Back in 2012, technology research firm Gartner boldly predicted that Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) would outspend Chief Information Officers (CIOs) on technology by 2017. But has this forecast actually come to fruition?
CMO and CIO spending habits
According to Gartner, CMOs allocated 3.24 per cent of total company revenue to technology spending in 2016, while CIOs earmarked 3.4 per cent. But the reason for such comparable spending can be attributed to the demands of digital commerce and the increasingly important role technology plays in marketing.
“The job of a CMO is now more complex,” says Andrew Stephen, L’Oréal Professor of Marketing, Saïd Business School. “The spending on technology within marketing is increasing at a rapid rate. There’s a need for more data-driven, tech-savvy and quantitative-minded marketing staff, as well as creativity and strategic thinking.”
In fact, CMOs are now spending 27 per cent of their budgets on the latest technology trends such as big data and analytics.
The changing face of the customer
Another reason for marketing-related investments in technology is customer expectation, according to Giles Lee, Executive Director of the Mission Marketing Group.
“Google and Amazon have taught people to expect instant answers and instant service,” he reveals. “Continued commercial success is tied to inventing ways to meet customer expectations. Businesses like ours are blending tech, data, marketing and business strategy to drive competitive advantage.”
Businesses outside the marketing and technology sectors are also witnessing a shift in IT spend because CMOs are often held responsible for growth.
“No longer can companies rely on ‘a good product’,” says Alan Walsh, chief executive of cloud technology consultancy Amido. “They must be able to communicate with each customer on a very personal level. As such, CMOs are increasingly responsible for the growth of the business as a whole.”
The unwavering CIO
Regardless of how important and influential CMOs become, the CIO will still play a crucial role in organisations that put a premium on technology investments.
As Steve Tan, Director of Customer Success at mobile engagement platform Urban Airship explains:
“CMOs have never been so married at the hip to CIOs. We have seen marketing’s influence on spend grow to more than 50pc of our business. Almost every time, technical contacts are involved in the final decision, because it’s nice to know what the company is buying actually works.”