Marketing-IT alignment drives revenue growth, ROI

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Companies with marketing and IT alignment perform better than companies that do not have marketing-IT alignment across several key indicators such as revenue growth and marketing ROI, according to a recent report from the Aberdeen Group. The report, “Enhancing Customer Experience Through CIO and CMO Alignment,” was based on an online survey of 84 senior marketing executives conducted in December. “Organizations where marketing and IT work collaboratively to streamline multichannel customer data capture, storage and utilization processes reap substantial rewards associated with growth in annual company revenue compared to those that lack such initiatives,” said Omer Minkara, research analyst at Aberdeen Group, in the report. Aberdeen found that companies with CMO/CIO alignment reported an average 15.4% annual revenue growth, compared with an average 3.5% annual revenue growth at companies without such alignment. Also, companies with CMO/CIO alignment reported an average 4.5% return on marketing investment, compared with -0.8% return on marketing investment at companies without marketing-IT alignment. “This shows that partnering with peers in IT helps marketers better analyze customer information and launch campaigns that deliver quantifiable results by addressing changing customer needs,” Minkara wrote. Customer retention is another area that is impacted by marketing and IT alignment. Companies with CMO/CIO alignment have an average 10.1% customer retention rate, compared with an average 5.6% customer retention rate at companies without marketing-IT alignment, according to the study. Also, companies with marketing-IT alignment reported 12.6% positive external social traffic, compared with only 2.3% at companies without such alignment. However, despite the clear benefits of CMO/CIO alignment, many companies are lacking in this area, Aberdeen found. Sixty-three percent of marketers surveyed indicated poor or average performance in aligning marketing and IT activities for effective use of information in customer engagement programs. When asked to identify the top challenge to their customer experience management (CEM) programs, 56% of respondents indicated rapidly changing customer needs as the primary roadblock impacting their ability to target clients in an effective manner. “As the skills of the IT team are critical in helping businesses streamline their data management activities, it's important for the CMO and CIO to establish a collaborative relationship that enables effective use of customer data within CEM activities (i.e., marketing campaigns),” Minkara wrote in the report. Aberdeen also looked at some of the top ways CMOs and CIOs work together to improve the customer experience. At companies with CMO/CIO alignment, 73% said marketing has visibility of customer data across all enterprise systems, compared with only 36% of companies without such alignment. Also, at 64% of companies with CMO/CIO alignment, marketing campaign results are evaluated with key CEM measures, compared with only 28% at companies without such alignment. Finally, at 63% of companies with CMO/CIO alignment, content marketing is managed as a strategic enterprise-level initiative, compared with only 26% at companies that do not have such alignment.
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