CIONET Trailblazer: Navigating the Evolving Relationship between CMOs and CIOs in the Digital Age

Published by Charlotte Coen
May 31, 2023 @ 10:07 AM
Welcome to another episode of our CIONET Trailblazer with Veerle Van Roij, Vice President of Marketing at Telenet Business. In this episode, we explore the evolving relationship between the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and how the digital transformation has shaped their collaboration. As marketing becomes increasingly digital and data-driven, the CMO and CIO are growing closer, bridging the gap between technical and business strategy.

How has or should the relationship between the CMO and the CIO have evolved over the past few years, and what factors have contributed to this evolution? 

Due to the ongoing digital transformation, the roles of the CMO and CIO have been converging. The wave of digital transformation was already in progress before COVID-19, but the pandemic accelerated its importance and impact. Organisations realised that simply implementing a marketing automation tool does not equate to true digital transformation. The meaning of digital transformation changed drastically, and it became essential for the CMO and CIO to collaborate closely.
Untitled design (3)-May-26-2023-03-09-08-1783-PMTo facilitate this collaboration, the CMO and CIO must speak the same language, both in terms of technical expertise and business objectives. They should coordinate the selection of optimal tools and the setup of processes based on the needs and experiences of the customer. It is salient to involve the customer's point of view from the start when making decisions about marketing tools. Furthermore, ensuring IT-technical integration between various tools is vital to ensure the availability of accurate data in a digital format.
The benefits of the CMO and CIO collaboration are significant. By working together, they can align their strategies and focus on putting the customer first. This alignment involves reaching out to other departments, networking, and improving communication with colleagues. By considering the customer journey and identifying moments of truth that impact the customer, they can develop a unified annual plan with a common goal: delivering exceptional customer experiences.
How has the shift towards digital and data-driven marketing impacted the mindset and skill set required for success in marketing?

The shift towards digital and data-driven marketing has revolutionised the mindset and skill set required for marketing success. It is not enough to solely have a marketing automation tool; true digital marketing involves leveraging customer data to create personalised and ideal customer experiences.

To achieve this, marketers must embrace digital practices and develop clear customer journeys that encompass all touch points and moments of truth. This requires effective segmentation, customer profiling, and utilising the marketing automation tool to engage with customers at the right moments.

However, it is important to strike a balance between digitisation and human interaction, particularly in the B2B environment. Customers still value personal assistance and immediate help from knowledgeable experts. Therefore, organisations must ensure that digital interactions are complemented by human touch points when they matter most.

Adopting a growth mindset is essential in this digital landscape. Marketers should continuously update their knowledge, stay abreast of the latest trends and tools, and have access to relevant information platforms and learning initiatives.

What steps can one take to ensure that marketing initiatives are aligned with the organisation's overall digital transformation strategy?

Aligning marketing initiatives with the organisation's digital transformation strategy requires a transversal approach and collaboration across departments. The process should focus on the complete customer journey, considering the customer's desired experience.

In the past, the CIO primarily focused on internal processes and operational excellence when purchasing tools. However, in the digital age, it is crucial to involve the customer in the decision-making process. The CIO and CMO should closely examine how customers want to be helped and ensure that tools and data acquisition methods align with those preferences.

Maintaining a central database that collects all relevant customer data (e.g., invoicing, satisfaction, usage) enables personalised and tailored communication. Additionally, presenting a consistent look, feel, and tone of voice across all customer touch points contributes to a cohesive digital transformation strategy.

How can one ensure that the adoption of digital marketing technologies does not overlook the human factor? 

While digital marketing technologies enable data-driven approaches and digitisation, it is crucial not to overlook the importance of human interaction and personalisation. Ethical considerations and privacy protection should guide the implementation of AI and other technologies to avoid crossing boundaries.

Organisations must strive to speak the common language of the customer and understand their needs. Recognising the limits set by privacy conditions, the CMO and CIO must jointly monitor data quality, data protection, and privacy to maintain trust and context.

Furthermore, networking events and opportunities for CMOs and CIOs to share information and insights are invaluable. These events foster collaboration, provide a platform to discuss combined topics, such as the use of emerging technologies like ChatGPT, and highlight the continued importance of striking a balance between digital and human contact.

In conclusion, the relationship between CMOs and CIOs has drastically evolved in the digital age and has pushed them towards collaboration. They must speak the same language, align strategies, and prioritise the customer experience. Marketers need new mindsets and skill sets for data-driven marketing while balancing digitisation with human interaction. Aligning marketing initiatives with digital transformation requires collaboration and focus on the customer journey. Adopting digital technologies must consider ethics, privacy, and the value of human interaction. By embracing these principles, CMOs and CIOs can successfully navigate the digital age together. 


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