Here's something you may be less familiar with. Marketing technologies are proliferating at a dizzying rate. According to my last count, some 350 different companies are offering marketing technology services in five broad areas: digital marketing channels,
marketing automation, analytics, data integration, and product extension. Some people predict that we'll
soon see a new position - in fact, a new profession - on your team: the marketing technologist.
Hence, the oft-quoted Gartner prediction that, by 2017, the CMO will spend more on information technology than the CIO will. Well, I want to be clear about this: I don't care who spends the money. But I
want to be sure it is spent intelligently. Collaboration between the two of us can help ensure that happens.
Attached are several interesting articles I've collected on this topic. Let's talk when you've had a chance to
look at them - a conversation that I hope will be the first of many. Working together would benefit both
of us - not to mention the enterprise!
I'm happy to swing by to chat about this, if you want to suggest a time. In the words of a famous actor, "I
think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
49 CIO Straight Talk