CIO Versus CMO

By Daniel Weisbeck, CMO & COO of Netbiscuits — November 03, 2013

Traditionally, CIO and CMOs are seen as opposite ends of the spectrum. However, as mobile usage continues to rise, the need for companies to develop an online consumer experience that embraces the latest technologies is increasing daily.
For the C-suite, this calls for more interdependency between the CIO and CMO in shaping an organization’s mobile strategy. Are they ready to work together, and who will win the battle and “own” mobile?

Round one: Agreeing on objectives.
The latest Netbiscuits survey found that a majority of CMOs and CIOs (82% and 76% respectively) have a goal of providing customers with a greater number of channels for interaction. However, 44% of CMOs listed customer engagement as one of their objectives, while only 29% of CIOs said that was their primary concern. It’s no surprise that the CMO is more focused on the overall consumer experience.

Round two: Determining who gets a bigger piece of the mobile pie.
Despite mobile web strategy being primarily owned by the CIO today (44%), over 50% of CMOs believe that sole ownership of mobile should belong to them. Currently, the CMO has proprietary ownership of mobile in only one of five organizations.

The CIO is a clear winner in terms of ownership, but the CMO is itching to get more involved in this realm. They understand that by taking more control from the CIO, they can have more say in determining key performance indicators that determine customer experience.

Round three: Think realistically .
When it comes to implementation, CIOs have a more realistic view of testing sites than their CMO counterparts. Seventy four percent of CIOs responded that testing is important to deliver the right experience, compared to only 50% of CMOs. CIOs and CMOs have a different mindset when it comes to testing devices —CIOs care about the back ends, while CMOs may be more focused on aesthetics and interactivity.

However, it has been found that 90% of CIOs and CMOs want a faster site — a critical demand on which that both sides can agree.

Round four: Search for a middle ground.
Could uniting both parties be the best solution to achieving customer satisfaction, retention and conversion? Very much so if you subscribe to the views of the other C-levels who took part in the survey; 30% of respondents believe there’s room for joint ownership between the CMO and CIO, and 79% of the CIOs and 86% of the CMOs surveyed agree that increasing sales through the mobile channel is important.

And the winner is…?
Different departments have varying ideas about how their brand’s mobile web strategy should develop. CMOs and CIOs should not view the mobile web as an opportunity for them to take away ownership from each other, but determine how they can collaborate to maximize reach, improve conversion rates, and provide the best mobile browsing experience for consumers.
It is clear that both the CMO and CIO have a role to play in developing a mobile web strategy – the challenge is to build a structure for both sides to combine their goals and approaches.


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