Published on October 29, 2023, 9:48 pm

TLDR: A survey by Gartner shows that 61% of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) lack the internal capabilities needed to effectively execute marketing strategies. This highlights the need for cross-functional partnerships and specifically identifies issues in utilizing marketing technology (martech) due to talent recruitment challenges and underinvestment in training. CMOs should establish effective partnerships with Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Chief Technology Officers (CTOs), and Data and Analytics (D&A) leaders to overcome these challenges. To cultivate successful cross-functional partnerships, CMOs should focus on building a shared digital vision, creating a technology-agnostic business capability map, embracing a shift from projects to products, enabling democratized digital delivery, and co-creating governance for "marketing-led" digital projects. Implementing these best practices will help CMOs overcome resource challenges and deliver impactful marketing strategies aligned with organizational goals.

In a recent survey conducted by Gartner, it was revealed that 61% of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) lack the necessary in-house capabilities to effectively deliver their strategies. This highlights the resource challenge faced by marketing teams and the need for cross-functional partnerships.

One major area that consumes a significant portion of the marketing expense budget is martech. However, issues such as talent recruitment challenges and under-investment in training have resulted in underutilization of martech and other return on investment (ROI) challenges.

To address these challenges, CMOs must establish effective partnerships with Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Chief Technology Officers (CTOs), and Data and Analytics (D&A) leaders. Aparajita Mazumdar, a principal researcher in the Gartner marketing practice, emphasizes that failure to partner effectively with IT and D&A counterparts will hinder the development of crucial digital capabilities, such as omnichannel journey orchestration and personalization, which are essential for delivering exceptional customer experiences.

To cultivate successful cross-functional partnerships, here are five best practices for CMOs:

1. Build a shared digital vision for the future: Collaborate with CIOs to define key digital ambitions, critical business objectives, and success metrics. This alignment framework should include a shared vision, identification of high-priority customers, strategies for winning in target markets, necessary capabilities, and internal systems required to achieve success.

2. Create a technology-agnostic business capability map: To avoid redundant technologies and underutilization issues, CMOs and CIOs should co-create a technology-agnostic map that aligns with their digital vision. Regular martech audits, joint business case development, and coordinated talent-hiring decisions between IT and marketing can help ensure alignment.

3. Embrace the shift from projects to products: Leading companies are adopting a product-oriented operating model within both martech and IT domains to innovate business capabilities and enhance customer experiences. By 2024, Gartner predicts that more than three-quarters of digital business leaders will have transitioned to product portfolio management, promoting shared accountability and multidisciplinary teams responsible for specific aspects of the customer journey.

4. Build awareness and enable democratized digital delivery: The pandemic has accelerated the need for democratized digital delivery, empowering non-IT employees or “business technologists” to leverage technology tools in their everyday work. Successful companies that embrace this approach are 2.6 times more likely to launch and complete digital initiatives faster with increased time to value. Educating C-suite executives and senior IT leaders about the benefits of this approach is crucial, as it requires systematic collaboration practices, governance frameworks, and change management practices.

5. Co-create governance for “marketing-led” digital projects: CMOs should collaborate with IT leaders to establish clear governance rules regarding IT’s involvement in business or marketing-led digital projects. Defining safe zones and co-creating an adaptive governance framework will ensure effective partnerships.

By implementing these best practices, CMOs can foster strong relationships with CIOs and other key stakeholders, enabling them to overcome resource challenges and deliver impactful marketing strategies aligned with organizational goals.

For more information on building a strong CMO-CIO relationship, visit FutureCIO’s article “Five best practices to build a strong CMO-CIO relationship.”

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