According to the recent CMO Digital Benchmark Study by Leapfrog Marketing Institute, over 60% of marketers and their IT counterparts say they don’t see eye to eye on incentives and metrics. What’s more, there’s also a big disconnect about how well they are working together to achieve their goals, with only 30% of CMOs and 13% of CTOs believing their relationship is truly collaborative. With pressure rising on both parties to deliver ROI while offering a seamless customer experience, here are some ways to start bridging the gap.
1. Think like the CEO.
Whether you’re the CMO or the CTO, you have to be focused on the overall business KPIs, same as the CEO. You should both be held responsible for achieving the ultimate goals of the organization, not just some contributing factor such as awareness or page views. The closer you can tie your goals to the CEOs, the less time you’ll spend defending turf. And the more credit you’ll get when things go right.
2. Sweat the details.
It’s one thing to agree on what to measure; the hard part is agreeing on exactly what to measure and how. Say your objective is generating “qualified leads.” Well, what exactly makes a lead “qualified”? Is it a completed form or just an email address? It may sound like nitpicking, but you’d be surprised how often IT and marketing clash over details like these. IT’s desire for certainty (a completed form) doesn’t always mesh with marketing’s desire for a simple experience (just an email address will do, our CRM and sales team will take it from here.) Make sure you are measuring apples or oranges, not both.
3. Collaborate on purchasing.
One way to start building trust is to find a small project where you have to rely more on each other’s expertise. Gartner analyst Laura McLellan recently predicted that by 2017, CMOs will spend more of their budgets on technology than their counterpart CTOs, yet most CMOs have little experience with such decisions. Why not use your CTO to make sure you’re getting the best deal? Similarly, if you’re a CTO looking to build a site or app that serves the marketing department, why not pick your CMO’s brain to identify some fresh design and development partners who can see the big picture?
4. Build something together.
Of course, you could also jump right into a much bigger project involving your brand and website. Since user experience is now as much a part of the brand as the logo or tagline, the utility and function of your technology and digital platforms must reflect and reinforce your brand values, just as your brand story should inform digital content and UX design. A brand that claims to simplify your life can’t have slow load times or confusing navigation, whereas a brand that’s positioned as a resource better have lots of great content to back that up. Too often we see clients who want a new website or app without knowing what their brand is really about. Or they go through a branding process without involving their digital team and end up forcing content into a site not built to handle it. As hard as it may seem, the best way to get on the same page is often to do both simultaneously–refresh the brand and the digital properties on parallel paths with both teams working together on both projects. It may sound like a heavy lift, but it’ll be worth it in the long haul.
What other ways might CMOs and CTOs start singing Kumbaya? Let us know in the comments.