The divide between CMOs and CIOs is narrowing but companies are still struggling to deliver integrated digital marketing solutions, according to research from consulting firm Accenture.
Accenture questioned 1,150 senior marketing and IT executives globally, and found that even though both sides were working more collaboratively than in the past to take advantage of digital opportunities, they "remain at odds" on a number of issues involving how to drive integrated digital marketing solutions for their customers.
The report found that 43 percent of marketers and 50 percent of IT leaders thought their relationship with the other has improved over the past year. Also, nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of respondents believed collaboration between the two teams is currently at the right level, up substantially from last year's Accenture CMO-CIO Insights survey, that stated only 10 percent of respondents felt collaboration was at the right level.
The report shows marketing and IT departments are aligned on the importance of marketing IT - more than half of respondents rank it at or near the top of their priority lists (52 percent and 53 percent respectively). Both parties also agree on the top five marketing IT priorities: customer experience, customer analytics, social media, corporate website, and other web development.
But the survey highlights many challenges still facing the two groups. For example, 40 percent of CMOs believe their company's IT team does not understand the urgency of integrating new data sources into campaigns to address market conditions - an increase of six percentage points from last year's survey.
Additionally, 43 percent of CMOs now say that the technology development process is too slow for the speed required for digital marketing, compared to 36 percent who held that view a year ago.
For their part, CIOs are increasingly frustrated by shifting goals and a perceived lack of vision from their marketing counterparts. More than four out of 10 (43 percent) of IT executives said that marketing requirements and priorities change too often for them to keep up, an increase of three percentage points from last year's survey. Also, one out of four CIOs (25 percent) now believe that CMOs lack the vision to anticipate new digital channels, compared to just 11 percent who expressed that view last year.
Brian Whipple, senior managing director of Accenture Interactive, said: "The CMO needs to develop a vision and strategy for how customers experience the brand while the CIO needs to deliver the tools and technology to bring those experiences and campaigns to life. Together, they need combined processes and perhaps even organisations to make this happen. If one works without the other in a silo, customers will feel the impact and switch brands."
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