Ceasefire: Why CIOs and CMOs should (and can) be friends


In the latest State of ANZ Marketing Technology report, 55% of IT respondents consider their working relationship with their marketing teams as being “collaborative” or “awesome.”

This is a massive improvement from last year when 52% of respondents considered their relationship had “room for improvement.”

The report articulates the traditional problems with the two departments stating:

“Everyone has heard about the supposed animosity between marketing and IT - marketing wants everything and they want it now; IT wants security, integration and flexibility. It’s hard to get those goals to align and teams to see eye to eye,”  

Or as one commentator bluntly puts it:

“IT is seen by marketing as full of propeller-heads, while marketing types are often viewed as airheads”.

And yet the same report would suggest that not only have both sides come to the table, that they are very happy to be there.

This is a remarkable turnaround that would speak to the fact that as marketing, technology and sales are becoming increasingly intertwined, companies are recognising the value of their employees becoming more agile, more collaborative and multi-skilled. In order to be competitive, it’s not merely enough to be an expert in your field – the modern worker needs to be a jack-of-all-trades.  

And IT and marketing, once two seemingly disparate parts of the business, acknowledge that there is a lot of scope to learn from each other, but the question is what? What are businesses doing that there has been such a quick and positive turnaround in only one year?

Fostering the right culture:

David Chan, the Director of the Centre for Information Leadership at City University London suggests that the perceived differences have been largely imagined, that the culture of the place perpetuates the idea that the IT and Marketing departments have these huge differences:

"There is nothing fundamentally different between marketing and IT,". "It is about the culture of the organisation. If the departments work together, you shouldn't [have a problem].

One of the best ways that a company can ensure that everybody is playing on the same team is to create a common goal:

A shared vision

In this years’ report, a lot of IT respondents stated that the most important aspect of their roles was to “improve customer experience,”

This is a significant departure from years’ past, when the concerns overwhelmingly revolved around things like security and cost.

This change is important for several reasons. It’s not just that this goal demonstrates that the IT department is adopting a broader worldview, it also shows that they are using marketing language to define their roles. This change is subtle, but it is really telling about how this relationship is changing. IT are realising that while marketing have needed them for their technological expertise, marketing  can help them keep sight of the bigger picture.

Digital Strategy

In order to achieve their common goal it is important that marketing and IT are on the same wavelength when it comes to digital strategy.


For example, data is an incredibly important tool in shaping how a business will approach their customers. IT has the systems and the knowledge to get the data, but marketing know what it needs and how to interpret it. By working closely together they can develop a joined understanding of what information is valuable in order to get a better idea of their customer.

Customer Service

As the demand for customer service becomes paramount, marketing can work with IT to map out the technological requirements needed for an excellent user experience — from how to capture the imagination of a prospective lead, all the way through to ensuring that lead becomes a devoted and loyal evangelist for your brand. Both IT and marketing are integral to using the right channel to lead them all the way through the customer lifecycle.

Why can’t we be friends?

As the report shows it’s not only possible for the IT and marketing departments to put down their weapons, it’s actually rapidly happening. Not only does a business hugely benefit from this ceasefire, but IT and marketing are realising that collaborating with each other is not only easier than they suspected, but that it is more “awesome” than they could have hoped for.

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