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CMO vs. CIO? The future of marketing + IT

Central Desktop

Just a few years ago, asking the question whether the CIO and CMO roles were merging would have been madness. They couldn’t have been further apart. The CMO was a key part of a company’s leadership team, driving performance and changing the course of the organization, while in most cases the CIO didn’t even have a seat at the table.

That’s no longer the case – or, at least, that’s what we’ve been led to believe. If you believe Gartner’s January 2012 report entitled “By 2017 the CMO will Spend More on IT Than the CIO” and IBM’s annual CIO surveys, it would seem these two roles are on a collision course. Is it true?

The role of the CMO is changing. Not necessarily because CMOs want to change, but because market conditions are forcing them to adapt. Today’s marketing is increasingly digital in nature - AdWeek anticipates digital will make up “between 25 percent and 49 percent of…overall media mix” in 2013 – and with the adoption of digital marketing come a new set of skills and priorities. Digital marketing is driven by data, made relevant through personalization, creates communities through social media, and evolves through analytics.

As a result, traditional marketers are being replaced by “Marketing Technologists“ – a hybrid-breed that is part marketer and part IT guru – indeed, IDC predicts that: “Starting in 2013, after the CMO realizes that he/she does not have the skill sets in place for data analytics proficiency, 50% of new marketing hires will have technical backgrounds.” Whether this is accurate remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt that a major shift in the make-up of marketing departments is taking place.

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