Avoiding Executive Tech Turf Wars

Avoiding Executive Tech Turf Wars

Executive Tech Turf War

In 2011, Gartner predicted that CMOs would outspend CIOs by 2017. All signs continue to point to this reality, and the shift has created rifts between marketing and technology leaders. So, how do we avoid turf wars when it comes to marketing technology?

One of my best clients is a marketing executive at a medium-sized e-commerce company, who needed my help in selecting a vendor for her email marketing automation initiative. Her objectives were manifold: increase customer acquisition, customer retention, average order value, order frequency, and avoid the IT department.

Why Avoid IT?

Over the last couple of years, she felt like IT was a constant impediment when it came to adopting new marketing technologies and integrations with vendors. She said, “marketers want to grow and engage with customers quickly and often. We need to interact with customers across multiple channels, both online and offline – proactively, reactively, and in realtime. The IT folks just get in the way!” I’ve heard sentiments like this countless times, both from clients and colleagues.

Marketing and Shadow IT

As technology budgets shift from IT to marketing, so does the control over technology decisions. More and more, the CMO suite is driving the technology workload, and not the CIO. However, the IT department wants to retain control over the vendor selection process, integration efforts, process controls, and so on. Marketing sees this as an impediment to speed, and takes these functions on themselves, or ignores them altogether. What results is a gallimaufry of disparate systems, outside the purview of IT – Shadow IT.

Turf War

Needless to say, the CIO wants to retain control over the process and assets, and the CMO wants control over the vendor relationships and speed. Ultimately, the key to avoiding a turf war is a healthy relationship between the CIO and CMO. The CIO needs to respect the top-line growth responsibility of the CMO, enabling and supporting accordingly. Likewise the CMO needs to understand the potential security and compliance issues their Shadow IT can create.

My most successful clients understand that these relationships not only create good will between departments, but also create a culture of innovation.

Are you guarding your turf or building bridges?


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