Though frequently at odds, marketing and IT executives agree that harnessing Big Data is imperative to building a customer-centric corporate culture, according to a study by the CMO Council, in partnership with SAS.
They also agree that a lack of CMO/CIO alignment, rigid silos, unclear responsibilities, and a lack of leadership impede an organization from using Big Data to its full potential, the survey of CMOs and CIOs found.
Big Data is important to achieving a customer-centric culture, according to the study:
- 40% of marketers and 51% of IT executives said it's critical for improved decision making.
- 36% of marketers and 23% of IT execs said data drives the ability to personalize customer experiences.
Below, additional findings from the CMO Council study, titled Big Data’s Biggest Role, Aligning the CMO & CIO.
Access to in-depth data, and the ability to translate it into insights, is a competitive advantage according to 70% of marketers: 30% say it is critical, and 40% say it is part of the overall picture.
However, most respondents view the flood of incoming data as part obstacle and part opportunity: 61% of CMOs and 60% of CIOs say so, admitting they have a long way to go still in using Big Data properly.
The main challenge, according to 52% of marketers (and 45% of IT professionals), is that functional silos block aggregation of data from across the organization, making it difficult to truly achieve customer-centricity:
Moreover, 39% of CMOs say the corporate culture is not aligned around the needs of customers.
A likely explanation for the lack of total customer focus is that no clear ownership of the customer exists. Among marketing executives, 18% say that ownership rests with the CEO, 17% say the CMO, and 19% say sales. IT professionals assign ownership to the CEO (20%), CMO (19%), and sales (17%).
Organizations that report they have achieved total partnership between CMO and CIO also have clearer ownership of the customer.
In such organizations, marketers (24%) and IT professionals (30%) say the CEO owns the customer. Furthermore, marketers and IT executives in "total partnership" organizations are highly satisfied with their company's ability to engage the customer (42% of marketers, 31% of IT execs).
About the data: Findings from the CMO Council study are based on an online survey of 237 senior marketers and 211 senior IT executives, in addition to best-practice profiles from 33 leading marketing and IT executives. Both the survey and interviews were conducted across Q4 of 2012 and Q1 of 2013.