3 Key Communication Errors CIOs and CMOs Make With One Another

“Did you hear the CIO?” the CMO snarls over a Kombucha break with three marketing colleagues.

Share This Post

We’re all under pressure to exceed expectations in an extremely volatile business environment. Under that kind of fight-or-flight stress, it’s easy to forget that we’re all on the same team. 

You’ll hear it just after a phone pings the fact that another meeting has been added to the calendar… 

It’s a giant sigh from the CIO. 

“Another meeting about user experience?” she groans. “Doesn’t the CMO know that our load times wouldn’t be so bad if the marketing department didn’t ask us to integrate 100 different tools?!” 

Sometimes, it happens after the meeting.

“Did you hear the CIO?” the CMO snarls over a Kombucha break with three marketing colleagues. “She’s red lighting our product launch because she ‘needs more money for security and infrastructure.’ We already have a firewall. We need to get more leads!” 

So… who’s right? The CIO who wants to boost security, or the CMO who wants a better user experience and more leads? 

They both are. 

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) lead technology and innovation to see that a company’s strategy includes the infrastructure and support to grow the business and provide a superior and safe customer experience. 

Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) lead the communication and customer experience by fostering long-term customer loyalty, generating new leads, and exploring new customer markets. 

On the surface, they are two people who see the same issue very differently. Based on their own experiences and expertise, a common sense solution to each looks vastly different. 

If you look just a bit harder, though, you’ll see common ground.

Both CIOs and CMOs recognize the importance of speed and agility companies must attain to be competitive amidst changing demands of customers, AI technology, and unexpected market implosions.

Here are three common scenarios that bring tension to the room.

Technology and Performance

Both roles utilize technology to enhance the user experience. The CMO’s focus is customer experience, and can view technology as merely “not working” “getting in the way” or “cumbersome.” The CIO points to the heavy interactive elements affecting performance – “if we didn’t have so many tools overloading our system, we’d have spent less money and our load times would improve.”

Common Ground: Both aim for optimal user experience. Collaborative prioritization can optimize performance without compromising essential features.

Best Practices:

  • Joint Budget Planning and resource allocation
    • Practice: Collaborate on budget allocation. Start by identifying all of the needs and budget together. Don’t be afraid to take it to a higher level investment view and look for where money could be reallocated in more effective ways (getting rid of old debt, low value parts, etc).  
    • Benefit: Reduces conflicts over resource allocation and ensures optimal utilization of funds.
  • Unified Customer View:
    • Practice: Integrate data sources to achieve a holistic view of the customer.
    • Benefit: Provides better insights, driving improved customer experiences and business outcomes.

Tools to Help Get There: 

  • Collaboration Platforms: Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Trello can be used to manage projects and foster communication between teams.
  • Unified Data Platforms: Tableau or Google Analytics can be used to create shared dashboards, ensuring both teams are looking at the same data.

Company Performance

Both roles strive to increase company performance. However, the tension is in rapid adoption of the latest tools to boost customer experience vs. sustainable integration and security to protect the company’s assets and keep them out of the headlines.

Common Ground: Both want tools that enhance company performance. Through regular dialogue, they can select tools that benefit the company while also being secure and integrable.

Best Practices: 

  • Joint Strategy Development:
    • Practice: Collaborate on crafting a unified digital strategy where marketing initiatives align with IT capabilities.
    • Benefit: Ensures seamless integration of marketing campaigns with the technical infrastructure.
  • Shared Performance Metrics:
    • Practice: Create overlapping KPIs to ensure both departments are motivated toward shared organizational goals.
    • Benefit: Fosters a unified approach to achieving company objectives.

Tools to Help Get There: 

  • Document Collaboration: Google Workspace or Microsoft Office 365 allows real-time collaboration on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
  • Project Management Tools: Platforms like Jira, Asana, or Monday.com help in tracking project progress, deadlines, and responsibilities.

Efficiency and Competitiveness

Success for a CMO means timely implementation and chasing innovation. If you’re behind, you’ve lost. A CIO must have an eye towards safe, effective and reliable systems, as well as how to drive innovation and agility through technology.

Common Ground: Both strive for efficiency and competitiveness. Early communication and strategy meetings can align their objectives.

Best Practices:

  • Innovate Together
    • Practice: Initiate joint pilot projects to test new technologies or marketing approaches.
    • Benefit: Spreads risk, gains collective insights, and capitalizes on opportunities efficiently.
  • Foster a Collaborative Culture
    • Practice: Organize team-building activities and collaborative projects for both departments.
    • Benefit: Enhances trust, understanding, and camaraderie.

Tools to Help Get There:

  • Project Management Tools: Platforms like Jira, Asana, or Monday.com help in tracking project progress, deadlines, and responsibilities.
  • Document Collaboration: Google Workspace or Microsoft Office 365 allows real-time collaboration on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
  • Note: There should be a regular way the teams gather (weekly stand ups or other) that build the rhythm of using these tools and celebrate the victories in collaboration. 

The siloed approach between CIOs and CMOs can actually be restructured into an opportunity if both sides recognize that these roles come with inherent strengths. By acknowledging these strengths, organizations can achieve a strategic division of responsibilities that complement each other rather than compete. 

Connect with us!

Looking for great consultants that commit to your success? Apeiron provides a one-stop shop to access some of the best consultants in the central Indiana area. Want to learn more? Simply submit the contact form below and we’ll find a time to learn more about your situation and how we might work together.

About the Authors: Allison Gustin & Joe Indiano

Allison Gustin is the founder of Pebble & Brook Marketing, an avid runner, and aspiring adventurer. She thrives on the challenge of the unknown and the power of asking the right questions. Allison believes in clearly communicated expectations and has more than 10 years of experience building and executing marketing strategies to drive growth and enhance customer loyalty. 

Allison is a Reiss Motivation Profile® Master and uses The Science of Motivation® to classify customer values with engaging and dynamic marketing. She earned an MBA through the Butler University Lacy School of Business with a concentration in leadership and a BS in Public Relations from Ball State University. 

Joe Indiano’s goal is to simplify IT and make it work for organizations, not the other way around.

Joe is a CIO and business leader with over 30 years of experience in guiding and developing technology strategy and teams. His primary focus is in helping businesses align the work and investments in IT to increase performance and help the business achieve its critical objectives. Much of his work has been in IT turn-around and performance improvement along with assisting businesses and Universities in developing digital business strategies.

Leveraging his experience in technology, business management and team performance development, he created Amicio Consulting to offer services and products that are tailored to helping business and IT succeed together.

Joe has served several industries including higher education, healthcare, manufacturing, data center and insurance. His strength is in taking this diverse and unique experience to identify approaches and best practices to create a custom path forward for your organization.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

We promise only to deliver high-value content and relevant news to your inbox.

Explore Our Other Blogs

How can Apeiron help your business?

Let’s talk about your needs.

If you’re interested in seeing how Apeiron might be able to partner with and help your organization, fill out the form to the right. We’ll be in contact within two business days to set up a discovery conversation.

This is a “no sale” meeting to learn more about you and your business’s goals!