In researching how the convergence between CIO and CMO roles is good for business, I came across quote a few startling statistics, like the one represented in this graph. A new survey of 550 marketing execs conducted by the CMO Council found that only 10 percent of marketers put a priority on improving collaboration with their IT departments this year. 
To refer back to the five themes on the future of social, and particularly dealing with data and operational execution, the collaboration of IT and marketing, or the emergence of a bridge organization around analytics and intelligence has become a necessity -- and an asset.
How do those who build great organizations think differently about technology? While the line between marketing and IT remains a moving one, several companies are beginning to net results from their collaboration efforts.
In August 2012, Kimberly-Clark created a new role that sits and fits within the CMO’s world and the global marketing organization. It involves curating, identifying, and establishing an agile marketing technology mindset, behavior, and a global culture — to execute and innovate the company’s brand strategies.
“It is a gradual mindset shift, an effort to strike a balance between the rigor, process and focus on standardization, scale and globalization of an IT organization and the need for agility, nimbleness, and innovation of marketing technology to deliver excellence for our consumers.”
-- Mayur Gupta, Global Head of Marketing Technology, Kimberly-Clark
Nationwide EVP and CMO Matt Jauchius has double digit million dollars of IT projects that are being created at his request. The Insurance company appointed a marketing technologist to liaise between marketing and IT, helping define roles and identify the kinds of multi-talented staff members needed to power digital marketing initiatives like customer analytics.
“The IT and the marketing people are aligned almost all the time on advanced and emerging applications. We actually don't get in one another's way on things like that -- what gets in the way is boring things like funding, swinging into the change process, and legacy systems. […] We have a strict policy that if you want to interface with IT and get funding for something, you have to go through the marketing technologist.”
-- Matt Jauchius, EVP and CMO, Nationwide
At IKEA US marketing is partnering with other parts of the business to deliver better customer experiences. The company looks for a balanced mix of skills in candidates, including business and analytics.
“The ability to share insights has become a large contributor to the marketing organization being able to drive and influence business decisions. The business planning process is much more integrated than it was previously, and we are driving that integration.”
-- Leontyne Green Sykes, CMO of IKEA US
Mercedes-Benz USA created a dedicated group charged with optimizing the customer experience across the entire organization – 22,000 employees and 358 independent dealers – to signal that customer experience was at the top of the strategic agenda.
“It is not about new technology – it is about the impact of the technology on the customer experience. […] Every single customer experience is a brand moment of truth. If we create an aspiration through our advertising, and a customer walks into a store that does not deliver on that promise, that reflects on marketing.”
-- Steve Cannon, CEO, Mercedes-Benz USA
British Airways is taking its own steps towards mining customer insights through its Know Me program. Launched in February 2012, Know Me is a company-wide effort to enhance the customer experience through deep insights about existing customers’ preferences and behaviors. The airline has spent the better part of the past decade integrating its systems to support the effort; a data warehouse now stores 200 separate data sources from different parts of the business to provide a more granular view of the customer, based on the information they have volunteered. As important are the tools that provide staff—from gate agents to cabin crews—with access to the information in order to personalize customer experiences.
“We’re bringing together a single customer view so that every part of the business can recognize the individual and cater to his or her specific needs. Translating insight about customer behavior into commercial opportunity is massively important.”
-- John McDonald, vice-president (VP) of marketing for the Americas at British Airways (BA)
Nordstrom is a good example of a journey all retailers will need to make. With an experience that is heavily assisted by salespeople is replacing cash registers and wrap desks with iPads as mobile POS systems, giving its sales associates much more computing power to help them interact with customers. Putting a customer’s purchasing history in the hands of an associate while on the floor allows for a more personalized experience filled with recommendations on the customer’s personal tastes.
"The customer doesn't care who gets credit for the sale."
-- Jamie Nordstrom, President, Nordstrom Direct
Netflix – It may seem
odd or unfair to compare online services with traditional “brick and mortar”
businesses. With little or no physical
infrastructure, their core competency and competitive advantage is capturing
and leveraging data. Some online
services like Netflix and Amazon were built from the ground up to capture,
analyze, and capitalize on customer behavior and preferences. Others like Wal-Mart and Nordstrom
are evolving to this state. Currently Netflix leads this pack in capturing and
leveraging data to advance the lead it has on its competitors - to the benefit
of its shareholders.
“Another area of focus is personalized merchandising, which drives what content we feature on a given member’s initial screen. Google search is an example of a ranking system, where results are automatically computed to show Google’s estimate of the most relevant answer to the query. For Netflix, the user’s home page is the personalized ranking of what we think will be most relevant for that specific user at any given time. By analyzing terabytes of data from every recent click, view, re-view, early abandon, page views and other data, we are able to generate a personalized homepage filled with the content most likely to please. Our aim is to keep inventing and tuning algorithms to generate higher satisfaction, viewing, and retention, for whatever the level of content we can afford in that territory.”
[Netflix Long Term View]
Where is your company on the moving line between collaboration and convergence and separate units?
Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her to speak click here.