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If companies want to connect with today’s hyper-connected consumers, they need to better bridge the gap between their chief marketing officers and their chief information officers. This alignment will become increasingly critical as companies try to woo consumers across new channels that include mobile devices and social networks. But 60 percent of marketers point to their lack of alignment with the IT department as the biggest obstacle to reaching these consumers, a new study shows.
A IBM survey of more than 350 marketers across a wide range of industries and geographies found that slightly more than half (51 percent) of respondents who identified their companies as high-performing indicated that they have a good relationship between IT and marketing, 10 percent higher than other companies.
This figure validates the importance of the marketing and IT alliance that gives top performers greater responsibilities for the products and services, price, place and promotion (the 4P's), and communication across the purchasing cycle, IBM said. As a result, marketers from these higher performing companies are nearly three times more likely to be leaders in driving their organization's customer experience across all channels.
While new social media and mobile devices are vital, 41 percent of CMOs said that keeping pace with the growth of these channels and devices will be their biggest challenge over the next three to five years. This finding follows IBM's 2011 CMO study where 65 percent of CMOs said that they are under-prepared for the growth of social and online channels such as Facebook and Twitter and new devices like smartphones and tablets.
While 48 percent of respondents believe that improved technology infrastructure or software will enable them to do more, nearly 60 percent indicated that lack of IT alignment and integration are significant barriers to the adoption of technology. This void further reinforces the notion that CMOs and CIOs must create stronger, more aligned relationships.
"This research indicates that as new channels continue to mature and consumer habits evolve, marketing and IT have no alternative but to emerge from their traditional silos and form a strong partnership that puts the business in a position to succeed," said Yuchun Lee, vice president of IBM's enterprise marketing management group. "CMOs and CIOs, an 'odd couple' in some respects, will be the catalysts in forging this union and enabling the types of personalized multichannel brand relationships that today's customers demand, Lee said."