October 27, 2021
At B2B technology companies, the CMO-CIO relationship takes a dramatic turn. Especially in enterprise tech, the CMO of a tech vendor often seeks advice from the CIO on how to message complex product features to the CIO buyer. If the CIO is heavily involved in product development, the CMO even serves at the behest of the CIO.
In other words, the proverbial shoe is on the other foot.
The same goes for new MarTech acquisition and execution. It stands to reason that a technology company will have a technology culture. That is, the company values the potential of technology to be a great change agent of business and society. The CIO and the IT function, along with MarTech, lie at the heart of digital transformation at tech companies. They’re highly regarded within the organization.
“We took the marketing technology team out of the marketing function in October last year and moved it into my portfolio,” says Dan Torunian, vice president of employee technology and experiences at PayPal. “We want to be a tightly integrated group between marketing, sales and service. That’s our North Star we’ve set for ourselves.”
Tech-vendor CMOs should take their cue from the CIO in order to take advantage of game-changing MarTech such as AI, automation and personalization. Pity the technology vendor whose omnichannel marketing blunders show tech-savvy customers just how poorly the vendor understands, integrates and implements technology.
It’s more important than ever for tech-vendor CMOs to work closely with CIOs to get MarTech right both now and in the future. A new CMO Council-KPMG study, Making High-Tech MarTech Pay Off, found that CMOs in “very effective” relationships with CIOs are more than twice as likely to have multi-year strategic MarTech plans in place and support those plans with 18-month or longer funding perspectives.
“We need to be coordinated to avoid too much technology, noise and chaos in the ecosystem, which ultimately ensures a positive customer experience,” says CIO Prakash Kota at Autodesk.
One of the cornerstones of technology culture is innovation. The CMO Council-KPMG study reflects this when it comes specifically to MarTech innovation. High-tech CMOs in “very effective” relationships with CIOs more actively engage in activities designed to provide insight into MarTech innovation, employ more innovation techniques, and participate in enterprise-wide technology innovation, the study found.
Another technology cornerstone is data-validated learning and iteration. Think: Lean Startup. The CMO Council-KPMG study found that two out of three high-tech CMOs in “very effective” relationships with CIOs regularly collect and provide insights and recommendations to continually improve MarTech performance.
Nic Brandenberger, former senior director of global marketing and brand at eBay, knows what can go wrong when marketing and IT aren’t in lockstep when acquiring MarTech. He says tech companies like eBay often avoid this problem — after all, technology is baked into the company culture — but others aren’t so lucky.
“It’s been my experience that the collaboration between marketing and the product organization is not as deep as it should be at many companies, resulting in a lot of after-the-fact cleanup and incompatibility that needs patching,” Brandenberger says. “Collaboration should start earlier to anticipate what the full stack will look like.”
On the upside, tech-vendor CMOs who get MarTech to pay off will have an easier time getting more budget, expanding the stack and being on the cutting edge.
That’s because tech vendors appreciate the value of technology. The CMO Council-KPMG study found that high-tech CMOs in “very effective” relationships with IT have the largest MarTech stacks (42% have over 100 solutions in the MarTech stack) and spend the highest percentage of their marketing budget on MarTech (53% spend over 30% of budget on MarTech).
“It’s about both getting what we need today, and about considering support for tomorrow,” Autodesk’s Kota says. “The whole stack is evolving so rapidly.”
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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