In parts 1 & 2 of this blog series, we discussed the potential merging of the roles of the CMO and CIO into a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) role and the factors driving this change. Let’s now look at strategies a CMO can use to accommodate a changing role.
As digital technology continues to advance and improve, it’s imperative for the CMO to stay abreast of tech implications on marketing strategy. While obtaining a degree in IT is neither necessary nor feasible, forging a close relationship with the IT staff is absolutely a must.
A report released by Accenture Interactive in July found that among 1,100 senior marketing and IT executives from around the world, relationships between the two groups have improved over the past year. And 23% of the respondents felt that collaboration between marketing and IT was currently at the right level, up 10% from last year’s survey. So, while things have improved between the two groups, there is more work to be done. Collaboration is mandatory as marketing becomes more enabled by technology.
To reiterate a point made in last month’s article, the marketing technologist is an increasingly essential member of the marketing team. Every marketing organization must become technology‐savvy. More than any time in the past, good marketing management means good technology management – a necessary component that provides differentiation and competitive advantage. A CMO can’t delegate technology decisions to IT or others — it’s just too important to long-term marketing successes.
A CDO needs a broad range of experiences, competencies and qualities such as:
- Being a free thinker who’s willing to experiment (based on data) and move on from failure
- Being able to quickly adapt
- Having the ability to move in an agile manner among all departments in the organization
- Being able to communicate in the “language” of various departments and disciplines within the organization and interpret complicated technology concepts for all stakeholders
- Having cross functional expertise (marketing and technology)
- The ability to be persuasive, adaptable and visionary.
Digital transformation is happening all around us. To be successful, the CDO must make sure that digital is more than an afterthought. And, marketers of the future must be ambidextrous” and able to seamlessly think and act across all realities — digital or not.