Across all industries, the rise of digital marketing has had a major impact on the relationships between CMOs and CIOs.

In the past, the two leaders had to work together closely to make considered technology decisions and empower marketers with new tools. But today, the modern CMO is comfortable taking martech matters into their own hands – often cutting the CIO out of the process altogether.

The CMO has settled into the role of “digital marketing enabler”, while the CIO has become the custodian of the organisation’s data. But their individual actions and roles are just one part of the story – what really matters is what they’re doing together.

When the two roles collaborate on projects and share their expertise and data, that’s when great things happen. And when they recognise that their individual challenges share a common root, they can get smarter about solving them together.

To understand exactly how the relationship between CIOs and CMOs has changed (and where it’s going) Econsultancy recently interviewed a number of senior marketers and IT executives for a new report, The Future of the CIO/CMO Relationship.

Here are some key takeaways for CIOs and CMOs in Financial Services:


Why Finserv CIOs and CMOs have drifted apart

The pressure to innovate and differentiate your offering in financial services has never been greater. Traditional organisations are increasingly up against young, agile competitors offering a new breed of digital experience that captivates younger customers and wins loyalty. 

The CIO is under pressure to drive innovation projects that can stave off this fresh competition – while still relying on legacy infrastructure. 

Meanwhile, the CMO is facing increasing pressure to build and deliver marketing experiences that prospects respond to – despite the complexity of managing a growing, fragmented martech stack. 

They’re different challenges, but they’re caused by the same existential threats – client expectations are rising and the competition is heating up – which is why the CIO and CMO need to work together to tackle them.

In response to their challenges, CMOs have focussed on embracing new marketing tech to better reach clients proactively, and take a lot of the manual effort out of maintaining routine marketing activity. To make this happen, they’ve often gone over IT’s head – not involving them in the decision-making or deployment process.

Meanwhile, CIOs have been busy leading major client-facing technological change, creating innovative new ways of enabling clients to access their products. In many cases, marketers have not been heavily involved in this process, in spite of their deep knowledge of changing behaviours and engagement preferences.

Both types of project, because of their siloed nature, ultimately yield worse results for clients than they should. By tackling the same challenge in their own way, IT and Marketing are missing out on the expertise and insight offered by the other. It’s time for that to change.


Client experience – the new common ground

The very forces that initially drove IT and Marketing to act in isolation – the need to match growing competition and expectations – are now bringing the most forward-thinking teams together.

As financial services organisations refocus on client experiences, it’s becoming clear that collaboration between CIOs and CMOs is essential to making the smartest, greatest experiences a reality.

As CMOs are learning the value of reliable, accessible data through their automation and multi-channel service projects, they’re acknowledging that only the CIO can help them master it. 

Meanwhile, CIOs are coming to recognise that a deep understanding of client behaviour and preferences is necessary for designing new client touchpoints and service channels – expertise that lies with the CMO.

Only through close collaboration can the CIO and CMO both deliver exactly what they need to for customers. United by a common challenge, the two are increasingly realising that without each other, meeting the demands of modern consumers will be all but impossible.


Bridging the gap between marketing and IT

While many marketing and IT leaders now recognise this need for greater collaboration in financial services, it won’t happen overnight. The time spent working in isolation from one another has created significant challenges that the two will need to work together to overcome.

From the unique languages now spoken by IT and Marketing, to the siloing of client and service data, the CMO and CIO must now commit to building common ground through better communication and information sharing. 

Both the demands of their clients and the technological capabilities available to financial services organisations will continue evolving at a rapid pace. Only through a renewed collaborative relationship will the CIO and CMO both be able to make the best decisions possible to keep their businesses relevant in this increasingly dynamic and competitive industry.


Learn how the UK's top CMOs and CIOs are collaborating across departments

Download the Econsultancy research paper now to explore the full findings and get a deeper look at how the CIO and CMO relationship has changed – and how working more closely together can yield huge benefits.