A friend of mine recently left a large multinational (traditional) firm where he held some of the highest senior marketing roles in management, product and international levels for several years. We had a long telephone conversation over the weekend and I wanted to introduce him to the wonderful world of blogs to help ease his transition out of the corporate cocoon he inhabited. But when I looked around the marketing blogosphere, all I saw were great blogs covering digital marketing. There was hardly anyone writing about traditional marketing in the way it used to be done before the online revolution. Reality? Check. Then, yesterday, I came across Dion Hinchcliffe’s excellent article A new reality between the CMO and CIO. As it turned out, this meme has been going around for the past year, initiated by Gartner’s Research VP Laura McLellan who fired the first salvo with a report entitled “By 2017 the CMO will spend more than the CIO”. In a 2012 Gartner report, McLellan says marketing budgets are now 10% of revenue vs. 3.2% for IT, and more than half of the marketing budget is going to “high-tech marketing” (aka technology-enabled marketing). Both Laura and Dion think that the CMO and the CIO will need to work closer together as peers because their relationship and roles are rapidly evolving. But in my opinion, we don’t need to wait till 2017. The CMO-CIO relationship has already evolved beyond a peer one. Unless, you’re in some very old-fashioned industry or company, the CMO’s prominence has risen above the CIO’s from startups to mid-size companies, to several large companies who grew substantially over the past 10 years. The CIO’s role is gravitating towards Infrastructure and Integration priorities, and is being pushed down the executive suite in favor of the CMO who has a full deck of innovation cards and growth-related initiatives up their sleeves. The CMO needs technology to be deployed and integrated, not developed. What I’m seeing is the CIO becoming more subservient to the CMO’s needs.


The culprit of this saga is the cloud and SaaS solutions. If you’re a CMO, or a smart employee or manager working for a small or large company and you want something done, do you go to the CIO and ask them to place your needs on their full schedule, or do you go searching yourself for a self-service cloud-based SaaS option you can implement tomorrow? You want it now, and you will likely start telling others about it after you’ve experienced success with it. Then you ask for integration, service levels and scalability,- tactical things that the CIO can help with. Reality? Check.


Let’s place some Marketing functions in 4 buckets of activities: Traditional, Table stakes, Fading and Digital.