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Why CIOs and CMOs need to be joined at the hip

What do CIOs and CMOs have in common? I’m not going to roll out the studies, but we keep seeing the same numbers–that the two C-level executives with the shortest tenures are CIOs and CMOs. So, yeah, they have that in common.

But that’s not the most important thing they have in common. The most important thing they have in common is digital marketing. And if they would somehow start buddying up to each other a lot more, maybe they would extend each other’s tenure.

Some of the clients I work with do this right. The marketing organization is in lock-step with the technology team. Marketing automation, digital content, Big Data, and five other intersections of technology and marketing are at the forefront of what they do. Those companies are moving in the right direction, even if they don’t get every decision right.

But I have worked with a couple of other companies that have those silos up. And the interaction between marketing and technology consists mainly of loud demands and finger-pointing. I admit to a multiple times where I had to gently (OK, a couple of times not so gently) sit down the warring parties and help them remember that they have actual competitors outside their hallowed walls that would be thrilled to see how they are behaving–and customers that would be disgusted.

I’ve seen a few companies that are even creating Chief Digital Officers–CDOs–to ensure that this partnership really takes hold by having another executive on the team. CDOs are typically charged with transforming the experience of both employees and customers to a more digital one. Motorola even named Eduardo Conrado the Vice President of Marketing and IT (which ought to make cooperation just a little easier), apparently such an new idea that he was later named Chief Innovation Officer.

Regardless of who you are, what you do, or where you sit, if you aren’t reaching out to your counterpart in the other group, you are missing the boat. Given the trends we are seeing, digital isn’t optional in marketing anymore. And no tech team can afford to remain a “cost center”–not driving revenue.

Whether this match was made in heaven or hell is up to you, but you have little choice but to merge technology and marketing if you want to be successful. And if you don’t think you are working in a place where that can happen, I’d start looking for a place where it can.

Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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