The Real Battle – Going Beyond the Tech Budget Debate
If 2012 was the year of Big Data, 2013 could be termed as the year of the CMO-CIO debate thanks to the famous quote from Gartner – “CMOs having more budget than the CIOs by 2017”. I can hardly remember any conference in 2013 that did not have that topic on the agenda and to be quite honest I spoke at some of them myself.
For me however, that statement has always had a fundamental flaw since in most Fortune 500 companies, neither function really “owns” the budget, both are in the service of the brands or business that has the P&L. So it has never been a budget issue for me but more a capability gap that exists in the industry primarily thanks to the pace of disruption that has happened in the last 10 years.
I could continue to debate on whether this statement had any basis or rationale behind it or if the statement did more harm than good to the industry at large. But one thing is certain that it created a lot of buzz, awareness and acknowledgment of the disruption happening at the intersection of marketing and technology. It brought a realization within the C-Suite to evolve the conventional thinking around consumer experiences and engagement and the role marketing technology and data or marketing technologists and data scientists will play in forming a new way of marketing, call it data driven or agile or real time or adaptive. It is modern marketing lead by a modern marketer, 2 concepts I recently wrote about on my blog – Modern Marketing in an Era of Convergence and DNA of a Modern Marketer
Now, that said, you would assume if the whole world has been talking and writing about it, the CMOs and CIOs who are industry thought leaders in their own space, would know that too? Of course they do and from what I have seen, most of the leading organizations are already AHEAD of this challenge at least in terms of being consciously aware of the challenge and the opportunity that lies ahead and the strong need to collaborate and drive convergence from a skills, capability and organization standpoint.
I also believe that just adding additional “C” level titles (CDOs, CXOs, CMTOs and probably more) and roles isn’t the solution. In fact it’s ironic that in trying to drive convergence across the different functions, we will end up fragmenting it even more. We all just get infatuated and excited about the “C” titles, they do sound fancy don’t they? On a serious note though, the titles are just semantics, the key is to fill the gap and bring a mindset shift in being able to evolve traditional marketing and technology models to enable brand building in a digital world. So I hope we continue to look beyond the budget issue or non-issue and start focusing on a converging ecosystem that starts and ends with the customer and her overarching experience.
To that effect, I recently spoke at the Economist Big Rethink in New York and in had a wonderful opportunity to share the stage with Liza Landsman, EVP, CMO E*Trade Financial and Gerri Martin-Flickinger, SVP and CIO, Adobe to discuss the how the C-Suite is adopting and adapting to this change. Here are some additional links to the event: