Gartner VP describes the way B2B CIOs and CMOs can work better together

Don Scheibenreif Gartner CIOs and CMOs
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The story Don Scheibenreif tells is such a great example of B2B marketing and IT working together it almost sounds like a fable.

It was a story about a company whose web site, according to the distinguished research vice-president in the customer experience group at research firm Gartner Inc., had been managed by one of the agencies that regularly worked with its marketing department. Even though a digital presence could be considered fairly core to a brand, the CMO’s team had evidently decided it wasn’t worth involving the CIO’s team.

“IT got a hold of the contract and said ‘We could do this for you, and we could do it better and more cost-effectively,’” Scheibenreif, a former marketer himself, told B2B News Network. “The result was that marketing had more money to go into technology that they wanted.”

Unfortunately, Scheibenreif suggested many stories involving CIOs and CMOs don’t necessarily have such a happy ending.

Gartner’s research shows, for instance, that while 84 per cent of data strategy and governance projects involve IT as a stakeholder, and the CIO is the most common executive sponsor, 52 per cent of marketing leaders lament that they spend the majority of their analytics team’s time on data management.

This could help explain why CMOs are dedicating, on average, 8.3 per cent of their  budget to data and analytics and 62 per cent expect to increase spend in 2019, based on Gartner’s research. And some of that spending may looking outside their own walls for help.

“Marketing will default to external agencies for help because they can move faster than the IT departments,” Scheibenreif said. “The CIO and the CMO have to agree on the rules of engagement on projects so they can be met, but without short-changing the project.”

Some of the problems might stem from another long-held schism within B2B organizations, Scheibenreif added.

“Within a B2B organization, sales are in the primary position and will get a disproportionate share of IT’s time when it comes to things like CRM, lead tracking, and sales compensation tools,” he said, noting that there are exceptions in marketing-led firms like 3M. “On the other hand, a good CIO can be a bridge between marketing and sales.”

To foster a better relationship with CIOs and get more attention to martech and other needs, Scheibenreif suggested starting with shared metrics. Gartner has developed a joint scorecard for CMOs and CIOs, for instance, that uses customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Score and its own Customer Effort Score to relate back to actions or experiences that technology helps support.

Next, CMOs should think about how talent can act as more of a shared service across both marketing and IT. Scheibenreif said he’s worked with clients who have had their CIO assign someone who can act as a liaison of sorts with marketing. Others “colocate” IT staff within marketing to better understand what’s on the horizon and to offer advice.

“It sounds like a tall order, but it’s doable,” he said.

As more B2B firms pursue strategies such as account-based marketing and personalization at scale, Scheibenreif suggested “enlightened” CIOs and CMOs will naturally become more collaborative.

“(In B2B) you’re selling to individuals who are named — you know who they are, their purchasing guidelines and so on, versus selling toothpaste to millions of consumers,” he said. “B2B, marketers have the ability to know and talk to their customers on a regular basis. IT has to help them capture that in a way that improves the overall performance of the company.”

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.