CIOs shouldn’t just provide IT services to their CMO colleagues, they should also strive to be emerging technology advisers and custodians of data strategy and integrity, one marketing chief claims.
During a recent interview with CIO’s sister publication, CMO, global CMO of enterprise storage vendor, Jonathan Martin, reflected on the changing nature of the relationship between the two executive roles as a result of digital connectivity.
According to Martin, CMOs are now wholly reliant on technology and automation in order to meet the needs and expectations of modern customers. That’s because the days of a traditional sales and marketing funnel, where customers progress linearly through awareness to consideration, purchase and advocacy, have been irrevocably disrupted thanks to digital.
To emphasis the point, Martin noted a recent Google Shopping report that found 3000 people all buying the same product took 3000 individual paths to reach a purchase decision.
“They’re looking at the same websites, reviews and analyst reports, but the way they string them together is completely unique,” he said.
Such complexity means it’s no longer possible for marketers to understand and engage with customers on such highly individualised journeys without technology and data insight to help them.
“I can’t just model the buyers’ journey – I don’t care how many people I throw at it, the only way is with tonnes of cutting-edge technology,” Martin said. “As a CMO, you have to understand architecturally how it [technology] all comes together, and what it does, the value proposition and how to utilise it.”
So where does this leave the role of the CIO? For Martin, it’s really important that CMOs and CIOs collaborate.
“Never have there been more options for CMOs to buy technology from different sources. If I’m going to have a CIO I work with, they have to provide some value to me other than just delivering IT services,” he said.
“Our Pure Storage CIO, Yousuf Khan, is an awesome guy for a couple of reasons. One, he’s so plugged into the venture capitalist community, so he knows where the VCs are investing, and he’s able to advise me on cool new marketing technology. He’s straddling the space between understanding my business problems, and having a deep understanding of the technology and being able to advise me around that.
“Rather than it be his or my responsibility, he also sees the future [of business technology] as requiring a hybrid approach. His advice to me is to pick whatever is best for my needs, just make sure he’s involved.”
As analytics becomes ever- more important to every function within an organisation, the relationship between business and IT becomes even more vital, Martin continued.
“Marketing teams in Australian organisations today will be trying to figure out how to use data analytics for customer engagement, and the sales and support teams will be doing the same thing,”he said. “A siloed approach is a disaster for an organisation. As a marketing person, I want all marketing data, sales data and support data, but if I’m a sales person, I’m going to want marketing data, support and sales – it’s the same thing.
“An organisation’s CIO needs to stand up and say: ‘I’m going to build the platform that will allow us to ingest all of this information, cleanse the data, I’ll do the managing of content, then provide some basic tools on top’.”
The really smart ones are also providing some surge capacity for data scientists, Martin added.
“It’s really hard to find data scientists, and if you do find one, it can take six months to get familiar with your data,” he said. “I don’t need a full-time, full suite of data scientists all the time either, so if I can tap into surge capacity and a pool that already understands our data sets as a company, that’s a great thing.”