Recently, we did a post on how digital marketing is forcing marketing organizations to incorporate a data-driven approach into their decision making and how CMOs must embrace technology (see “Bigger Digital Marketing Budgets Force a Different Mindset”).  On the surface, this would lead one to believe that CMOs and CIOs must develop a closer relationship.  But is that really necessary?

A recently-published report from Accenture, entitled “The CMO-CIO disconnect,” takes the side that a tight relationship between CMOs and CIOs is critical…

To overcome this gap and infuse a digital focus in all business processes and functions, there is no more important a function for marketing to align with than information technology.

However, the same Accenture report shows that not all CMOs seem to agree…

On the surface, CMOs and CIOs seem to agree (about the need for marketing to align with the information technology function). Dig deeper, though, and CIOs feel a greater need for alignment. Nearly eight out of 10 agree that alignment is needed, compared to just over half of CMOs.

At Origami Logic, we see both sides of this argument.  It seems intuitive that in order for marketing to embrace technology, it needs to form a tighter relationship with the information technology function.  However, the marketing technology landscape is dominated these days by cloud-based services that give marketers easy and direct access to data.  Sure, marketers will still need access to internal data, like sales transactions, in order to analyze the effect their marketing campaigns are having on key business objectives, but they have depended on IT for that type of data in the past.  So, does their relationship really need to be tighter than it is today?

One last data point to ponder…Gartner has predicted that by 2017, CMOs will have greater control of the IT budget than CIOs.  This is something not many could have foreseen a few years ago.  So, if that will be the case, will the onus be on CMOs to form a tighter relationship with their CIO counterparts, or will it be the reverse?

Like many situations, we think it will ultimately depend on the people involved.  Marketing organizations with a tech-savvy CMO will probably have less of a need to form a closer relationship with the IT function than those with a CMO who is less comfortable with technology.

What do you think?  Do you feel CMOs and CIOs have to develop a closer alignment as a result of digital marketing?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.