Does CIO Plus CMO Equal Chief Customer Officer?
Gartner analyst Laura McLellan definitely got the tongues wagging and the keyboards humming when she conducted a seminar in January that suggested "By 2017 the CMO will spend more on technology than the CIO."
The articles and blog posts that have been covering and reverberating off of that contention still are appearing this week, three months later. Her contention makes a great deal of sense, when you think about how rapidly marketing has been shifting over the past few years, especially in the business to consumer space.
This is how McLellan summarized her seminar:
Marketing is purchasing significant marketing-related technology and services from their own capital and expense budgets – both outside the control of the internal IT organization and in conjunction with them. Designed for high-tech provider marketing executives, this webinar explores the current landscape and lays out business challenges caused by this shift in buying centers. As a buyer, understand what companies like you are doing. As a seller, consider the risks versus rewards of staying with business as usual, bypassing internal IT to get to the business buyer, or acting as a bridge between the CMO and CIO.
Most of our clients are marketing business to business, rather than to consumers, but the need for most of them to gather and analyze data about their customers and the best ways to reach them has grown exponentially over the past few years.
They are adding more and more tools and techniques to reach and engage their customers. It is critical for them to show the impact of their spending by measuring how the tools are working to improve sales and customer engagement. They need to be able to constantly adjust and improve their level of engagement and success.
Technology is a key piece of all of this and there are an endless variety of solutions -- more each week, it seems -- that can be considered and each needs to be evaluated and tested. And the CMO or VP of Marketing is the person on the line to support sales by building and expanding brand awareness and developing and executing programs that generate and convert leads.
It's no wonder McLellan came to her conclusion. The "Customer is King" is the credo of any successful company. Reaching that customer the best and most efficient way is a puzzle marketing needs to solve and, therefore, marketing needs to partner closely with IT -- or, in fact, become a business-oriented IT shop of its own -- to get the job done.
Chris Murphy of InformationWeek just published an interview with Stephen Gillett who left Starbucks "to assume the newly created role of president of Best Buy digital and executive VP of global business services."
How's that for a new age title? And here's his charter:
Through his leadership of the enterprise's ecommerce businesses, information technologies and global shared services, Gillett will have oversight of the critical capabilities necessary to make technology a bigger part of the customer experience while enhancing operations and processes.
Now, granted, this is more of an operational role, despite the nifty title, but one of Gillett's goals that he shared with InformationWeek tells the story of the changing role of the CIO to be more aligned with marketing strategies that is being predicted:
At Starbucks, Gillett's IT team worked closely with marketing and other departments to get things done. Starbucks also created a Digital Ventures business unit (which Gillett led as EVP of digital ventures, along with his CIO job) to drive initiatives that crossed marketing and IT boundaries. As Gillett said in a December interview: "If I take the digital capability and put it under engineering or IT, even with the best of intentions, it becomes heavily influenced by the technology initiatives. And if I take the same function and put it under a marketing function, it will inherently be dictated by the cadence of a marketing campaign. We needed it to have the autonomy of its own destiny, of its own vision.
At Best Buy, Gillett is expected to help advance "the company's global digital strategy, digital marketing, entertainment offerings, multi-channel capabilities and business development," the announcement says. "There are no neat lines here, so it'll take great leadership across the entire executive team to avoid turf wars."
I think it's a fascinating direction for marketing and certainly underscores the importance of all aspects of marketing to the core business. It bodes well for stronger partnerships between IT and marketing to make all of this work. And, ultimately, the customer benefits, which is what it's all about anyway.
So what do you think? Do you think we're heading toward a mashup of CIO and CMO that will end up in a Chief Customer Officer position or do you think I'm reading too many articles?