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Inside the secret clash of CIOs and CMOs

Tom Kaneshige | Sept. 30, 2014
Publicly, CIOs and CMOs say they get along, but in the dark recesses of the enterprise, tensions abound. Here's why.

This difference in philosophy is at the heart of many CIO-CMO conflicts. At a financial services firm, the CMO chose to go with Merkle behind the CIO's back. The CMO told Mobley that IT would only push marketing toward its views on architecture and governance, which, in turn, would push a four month project to a year.

Marketers shutter whenever a CIO mentions "RFP," or request for proposal, Rebekhah King, director of customer engagement at Cox Media Group, told attendees at GrowthBeat in August. "Whenever I say 'RFP,' an angel loses its wings," she says. "They think nothing will get done for seven months."

Where Does the CIO Fit In?
However, this isn't to say that CIOs don't have a critical role to play in the volatile marketing technology landscape. Mobley recognizes what he calls "natural collection points" of data at managed service providers or large agencies. Log files coming in from different places can be passed back into the CIO organization.

In contrast, CIOs who try to exert control out on the edge of digital marketing risk clashing with the CMO and ultimately losing. "CMOs need to be able to choose who they want to partner with, because change is happening rapidly," Mobley says.


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