Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Marketing and IT: Come Together, Right Now!

Some of my learned industry colleagues at Forrester Research have released a new report. It's entitled "CMOs Must Merge Marketing With IT To Win In The Digital Decade." Here's an excerpt from the report's Executive Summary (which you can view at no charge here).

"In the future, only companies that understand and anticipate their customers' needs and can consistently deliver unique, tailored customer experiences will be able to attract and retain loyal customers. This requires not just having the knowledge about the customer but also the processes and the systems that create unique customer insights and deliver compelling interactions across the customer life cycle. To achieve this, CMOs must form a strong partnership with CIOs, going beyond collaboration to co-create new organizations and processes, where both teams share ownership of goals and business outcomes."

This follows a Forrester report released in July 2011 (and apparently updated in October) entitled "Marketing And IT Must Align For Business Success." Here's an excerpt from that report's Executive Summary (on view here).

"Today's marketing organization must use technology to deliver compelling brand experiences and drive business growth. Today's IT organizations must tune their efforts to needs of the business. This convergence of expertise dictates that to succeed, CMOs and CIOs must form a collaborative partnership focused on driving business results that support long-term and short-term goals. CMOs and CIOs must embrace a shared view of the customer as well as share business goals and metrics in order to ensure competitive business success in the age of the empowered customer."

All good so far. But for goodness' sake, some of us have been preaching this gospel for nearly 35 years now. (Yikes!) So what's the hold-up?

Well, I've trod that ground pretty thoroughly already, here and elsewhere. (Two recent examples from my posts at The CMO Site: "Why Companies Struggle with Marketing Automation" and "When Marketing and IT Don't Cooperate, E-Commerce Misses Target." ) But what's more important is why this is such a big deal (again) now.

To be brief, it's "the mobile, social cloud." It's making everybody an influencer of purchase decisions and how vendors and solutions are perceived. And it's drastically shortening the time between events and effects. For these and other reasons, it's making more, better and faster collaboration between marketing and technology decision makers more and more critical to the success (if not the survival) of more and more businesses.

Of course, that doesn't force or even necessarily accelerate the changes in human behavior necessary to make such collaborations happen effectively. As the old joke goes, "How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change." But it's gotta start somewhere, and if that means multiple pundits and prognosticators repeating the same message multiple times over multiple years, that's fine. As long as it leads to positive effect. Eventually.

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