Marketing-IT Relationship Reportedly Improving As Alignment on Business Goals Rises

December 16, 2016

More than 9 in 10 senior marketing and technology executives say that their relationships are more aligned on business goals than last year, including roughly one-third who said that their teams have much better alignment, per results from the 2016 CMO Digital Benchmark Study [download page] from Leapfrog Marketing Institute.

As marketing and technology better align on business goals, their relationship also appears to be improving. This year, 87% of marketers surveyed describe the relationship between the two functions in their companies as at least somewhat collaborative and productive, up from 83% last year. Technology executives, meanwhile, report a more pronounced shift: 92% this year describe the marketing and technology relationship that way this year, up from 74% last year. That includes almost three times as many describing the relationship as “very collaborative and productive” this year (34% vs. 13%). An improving relationship is encouraging, as cross-functional collaboration is a key characteristic of top-performing marketing teams.

Interestingly, though, executives are reporting mixed feelings on the benefits of working together. While fewer marketers this year said that working together on data-driven or technology-driven programs has led to significantly better alignment, a sizable increase of technology executives say the same. At the same time, there’s been a jump in the share of respondents from both functions reporting no difference in alignment owing to having worked together. It seems that there is some polarization in beliefs on this end, with fewer feeling that their collaboration has had just some effect…

It may be that improved relationships owe more to shared incentives for alignment. This year 50% of marketers surveyed say that marketing and technology share incentives or metrics for improved alignment, compared to 37% last year. Once again, technology executives are more bullish, with 61% reporting shared incentives or metrics, up from 37% last year.

In other results from the report:

  • Only about 1 in 3 respondents overall say that the CEO/C-suite is significantly committed to digital transformation of their organization;
  • Even fewer (28%) believe that “customer-centric” strategies are extremely important to the CEO/C-suite;
  • About 1 in 6 respondents (17%) say that their organizational structure has significantly changed to drive customer-centric strategies;
  • Fewer than 4 in 10 marketers (35%) and technology executives (39%) say that their company is building a “Mobile First” environment” – and of those with such an environment, more marketers this year (27% than 16%) than last feel that it has changed the way they operate; and
  • While marketers’ primary goal with regards to the customer experience is improving business outcomes, technology executives are more focused on building a better data infrastructure and increasing customer satisfaction.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 198 US executives, director-level or above, 65% of whom are in marketing functions and 35% in technology functions. Respondents must be responsible for, or influence, the development of digital/mobile strategy/tactics, and the identification and selection of outside resources to support those efforts.

All respondents are from companies with at least 500 employees and $50 million in annual revenues. About three-quarters of respondents are from companies with at least 3,000 employees, and more than two-thirds (69%) from those with more than $1 billion in revenues.

The financial services/insurance and healthcare/pharmaceutical industries were the most heavily represented.

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