A CIO-CMO Disconnect: Answers

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A CIO-CMO Disconnect
A CIO-CMO Disconnect
  • Kurt Andersen, EVP of sales enablement and marketing, SAVO

Customers and prospects often are making choices based on experiences with the sales or customer service teams. Frye understands this trend, but it's clear that Carbone either does not or is unwilling to acknowledge it when it comes to making purchasing decisions.

So, Frye's approach should be twofold:

1. She should assign a team to take stock of all the technologies in use at Rocket Toys, being sure to focus on the tools used by sales and customer service. The team should determine which solutions can integrate with one another, along with what tools see the most use and success, and develop a retirement plan for those that don't fit.

2. Frye should present this plan to Carbone with a detailed roadmap for implementing any new tools. Carbone obviously responds to quick ROI, so Frye must appeal to his sense of action. Instead of offering to help select a marketing automation tool, she should pick one she knows will work and demonstrate how it can be quickly deployed and integrated to capitalize on what's already generating revenue. Carbone wants goals met, and through system integration goals can be tracked and tied back to specific actions taken in the field.

  • Alex Lustberg, CMO, Lyris

Carbone feels the need for speed—not just today, but tomorrow and every day. As a result, he's moved quickly to purchase and deploy diverse applications to manage customer and prospect interactions in every channel. However, because the relationship between Carbone and his customers is increasingly mediated by digital systems, automation and coordination of those systems is essential. Deploying a new marketing automation system in its own silo, without consideration of critical workflow and data integration needs, risks creating a disconnected customer experience and puts Carbone's hard-earned success at risk.

This is Carbone's blind spot and Frye's opportunity to show how she can help accelerate marketing success with a platform-based approach that enables customer-centric campaign planning, testing, execution, and measurement across channels. Specifically, Frye should propose a digital marketing integration platform that will allow Rocket Toys to access all marketing functionality available across its marketing automation and other existing systems and empower Carbone and his team to orchestrate business logic and data flows that will deliver timely and meaningful engagement across every touchpoint. The relevance of messages will increase while the time and cost of delivering new capabilities will decrease.

  • Carlos Miranda Durand, revenue science fellow, FedEx

Here are my suggestions for Frye:

Proactively develop and socialize a vision. It would be ideal if Carbone is open to collaborate, so it's great that Frye started there. But even if he isn't open, it's Frye's responsibility as CIO to develop short-and long-term IT architecture visions and socialize them with key stakeholders. Frye needs to create a burning platform illustrating the current state with all its limitations. Then she needs to show a future-state vision with the benefits that it will bring to the company, as well as the requirements and implications and a high-level roadmap. Frye should take the initiative and task her team to evaluate various marketing automation tools. She could then propose a few concrete alternatives that fit well in the future state.

Engage all key stakeholders, not just the CMO. The IT vision needs to be shared with Carbone and also with the CEO, sales leadership, customer service leadership, operations, finance, and other relevant influencers. Meet with each stakeholder and incorporate their inputs. The IT strategy should not exist in the vacuum, but be informed by the business strategy. It needs to become a “shared vision.”

Map the motivations. Highlight the implications that each stakeholder will find most relevant. For the CMO, time to market is paramount and Frye needs to speak to that point. For finance it may be the cost of purchasing the software, integrating it with the rest of company systems, and maintaining all those interfaces/platforms over the next five years. The message needs to be tailored to the audience.

Lead with patience and determination. The company isn't going to change in one day or after one project. So don't give up if it takes time for some people to understand and buy in to the vision; continue to engage with them one day at a time. This is a long-term endeavor.

  • Tom Wentworth, CMO, Acquia

Rocket Toys is likely to run into problems that will inhibit the agility of Carbone's marketing team to make the most of the firm's digital assets, marketing tools, and data. Carbone's looking for agility; that's why he's trying to move fast in the first place. But his marketing department could suffer if he doesn't engage with Frye and consider the potential long-term consequences of this technology choice. Speed now may hinder speed in the future for a wider array of digital marketing projects.

Carbone is likely not without options, but issues of integration and scalability need to be his priority too, not just Frye's. It's actually hard to imagine that Carbone's willing to bring in another system without consideration of available integrations and open APIs. There are many systems that help a marketing organization run, and CMOs need to be vested in maximizing those investments. Though many CMOs already do, CIOs can actually take this a step further by teaching their colleagues who are in other leadership areas about the importance of open, flexible systems.

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