CMO and CIO: The Power Couple of Mobile-First World

Pete Christothoulou, CEO, Marchex
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Pete Christothoulou, CEO, Marchex

Traditional organizational structures often create silos, as C-Suite executives typically prioritize their own functions. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is responsible for the technical direction of the company; the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is accountable for the administrative, financial, and risk management operations. The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) oversees the planning, development and execution of an organization's marketing and advertising activities.

However, in today’s digital, customer-centric world, this traditional approach is back firing due to the number of customer-facing touch points that fall under different leadership. Customers today use a variety of online and offline channels to engage with a brand and execute a purchase. As distinctions between purchase channels blur for the customer, companies must deliver a singular and seamless experience.

It is more important now than ever that executives evolve their strategies to align with the growth of Omni channel strategy. And what is more critical to the success of organizations across all industries is for the CMO and CIO to be allies in this evolution.

The CMO and CIO relationship is one of the most important C-Suite collaborations when it comes to delivering the kind of the digital experiences that customers now demand. With marketing and advertising technologies quickly progressing to help companies meet customer expectations, collaboration between the two is necessary, so all goals are aligned across technology, people and processes.

Mobile is Changing the Consumer Path to Purchase

Mobile phones have forever changed how consumers interact with brands and how brands interact with consumers. This indispensable tool provides various additional platforms-websites, apps, social networks and blogs- for consumers to gather information, enabling them to take a blended approach using a mix of channels best suited for their needs.

  The CIO and the CMO are the dream team in a mobile-first world, and organizations are realizing that success is contingent upon their collaboration 

The mobile phone is unique in that it is the bridge between the online world (i.e. the internet) and offline world (i.e. the real world). The device is used to interact with the real world through the internet; to ride with Uber, interact with iBeacons or click-to-call a business. As such, it has dramatically changed the consumer’s path to purchase.

Nearly every purchase a consumer makes is influenced by our mobile phones; in fact, mobile commerce sales in the U.S. are expected to reach $142 billion in 2016. Significantly more than $3 trillion spent by consumers offline, either in a store or over the phone, which is digitally-influenced. In 2019, consumers are expected to make more than 160 billion calls to businesses from smartphones, nearly double of today’s volume.

Despite this new flow of consumer dollars, marketers are struggling. The shifting behavior from online to offline has created a growing massive blind spot for them. The e-commerce strategies marketers have used to understand the mobile ecosystem have proved massively deficient.

Goals of the CMOs

According to CMOs, the top transformational project for the next five years will be a makeover of their digital and mobile platforms and programs for the purposes of ‘improved efficiency and campaign effectiveness.’ This is both a practical reality that digital programs are becoming a key priority for CMOs, and recognition that mobile is changing everything again.

On the one hand, mobile adds a lot of accurate customer data that marketers can put to good use. However, as consumers do not live separately in online and offline worlds, marketers must connect the various touch points that consumers make in order to create a complete customer profile. By combining online and offline data, marketers will have a deeper, more holistic picture of their customer in order to best engage with them individually.

Ultimately, marketers want meaningful relationships with loyal consumers, consisting of one-on-one communication and personalized interactions. Marketers understand that they must create amazing customer experiences in order to grow their business. The ability to create customer profiles based on data from the consumer’s entire journey empowers marketers to achieve these relationships with their customers.

Enter the CIO

There is a big opportunity for the CIO’s department to partner with marketing and develop a customer data strategy, and to advance data-driven decision making across the organization. The CIO has the necessary tools, or the power to bring in the necessary tools, to extract the insight from all of the customer’s information. Through the collection, analysis and distribution of data throughout the customer lifecycle, they can help create comprehensive customer profiles.

These profiles offer marketing a more holistic view of their customers based on their purchases, interactions and preferences. This, in turn, provides powerful intelligence to drive targeted campaigns to engage and motivate consumers. Furthermore, it allows brands to identify and better understand their customers, therefore giving them the ability to sustain engaging human connections with customers at every interaction, both on and offline.

It is no longer just the marketing department taking the IT department for granted. As marketing becomes more data driven, these two business functions can work together to drive real revenue growth by better serving existing customers and attracting new customers through innovative and engaging customer experiences.

The Dream Team

The CIO and the CMO are the dream team in a mobile-first world, and organizations are realizing that success is contingent upon their collaboration. Combined, their complementary expertise and resources can better cater to today’s digital savvy consumers. By aligning around customer demand and desires, the CMO and CIO can ensure the company is unified in meeting customers’ digital expectations.

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