August 18, 2021
Over the years, I’ve interviewed lots of CMOs and CIOs about their rocky relationship. They basically tell me the same thing: “Oh, I have a great relationship today, but not so much the last place I worked.” If you read between the lines, it’s obvious that the CMO-CIO relationship continues to flounder. It’s a constant battle over resources and stature.
Now all of this is coming to a head.
The problem today lies in MarTech, which companies are banking on to help them recover from the pandemic. MarTech is most effective when CMOs and CIOs are in lockstep, a cornerstone CMO Council and KPMG study found. This casts a white-hot spotlight on the CMO-CIO relationship. There’s no more time for false fronts and fake fixes. CEOs are tired of waiting. The working relationship must get righted.
Interestingly, many moons ago, in 2014, I wrote a story for CIO.com, Inside the Minds — and Personalities — of CIOs and CMOs. I worked with Myers-Briggs to understand the differences between the CIO and CMO. Keep in mind the 16 personality types in the Myers-Briggs system are not stereotypes, rather natural inclinations toward particular preferences. I braced myself for some wild swings.
But to my surprise, I found a whole lot of similarities.
The CMO personality type is ENTJ: “Frank, decisive, assume leadership readily. Quickly see illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems. Enjoy long-term planning and goal setting. Usually well informed, well read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.” (Myers-Briggs)
The CIO personality type is ESTJ: “Practical, realistic, matter-of-fact. Decisive, quickly move to implement decisions. Organize projects and people to get things done, focus on getting results in the most efficient way possible. Take care of routine details. Have a clear set of logical standards, systematically follow them and want others to also. Forceful in implementing their plans.” (Myers-Briggs)
In hindsight, the commonalities shouldn’t have come as a surprise. After all, both the CMO and CIO hold executive leadership positions. They’re responsible for managing teams, making weighty decisions, taking bold action, and delivering outcomes critical to the success of a business. You’d think they would be able to work together as powerful executives with a common goal, that is, the success of the business.
Yet the CIO and CMO have continued to butt heads. Is this a left-brain vs. right-brain sort of thing? That’s a little too easy. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between ESTJ and ENTJ.
From what I can tell, the ESTJ-type CIO tends to look more to the present, pay attention to detail, and rely on what worked in the past. The ENTJ-type CMO tends to look more to the future, see the big picture, and seek innovative ways to do things. Knowing this, should the CIO and CMO try to meet in the middle? Not a good idea.
For MarTech to make good on its lofty promises, a company needs both perspectives. Too little attention to detail, and you’ll end up with a Frankenstack. Too much reliance on the past, and you’ll miss the window of opportunity. Together, the CIO and CMO make a great team.
“Technologists know the art of what’s possible but don’t always possess the art of knowing what has to be done,” a global CIO of a well-known tech company told me.
So what, specifically, should the CMO and CIO do to take their relationship to the next level for the sake of MarTech? Well, I’m glad I asked.
The CMO Council and KPMG just released an amazing report on this. I’ve covered CMOs and CIOs for decades and can tell you that this report has groundbreaking insights. Check it out: Making MarTech Pay Off: Future of MarTech Depends on CMO-CIO Relationships.
Inside the report, you’ll find what a “very effective” CMO-CIO relationship looks like, how it’s structured and governed, what types of MarTech capabilities and outcomes it effectuates, how MarTech capabilities impact the CMO role, and much more. Don’t miss it.
Tom Kaneshige is the Chief Content Officer at the CMO Council. He creates all forms of digital thought leadership content that helps growth and revenue officers, line of business leaders, and chief marketers succeed in their rapidly evolving roles. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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