While a strong partnership between CMOs and CIOs is seen as critical to success, few do it well according to new research from Forrester.

CMOs have emerged as key decision makers and technology buyers as low cost and simple cloud-based technologies have allowed them to acquire point solutions with little oversight from IT. However, concerns around security, privacy and the need to integrate marketing tech into an organisation’s overall technology architecture has brought IT back into the discussion.

However, establishing that relationship is still a challenge for many organisations today, according to the research from Forrester.

Recent research conducted by the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit and Cheetah Digital asked marketers to characterise their relationship with IT from poor to excellent.

Respondents who described the relationship as poor were asked to explain their choice, frequently citing a disconnect between the two sides, with little alignment, interaction or communication.

“We have a near non-existent working relationship with IT. In many cases, they are a barrier to our work,” one marketer wrote.

The Forrester report, CMO-CIO Collaboration: Resolving the Paradox, provides examples of how CMOs and CIOs can overcome these challenges to optimise marketing and technology strategy and governance.

Part of the problem, the analysts argue, is CMOs and CIOs often have misaligned goals. CIOs focus on optimising costs to securely implement the technology while rarely measuring customer experience metrics. While CMOs focus increasingly on how customers perceive the brand experience across channels but without ROI constraints on how the technology is deployed over time.

Source Forrester: CMO-CIO Collaboration: Resolving the Paradox

They also speak different languages, for example the report notes “DR” means “direct response” to a CMO but “disaster recovery” to a CIO. Similarly, is a customer the external client or an internal team who uses technology?

Lack of clear communication is a a key reason collaboration fails, and the analysts urge CIOs and CMOs create a common language to avoid communication traps.

Rather than fighting for ownership, the analysts recommend CIOs-CMOs clarify their roles
to overcome the org chart barriers. They should also agree on aligned KPIs that focus on the customer and support the overall goals of the business.

The report recommends formalising a governance model for marketing/technology to help make decisions quickly and allocate budgets.

Marketers and technology teams can also collaborate by establishing cross-functional teams and building personal relationships between the two groups.

The analysts noted, all the CMOs they interviewed for the research emphasised the importance of establishing personal relationships with their CIO counterpart, beyond any formal organisational, structural, and measurement changes.

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