IT, Marketing Must Overcome Differences to Drive Growth

Ann All

Back in December, my IT Business Edge colleague Susan Hall wrote about Gartner's IT predictions for 2011-2015. One she flagged as especially interesting involved CIO compensation being tied to revenue generation. Given that, perhaps it's not surprising that CIOs are increasingly looking to partner with their peers in marketing organizations.


IT/marketing partnerships will become more common, writes Forrester Research analyst Nigel Fenwick on his blog, as companies recognize the importance of optimizing customer relationships. This will require an "an obsessive focus" on customer data, to help companies tailor their product and service offerings to individual customers. Fenwick calls it "the biggest opportunity for IT to impact business results since the dawn of the Internet."


Fenwick and Forrester colleague Luca Paderni jointly conducted research examining the growing imperative for the two functions to work together. Negative stereotypes about each other present a major hurdle for both sides to overcome, writes Paderni on his blog.


Such stereotypes are pretty ingrained, as I noted when I wrote about a survey of marketing and IT leaders administered by the Chief Marketing Officer Council earlier this year. Among the "highlights":

  • Only 54 percent of CMOs think their CIO understands marketing requirements.
  • Just 25 percent of CMOs said they consulted with enterprise IT or other back-office groups when selecting marketing systems.
  • 46 percent of CMOs said the marketing function was not a priority for IT.


The important thing, says Paderni, is that marketing and IT leaders recognize the need to address these kinds of issues. And best practices are beginning to emerge. He mentions several in his blog post:

  • Both teams are creating new roles that help foster alignment.
  • IT organizations are increasingly using agile development methodologies, which is helping them respond to marketing's need for speed.
  • Senior management is putting a higher value on data.

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