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The Connection Between CIOs and CMOs

Posted by Catherine Tabor on June 24th, 2014 at 9:23 am

Traditionally, there has not been much overlap between the day-to-day activity of a CIO and a CMO. The stereotypical CIO is often seen as a computer geek, focused on complicated IT, infrastructure and database systems that are hard to understand, and, even when the CIO interacts with another member of management, it is probably the CEO or COO, not the CMO.

Over the last five to ten years, however, marketing and advertising has become infused with data, and an arms race has emerged in which there is a constant need to acquire more data and analyze it in new and better ways. To marketers, the CIO is no longer a tech geek, but a powerful partner that can provide them the data they need to gain a leg up on their competitors.

When CMOs and CIOs work together today, the conversation usually turns to untapped sources of data. What systems and processes can our company invest in or develop to obtain more data?

This approach to data is a relatively new phenomenon, and represents a step forward in digital marketing. In the early days of both online and mobile, the goal was to reach consumers on new devices and in new environments, but there was not much strategy behind that. The introduction of cookies and retargeting helped power a new value proposition that online advertising brings to marketers, and in mobile today, the use of location and social data to drive targeting (especially across screens), powers a unique differentiation point and is driving more dollars into the space.

The idea of looking for new data sources is the next evolution of data driven advertising.  One strategy that is evolving quickly is leveraging data to connect digital advertising to physical actions.

When someone watches a movie trailer, it is great to be able to see that they directly bought a ticket from Fandango, but what if that consumer decided to simply go to the theater and buy a ticket in-person? This action is certainly no less valuable for the movie studio, yet the studio may not be able to track that the distribution of the trailer actually moved the needle with ticket sales.

This is where the CIO comes in. CIOs today are implementing back-end systems that can enable cross-platform tracking and actually prove that marketing dollars are working. Additionally, data can allow brands to compare the effectiveness of different types of advertising, or different media partners, and see which ad buys are performing the best to optimize on them and weed out the poor performers.

In the same way that Sales departments have long depended on Marketing to give them the air cover they need to drive business, CMOs are depending on CIOs to provide the data that will give them the insights needed to drive future decisions, and actually prove that marketing dollars are working.

The most effective organizations will have a CIO and CMO working hand-in-hand, and as we continue to uncover new channels for data discovery, this relationship will only grow in importance.

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