CMOs are feeling quite popular these days, and with good reason. By now you can recite this Gartner prediction in your sleep: marketing will spend more on IT than the IT department by 2017. Naturally, nearly every tech vendor on the planet has taken notice. A flood of innovative new solutions have launched to help CMOs better connect with customers and make them the new heroes of the C-suite.
Just a few years ago, these advanced solutions were just out of marketers' reach. Standing in their way was an array of hoops and hurdles, from the IT department to procurement and beyond. So while digital, mobile and social innovations were changing the retail game at a dizzying pace, marketers felt stuck in the mud, unable to test drive or take advantage of all the new marketing toys in the toy store.
But then came the cloud -- the great enabler for marketers.
Sure, we've been talking about the inherent benefits of cloud for over a decade. But for marketers, the real benefit has been empowerment. Marketers today have direct access to some of the most advanced marketing technology ever conceived. These new cloud solutions are being made specifically for the CMO, and typically they don't need much if any IT help to procure or deploy.
Suddenly there's a world of new possibilities at marketers' feet. They are analyzing conversations in social channels like Facebook and Twitter, adapting campaigns to what customers really need, and driving more targeted and highly relevant dialogs across mobile, social and every other digital channel that resonate and add value. Cloud has accelerated all of this simply by giving marketers easy access to these tools.
So the war is over, and the CMO has won, right? They can do what they want, when they want and live in their own little marketing utopia without interference from CIOs?
Well, even if they could that doesn't mean they should. If you're operating this way, you're missing one of the great underplayed advantages of cloud computing: the ability to collaborate even closer with the CIO to help you innovate for your department and also connect the dots with other C-suite stakeholders to drive even better and more meaningful results.
While the CMO is the popular senior executive to talk about right now, the rest of the members of the C-suite will soon be getting their days in the sun too. From the CFO to the CPO to HR and Legal, they, too, are starting to see new cloud-based solutions made just for them. And with these lines of business solutions in the cloud comes opportunities to better intersect business processes so that everyone wins.
The reality is that you can't market in a vacuum. Even if you execute the perfect marketing campaign that breaks all-time response records, it's all for naught if you didn't know that your inventory is depleted, that your supplier is in the middle of a labor strike and your distributors can't fulfill the orders. If you can't get the products into the customers' hands in a timely matter, what's the point?
And who's the key executive that's tying these systems together in the cloud across the c-suite? It's our old friend the CIO. He or she is right in the middle of it all, directing the traffic and bringing it all together to ensure that marketing, procurement, finance and fulfillment are working in harmony. Closer collaboration with the CIO will enable marketers to better align with the rest of the business, drive real sales growth, and showcase the total value that well-executed marketing campaigns can bring to the business.
Initially, marketers saw the cloud as their path to freedom from the CIO. But ironically, the savvy marketers will use the cloud to get even closer to them. Those marketers that use the cloud to align closer to the CIO will soon realize that they can actually innovate faster and with greater results than those who try to go it alone.