CMOs and CIOs told to compromise for customers’ sake

Published on the 28/05/2014 | Written by Newsdesk

Chief marketing officers and chief information officers need to come to a compromise about technology risk or lose the attention and interest of their customers…

Since 2012 when Gartner first forecast that chief marketing officers would outspend chief information officers on IT by 2017, the flames have been fanned between the two camps as CMOs argue CIOs don’t move fast enough and CIOs warn of the dangers of siloed marketing applications and data.

But according to Darren Guarnaccia, chief strategy officer of Sitecore and self-described customer experience management expert, the key difference between the two camps is that, “CIOs are all about avoiding risk, CMOs are all about taking risk”.

“The pendulum has been moving toward the CMO, but there will be a point where it has moved too far,” he warned, which would limit the quality of marketing systems.
CMOs and CIOs needed to find a way to compromise he said so that marketing systems could be deployed which integrated safely with ERP and CRM systems to deliver better solutions than standalone marketing applications.

Sitecore, which sells “customer experience management” software, sees its system as a form of safe glue between the disciplines, allowing CMOs to quickly roll out innovative solutions that can safely interface with existing enterprise systems.

Guarnaccia, who was visiting Australia from the US this week, said that there was still plenty of room for marketers to innovate, but warned that to be effective organisations should not simply throw technology at a problem, but really give thought to what a customer needed. Too often that was not happening he warned.

“I bought an air conditioner and for three weeks on Facebook and LinkedIn I was getting advertisements to say ‘buy this air conditioner’. Home Depot knows I bought it. Please for the love of God offer me something different,” said Guarnaccia, noting that fresh offer could be a service plan, or tips on how to run the device more efficiently.

Noting that he had bought an air conditioner and offering to sell him another made no sense.

He said that organisations increasingly collected information about customer behaviour which they needed to sensibly “surface and make actionable”.

It was also important he said to make sure the information was served up in the most appropriate format for customers, which was increasingly mobile. He said that about 30 percent of online transactions were now emanating from mobile devices – a figure he expected would eventually reach 50 percent.

Robert Holliday, managing director of Sitecore in Australia and New Zealand, said that many companies still did not have mobile-friendly websites. However he said that some organisations were moving to an entirely mobile environment, adding that Sitecore had just completed a project for an online gambling organisation in Australia that would only be served onto mobile devices.

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