Close the CIO-CMO Gap

Like at a high school dance, it used to be that the marketing department sat in one corner, while the IT department sat in the other corner of the room by all the computers. We only had a cursory idea of what the other department did, and the only time we interacted was when someone's machine went down.

Today, that's all changed. We now have tech gadgets everywhere — that we want to use anywhere — without any restrictions. So more and more, CIOs and CCOs/CMOs are finding themselves at the same dance and with surprisingly common goals: Increase sales through faster systems in demand creation, customer quotes, reports, and forecasts.

At {complink 577|Avnet Inc.}, we're always looking for new ways to push the technologies to talk to our customers and partners. Take mobile, for instance. As we broaden our digital reach, we need to be able to count on our excellent IT team to be at the forefront of not only onboarding our devices, but ensuring a consistent experience for all of our devices, including those of customers and partners. The email we send must look the same on customers' and partners' mobile devices as it does on their laptops. And the Websites and microsites they access from their phones must be flexible and load up fast. Or we risk losing them.

Today, we're even building out mobile apps to give our partners sales enablement tools on the go. They can check product information, download data sheets, and assess sales readiness right from their phones.

So as we shift our focus from information to customer, the once-strict boundaries between IT and marketing are slowly fading. And companies where CIOs and CCOs/CMOs are leading the way will come up winners. One Avnet example: Our CIO Steve Phillips, who is a superb thought leader, not only does but enjoys creating a video series called Tech Trends. He either goes alone or brings on IT leaders to be interviewed.

Steve is one of our best draws on, and he also goes out of his way to support our PR efforts and promotional efforts of his team internally and externally trying to garner positive brand interaction. On the home front, he has not only supported but encouraged our efforts and invested for us for social media, Web, and internal information systems. Those efforts are having a tremendous impact on our communication success.

In what ways is your organization tearing down the walls between CIOs and CMOs? How will they succeed in changing the dynamic with customers and partners?

5 comments on “Close the CIO-CMO Gap

  1. Daniel
    March 2, 2012

    “At Avnet Inc. (NYSE: AVT), we're always looking for new ways to push the technologies to talk to our customers and partners”

    Al Marg, in most of the cases there won't be any direct interaction between the end customer and the OEM's. All the communications are happening through the partners or supply chain peoples; from company part they may conduct training and workshops through third parties. So in total there won't be any direct interaction between the company and the end users.

    I strongly believe that there should be proper bondage between companies and end users: then only then can know pulse of the user, for a better market driven product.

    March 2, 2012

    I enjoyed your article and agree that in many companies the line between departments is becoming blurry.  What I see happening are the various groups teaming up to achieve some defined goal and using whatever tools available to do it best.   I most recently witnessed this at a big trade show where the IT and marketing groups were all working together and having a blast at the show. 

  3. Barbara Jorgensen
    March 5, 2012

    There is definitely a difference between push-driven solutions and pull-driven. The old model was the IT department decided what to do and pushed the solution down. Now it seems they are asking–pulling–what users need, and that includes not just customers but internal users as well. It is hard to break the barriers between departments down and I give Avnet credit for accomplishing this.

  4. stochastic excursion
    March 5, 2012

    For companies that sell to commercial and industrial consumers, the market is king.  In recent years the bar for satisfactory user experience has been set very high and must be highly engineered,  This means IT and marketing must be ready partners, less dedicated to any single academic discipline, and each with some expertise or interest in the other's domain.

  5. JADEN
    March 11, 2012

    Information Technology is now one of the source to identify innovative marketing techniques, it has changed the competitive environment for many firms.

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