Wednesday, December 1, 2010

CMO and CIO Mutually Exclusive Until Recently? Really? I Say Look Up A Ring in the Ladder!

I just read an article by what appears (on paper) to be a brilliant scholar and scientist. He professed that until recently, in most cases, the CIO and CMO have been thought of as mutually exclusive. I couldn’t disagree more.
That being said, I will state clearly that for the last 10-20 years, I have not been a scholar at Stanford or MIT or any “research” institution. I have been “out in the trenches” with some of the top ten rated Marketing Organizations in the United States; some international and highly ranked.
In those organizations, I sat daily with CIOs, IT professionals and even PMs and Analysts working diligently, every day, to help our organization be ever more customer centric so that we could do what we were hired to do: make our clients more money. And that, I am proud to say, “we did - quite well - together”.
We broke new ground in technology, we won awards in both marketing and technology but the best thing we did was listen to our customers. Even better than that, we listened to their customers. Through this process of listening (I use the term listening very broadly and I mean review data, review results, test, analyze, and listen ), a roadmap of new ideas, innovations, prosperity and advancements occurred.
We even had a mantra and I’m sure many of you have heard it, “with enough time and money, we can do anything”. Now, I’ll admit that a few “IT folk” used this term to dare us to sell the client the billable hours to build what would make them money. After we defied their challenge several times, it became a mantra and a challenge to both of us to try to build it ; using another mantra shouted through all corporate hallways, “better, faster, cheaper”. We found a way to build a better mouse trap and we shared the glory and the success with our IT brothers and sisters.
I am going to write that sentence again because I think it comes to the heart of this issue. We shared our glory and success…As an executive, if we won an award, I insisted that the accolades and recognition (including plaques, trips, award dinners, press releases, bonuses, etc.) went to the primary marketer and primary technologist on the project. I started this to the dismay of my colleagues as a young marketer very early in my marketing career and I’ll admit that it was met with wide eyes and surprise by my technology colleagues. Sadly, they weren’t used to the recognition. What I experienced was that my technology colleagues began to work better and faster with less resistance with me versus some of my marketing colleagues. My colleagues soon caught on and we created synergy. Ah ha! My college professors of Organizational Behavior were right - it does come down to who gets the cheese!
You see what I believed to be the only fair thing to do -  after all, we both worked hard on the project so we both should share in the pats on the back – turned into my clear understanding that organizations do work based upon reward. If CMOs and CIOs feel and work as if they are mutually exclusive, then I say, look up a ring on the ladder at the CEO. How is he/she doling out the cheese?
Mary is a graduate of the UCLA Anderson Graduate School and a Marketing Executive Consultant with over 20 years of experience in marketing, operations and general management

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