For too long, chief information officers (CIOs) and chief marketing officers (CMOs) have been divided by objectives that seemed mutually exclusive at times. Moreover, as CMOs find themselves in a struggle to keep up with a fast-changing digital marketing landscape, the chasm widens. CMOs often fail to consider how their technology decisions might impact CIOs' domains, and CIOs tend to underestimate—and thus underserve—CMOs' rapidly evolving needs.

Given this lay of the land, CMOs find themselves struggling with a hodge-podge of rogue marketing applications that are either poorly integrated with critical enterprise data stores or not integrated at all. The situation further alienates CIOs while also underscoring their potential importance to the marketing department.

There is hope, however.

Today's data-intensive marketing environment—characterized by customers expecting every interaction, regardless of channel, to be laced with context from previous interactions—presents a real opportunity for CMOs and CIOs to bridge the gap between them.

The current business environment gives CMOs justification to reach out to their CIOs and include them in the process of identifying and deploying a marketing platform that best meshes with existing enterprise systems. The resulting flow of data then provides CMOs with what they need to deliver highly contextual marketing campaigns while minimizing the integration headaches they're experiencing.

CIOs, meanwhile, can help forge a true partnership—one that will deliver bottom-line benefits—by striving to understand CMOs' rapidly evolving needs and ultimately help them to deliver powerful, customized marketing messages.

So how can you bridge the chasm between CMOs and CIOs?

Much of why CMOs and CIOs haven't collaborated effectively can be traced to poor communication. Neither role has done a very good job of grasping the needs and challenges of the other. However, by getting better at articulating needs, developing a level of empathy, and working to understand the larger needs of the business, CMOs and CIOs can start developing a valuable and strategic partnership.

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image of Alex Lustberg

Alex Lustberg is the chief marketing officer at Lyris.

LinkedIn: Alex Lustberg