Dear CIO, Here's How To Help the CMO with Marketing Automation

Are you a CIO or IT Leader that "get's it"? Are you a CIO or an IT leader that wants to provide technology services to the CMO and Marketing department? Perhaps you started small and partnered with the CMO on understanding goals, continued to develop pilot programs, collaborated on data driven programs, and then established lunch/learns so your staff were able to participate in Marketing's time zone.

CIOs often think "people, process, and technology". My earlier CIO - CMO posts largely concentrated on the first two, people and process, because without them technology is far less important. So in this post, let's look at some technology.

In 2011, there were perhaps 100 companies offering tech-based marketing solutions. In 2012, that jumped to over 350. And in early 2014, the number ballooned to almost 1,000 — and counting. - John Koetsier of VentureBeat

Why the sudden jump in marketing solutions? What problems are these technologies solving?

The Big Three of Marketing Automation

Marketing technology has exploded with lots of small companies offer point solutions in every marketing discipline from SEO/SEM to social media marketing. But one of the real changes in the last couple of years has been in the maturing of enterprise ready marketing automation platforms by the three big players in the space and fueled by mergers and acquisition completed over the last 18 months. I'm referring to SalesForce's acquisition of ExactTarget, Oracle's acquisition of Eloqua, and Microsoft's acquisition of MarketingPilot and two other companies.

The big three enterprise software companies certainly understand that servicing the Business with technology has gone beyond ERP for finance and CRM for sales and their platform investments now reflect Marketing's importance to an organization's ability to grow revenue.

So if you're a CIO - have any of these companies come to visit you and try to sell you on an enterprise marketing automation platform? Chances are, they haven't. First, none of these companies are using the word enterprise when selling marketing capabilities, and second, they don't need you. All three are SaaS platforms and have some built in integration capabilities even with competitive platforms. So, if the IT role is to install, manage, or integrate the platform guess what, you're not needed and out of the picture.

The CIO Role in Marketing Automation

But, like all software sales, fully achieving "marketing automation" is no where as easy as SalesForce, Microsoft, or Oracle will sell your CMO. There is certainly a lot less coding involved to develop workflows, produce dashboards, or integrate data but some of the same problems exist such as cleaning duplicate/dirty data, developing audit-able workflows, improving the usability of dashboards, crunching large data sets, securing private/financial data, or maintaining master data.

Is the Marketing department skilled to solve these issues on their own? Welcome CIO to your new role/responsibility working with the CMO!

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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld,, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.