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CMO and CIO: A Beautiful Friendship?

by Jill Puleri  |  
March 20, 2012

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Why CMOs need to be aligned with CIOs to drive business results
  • Six steps that'll help CMOs embrace technology and grow their influence

In recent months, an explosion of dialogue has taken place, particularly in retail circles, about the power of analytics in creating better customer experiences.

It's no wonder. Advanced analytics—the science of extracting meaning from vast quantities of data—enables more sophisticated forms of segmentation and real-time decision-making that create new opportunities for merchants to know and serve their customers better. In today's highly competitive global marketplace, such a capability is particularly critical for retailers.

But even as analytics technology is ascendant, those in the information technology (IT) department responsible for deploying such tools are facing increasing pressure. Traditional IT approaches are often inadequate to keep up with the demands of a fast-moving marketplace.

Moreover, the data needed to feed the analytics engine is often fragmented and of poor quality. And getting approval for large IT projects can be a lengthy process, even when the business case is evident and the payback is significant.

What can the chief information officer (CIO) do?

Wrong question. The right question is, What can the CIO and chief marketing officer (CMO) do together?

As analytics become increasingly vital to a retailer's ability to understand and reach customers, the CMO can no longer enjoy the luxury of being naive about IT.

According to a recent IBM survey of 1,700 CMOs, 45% cite lack of alignment between Marketing and IT, and 25% cite lack of IT skills, as major barriers to adopting new technologies.

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Jill Puleri is vice-president and global retail industry leader at IBM global business services, a management and technology consulting firm.

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