A CMO and CIO Walk Into A Bar

Hi, my name is Rebecca and I am in marketing.

Now it’s your turn to say, “Hi Rebecca.”

I am a marketer. And while you may associate my role with trade shows and parties – of Mad Men like meetings consisting of artwork, taglines and of course scotch (on the rocks – not tape), you’d understand only a fraction of what I have become responsible for.

I am a marketer. I am responsible for top line growth, for acquisition and retention strategies. I am responsible for product rollouts and sales enablement. I am responsible for customer relationships and brand management. Oh, and occasionally I get to host a party and drink scotch (but alas not in the office, feet on the coffee table, reclining on my office couch with my shoes off – total bummer by the way).

I am a marketer. My role is strategic. I am under pressure to deliver bottom line results. I look for growth, I plan for growth, I execute on growth plans, and I own the constituent experience.

And lately, my purchasing power has been growing faster than the purchase power of IT, two times faster. While IT struggles to do more with less while maintaining legacy systems, I have been making a case for bigger investments in technology to support the speed of business required to acquire and retain customers.
At first I tried to work with IT. But they were slammed with other important projects like maintaining and integrating legacy systems.

So rather than waiting for IT, I went around them. From servers to programming, web and video hosting, from marketing automation, sales enablement and CRMs, web and video conferencing to mobile applications and learning management systems, I selected vendors, signed agreements, implemented and rolled out hundreds of thousands of dollars of cloud services.

Now, I’ll admit, for all the self-service power I had gained, as marketers we struggle with reverse-engineering integration and supporting virtual servers. We don’t really understand the risk associated with infrastructure and how to maintain and secure our assets properly. And IT suffers because of our inadequacies.

My story is not different from most. Gartner has predicted that CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs by 2017, and I believe it. The good news for IT is that as the organization transitions to the IT-as-a-Service model, it puts the burden (and risk) of vendor selection on lines of business while as VMware so eloquently states “…allowing IT to contribute to the overall strategy of the business…. to apply greater resources to initiatives that grow the business rather than simply maintain current operations.”

But to do that requires that IT and marketing work together; that the CMO and the CIO collaborate to harness the power of integrated solutions. And that is where you come in. As a seller, you need to consider the risks versus rewards of staying with business as usual, bypassing internal IT (or marketing) to get to the business buyer, or acting as a bridge between the CMO and CIO.

IT is now critical to marketing’s success and IT fears marketing’s misunderstanding of the need for a long-term vision. By potentially selecting solutions that may not be easily integrated into the back office, marketing’s ability to deliver the types of cross-channel programming that customers’ demand may be greatly inhibited.

It’s my position that the best sellers posses a facility to bridge the Marketing and IT gap. It is the CMO’s mission to help the CIO transition to the IT-as-a-Service model while concurrently driving the business units to meet its growth objectives. All in all that just means more money in your pocket. And just like those Mad Men of old, I would much rather have the budget to wear Tiffanys’ Blue than Target Red!

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