Tips for CIO / CMO Relationships


Forrester just published an in depth research paper titled "Partnering for Success: The CIO – CMO Relationship" They interviewed me months ago for this paper based on my experience working with IT in startups and Dell.

Bottom line: the most important aspect to good relationships is open and frequent communication.

Here was the sidebar on my answers to these questions:

How can CMOs and CIOs build a more effective partnership?

In my experience, there are four key principles for a culture of
1) agreement and accountability,
2) face-to-face work with no “over the fence” mentality;
3) open communications and
sharing of plans and results; and
4) investment by the CIO, CMO, and their employees to build relationships.

What can marketers learn from their IT peers?

Marketers can learn that IT is interested in how its solutions impact the business and customer, and, by sharing this, IT is more invested in their work and have a better understanding of requirements. IT thinks in terms of architecture and how things are done. It needs to fully understand the spirit, intent, and detailed requirements of what needs
to be done in order to avoid missteps. The more that marketing shares with IT, the better.

One Response

  1. Tim Peter says:

    Interesting comments, Sam. Anne Truitt Zelenka recently argued that trust leads to more productive relationships, though I’m pretty confident that your advice should create greater trust between the C-suites, thus leading to the same result. A key point in either case – which you reference briefly – is focusing on the spirit of intent in conversations. Too often, one side or the other harbors a hidden agenda, something unshared during supposed “communication.” If you’ve got an agenda, make it clear. Little inhibits trust more than one party or the other acting in an untrustworthy manner.

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