Sophie Chen
Aug 29, 2013

Disconnect between CMOs and CIOs in Asia-Pacific threatens marketing effectiveness: Accenture

SINGAPORE - Fewer than 10 per cent of top marketing and IT executives believe collaboration between their corporate functions is sufficient, according to a study by Accenture.

Disconnect between CMOs and CIOs in Asia-Pacific threatens marketing effectiveness: Accenture

The CMO-CIO Disconnect Asia-Pacific survey was conducted in 2012 with 62 senior marketing executives and 43 senior IT executives across Australia, China and Singapore.

The findings revealed that a higher percentage of CIOs and CMOs in Asia-Pacific (88 per cent) believe in the importance of marketing and IT alignment than their global counterparts (64 per cent), while CIOs (35 per cent) in the region are twice as prepared as CMOs (15 per cent) in facing the digital future.

Forty-two per cent of CMOs regard the lack of understanding from senior management as the key obstacle to leverage digital channels, whereas 50 per cent of CIOs are challenged with solution complexity and integration difficulties, as well as insufficient funding for digital marketing channels.

Marketing executives see the relationship with the IT organisation as having improved much more than their relations with most other C-Suite organisations. This is not the case for CIOs in the region. CMOs rank CIOs No.3 in importance while CIOs rank CMOs No.6.

CMOs believe collaboration is needed as technology is essential for improving the entire customer experience as well as marketing automation, but CIOs rank privacy and security considerations around customer data as one of the top drivers for alignment. 

“The CMO and CIO continue to work in silos, but now more than ever bridging the gap between those two organisations is critical for success,” said Marco Ryan, managing director, ASEAN, Accenture Interactive. “With today’s multichannel consumer seeking highly relevant experiences and with digital and analytics platforms emerging to help companies respond, marketing and IT executives must work more closely together.”  

The study showed that when it comes to the level of online and offline integration, almost half of CIOs (44 per cent) believe it’s complete across all functions, but only 18 per cent of CMOs think the same way.

There is also a transparency and alignment gap between IT and marketing in the way they each see the position of marketing IT priorities in the IT organisation. The study found that within their IT priorities, nearly three of four CIOs put marketing IT near or at the top, but CMOs don't agree.

The report revealed both functions feel dissatisfied with their collaboration on a marketing initiative, as 44 per cent of CMOs say that IT deliverables fall short of the desired outcome, and 67 per cent of CIOs say marketing does not provide an adequate level of detail to meet business requirements.

In addition, CMOs appear to have a “trust deficit” with the IT organisation while CIOs appear to be facing a “skill deficit” in their organisations. While 54 per cent of CMOs say IT keep marketing out of the loop, 54 per cent of CIOs found lack of expertise and knowledge in IT organisation.

“C-suite decision-makers face a variety of challenges when collaborating, ranging from a lack of trust to differing business goals,” Ryan said. “These issues must be resolved to turn a company’s digital marketing capabilities into a platform for market differentiation, business growth, and profitability.”

The study showed more than half of CMOs and CIOs in Asia-Pacific spend more than 30 per cent of their budget on technology-enabled marketing, while about 49 per cent of marketers and 44 per cent of IT executives have a marketing budget over $500 million.

Overall, both CMOs and CIOs feel the need for collaboration, even though there are significant disagreements on what drives alignment. A majority of CMOs (60 per cent) and CIOs (72 per cent) in the region believe their relationship has improved over the past year, according to the survey.

CMOs (73 per cent) and CIOs (81 per cent) also share the same view on the importance of technology in marketing—that it allows access to customer insights and intelligence which is crucial to the organisations’ competitive advantage. 

“To succeed in the digital age, CMOs must place an immediate focus on technology to improve relevant customer experiences and advance marketing practices,” Ryan said. “The good news is that CMOs and CIOs agree technology is important. Now they must work together to agree on how technology can be most appropriately applied to drive their company’s specific marketing needs, and how it can ultimately result in increased brand affinity, loyalty and sales growth.”

To strengthen two parties’ alignment and improve collaboration, the study suggested:

  • CIOs need to give CMOs higher priority in the C Suite and focus more on building the relationship to exploit digital marketing opportunities.
  • A greater degree of alignment between CMOs and CIOs on key drivers for marketing-IT integration needs to be put on their agendas and in their annual investment plans.
  • CMOs need to involve CIOs while planning new marketing investments and should consider IT as a strategic partner not just a delivery platform. Both need to find ways to reduce solution complexity.
  • Both need to look at their teams and ensure that the marketing organisation becomes more tech-savvy and the IT organisation becomes more agile and responsive to market demands.

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