Digital transformation is sweeping over every industry across all verticals. Technology is always changing, and digital channels have redefined marketing. In 2017 and beyond, the power of digital disruption will only be realised by those organisations where the CIO engages ceaselessly with the CMO to define, create and drive the digital enterprise. From 100 marketing technology vendors in 2011, the industry has ballooned to over 5000 vendors in 2017. And this figure is only set to rise. The shift to digital requires the CIO as well as the CMO to reinvent themselves and their organisations and work together or become irrelevant.

The mandate is clear – IT and Marketing need to lead the charge in a data-driven, digitally driven world. In fact, according to Gartner’s 2017 CEO Survey, most CEOs expect their CIOs commitment to help drive the scaling-up of digital business. On the other hand, Jake Sorofman, Research Vice President for Gartner for Marketers says that they have observed an extension of the CMO mandate, from a promotional role to what is now often seen as the growth engine for the business.

Interestingly, marketing and IT face several common challenges. For instance, both teams need to justify every dollar spent, in an increasingly complex scenario. Marketing as well as IT has been asked to do more with less, and are dealing with significant change in consumer behaviour. They risk being sidelined by new technologies if they don’t keep pace with the rate of change and finally, both departments are facing a severe talent crunch when it comes to implementing these new technologies.

A joint study by Forrester and Forbes on the CIO and CMO partnership revealed that the CMO and CIO enjoy mutual trust but only half of them collaborate well. Since the CIOs and CMOs share common deliverables as well as common challenges, here are three crucial ways IT and Marketing can work together to deliver results that matter.

Drive Customer-Centric Innovation Throughout the Organization

Technology has become the strong bridge between the customer and the brand. Customers are no longer content with buying what has been made. They want to buy through channels that they prefer and products that can be highly personalised. Marketing and IT play a crucial role in winning customers rather than pushing products, spearheading a fundamental shift in mindset to solving problems.

Marketing provides the insights that are required to know what customers want and IT provides the tools to create a desirable product. For instance, while “Touch” is a key aspect of the customer experience today, tomorrow, it may be “Voice.” Irrespective of whether you are a start-up or a well-established enterprise, in the B2B or B2C space, there is always something that technology can do, to enable the customer experience. This makes it easier for the CMO to tell the story.

Three Areas of Discussion to Improve Customer Experience:

  • What programs are we pursuing to investigate and develop the ideal customer experience?
  • How are we developing collaborative relationships with customers?
  • Are we leveraging user patterns to create a unique customer experience?

Lead the Social Revolution: Drive the Socially-Enabled Enterprise

Being “Social” is no longer about keeping in touch with people you know, or even creating a brand page on Facebook, Twitter and hundreds of other social media sites. There is a shift in customer engagement – from isolated translations to deep social relationships. Social is the new normal. For those who seize the opportunity, it can become a powerful weapon to dramatically change every aspect of the organisation – from sales and customer service to product development and employee productivity.

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Sachin Bhatia
Chief Marketing Officer, Asia Pacific

Sachin Bhatia is Head of Marketing for Asia Pacific at Lenovo Data Center Group. He has over sixteen years of professional experience in integrated marketing, having developed and executed regional marketing programs for leading IT and Banking brands.