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Preparing for the Future: How the CIO and CMO Must Collaborate to Win

by Paul Barsch  |  
March 18, 2008

In the past, the CMO and CIO have had a tenuous relationship, with each role vociferously complaining about the other's lack of understanding, knowledge, and respect.

However, two powerful exponential trends (growth rates of data and technology), will dramatically affect enterprise operations, forcing the marketing and IT functions to communicate and collaborate like never before.

To survive and capitalize on those trends, CIOs and CMOs will have to align strategies, pool resources, communicate more effectively, and find common ground wherever possible. The future viability of the enterprise depends on it.

Exponential Growth of Technology and Data

A technological and data-driven revolution is underway, and in some instances it is happening right under our noses.

Moore's Law, conceptualized by Intel pioneer Gordon Moore, states that the number of transistors per microprocessor will double every two years. This exponential increase in processing speeds for various machines/devices will eventually enable advances in economics, biology, technology, business, and other key fields.

The second powerful exponential trend is the increasing amount of data that companies must contend with on a daily basis. According to a Forrester Research report titled "Data, Data Everywhere," the "volume of the world's data doubles approximately every three years"!

Companies around the world are literally drowning in data. A typical airline or retailer, for example, is collecting data from myriad operational systems and storing terabytes, if not petabytes, of data.

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Paul A. Barsch directs the professional services marketing programs for one of the top 10 software companies in the United States and blogs about the intersection and impact of technology and marketing ( He can be contacted at paulbarsch(at)yahoo(dotcom).

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  • by Roy Young Wed Mar 26, 2008 via web

    Exactly right, Paul. In fact, for inspiration and support, marketers should learn from a great case study of a successful marriage between Marketing and IT at Harrah's, which has become the most profitable company in the gaming industry. (See my book, Marketing Champions, Wiley 2006 for details.)

    As his first strategic move as COO at Harrah's, Gary Loveman (who later became the CEO) replaced all of Harrah’s existing marketing staff with marketers who had data-crunching skills and knew how to work with IT.

    Here's what Loveman says about the strategic decision: “[The original staff] were never going to get our program where it needed to go,” he says. And they were “never going to build the decision tools or be able to plot out the mathematics of this program the way we needed. So we brought in the kind of people we have now, who have the horsepower to do this kind of work…. We created a marketing council. I chaired it as the senior operator and the senior marketer, and I brought together three of the four senior corporate marketing people and the four senior field marketing people as well as our outside agencies, our PR agencies, and our senior technology person, because so much of our marketing runs through technology systems…. It’s an effort to make sure that all our marketing work is a collaboration between corporate and the field and that everybody owns these decisions.”

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