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Loving your CIO

Change Makers

Loving your CIO


CMO-CIO alignment is essential in the age of the customer, write Sheryl Pattek and Nigel Fenwick.

This article originally appeared in The Love Issue, our June/July issue of Marketing magazine.


Sheryl PattekThe digital revolution has forever changed the balance of power between organisations and their customers, shifting in favour of customers and their needs. Whether in B2C or B2B industries, empowered customers have an unprecedented ability to make rapid decisions, weigh and review products with peers, and provide feedback in social channels from anywhere in the world.

As CMO, you understand that you must adjust the way you think about and implement your go-to-market strategies. But in our digital world, where technology is embedded into just about everything we do, can you afford to go it alone? Or do you need to step up to finally partner with your CIO?

We believe that success in the age of the customer requires a fundamental reset of day-to-day operations. It requires a new Nigel Fenwickoperating model that aligns to a customer-obsessed approach, one that is put in place with collaboration across the C-suite. That’s where our newest research, for which we spoke with customer-obsessed CIOs and CMOs to identify their top priorities, can help.

We discovered that CMOs and CIOs are the C-suite power couple, best-positioned to lead the alignment of the six operational levers that make up a customer-obsessed operating model: structure, culture, talent, metrics, processes and technologies.

Our new report, ‘A Customer-Obsessed Operating Model Demands A Close Partnership With Your CIO,’ dives into the actions you must take to accelerate your journey to customer obsession. Your peers identified people, process, technology and metrics as the most critical levers within their span of control.

customer obsessed operating principles overlay six operational levers

Here’s why:

  • Issue badge Love IssuePeople. Leading CMOs and CIOs drive business growth by combining forces to build differentiated customer experiences. These executives share a sense of urgency to build and act on a business technology (BT) agenda that delivers exceptional customer value. Given the rate of technology change, the only thing that is certain about your customers’ expectations next year is that they will be different from today.
  • Process. Your business must shift from a hierarchical command-and-control model that revolves around annual budgets to a continual evolution model that empowers dynamic teams to deliver customer outcomes. To begin your journey, adopt a business capability focus, mapping today’s capabilities to the overall customer life cycle. Then prioritise investments that best address the outcomes your customers most value.
  • Technology. Customer-obsessed organisations approach digital technologies in a very different way. They focus on investing in a BT agenda – the technology, systems and processes to win, serve and retain customers. These leaders look at customer value from the outside-in – first understanding the outcomes the customer desires, and then building the technology that the business needs to continually meet those evolving needs.
  • Metrics. Sharing KPIs that measure the outcomes you deliver to your customers focuses everyone on the right things. Forrester research shows that customer-obsessed firms set goals for every employee – not just the leadership team – involving the aspects of their jobs that are most important to the overall customer experience.


To make your organisation stand out from your competition, it’s time to put your customer in the centre, working in close alignment with your CIO to put the right technology in place. Those CMOs who understand the importance of the CMO-CIO collaboration will win in the age of the customer.


Sheryl Pattek is VP and principal analyst at Forrester

Nigel Fenwick is VP and principal analyst at Forrester


Forrester is a Marketing content partner – non-commercial collaborations with leading organisations on content for the magazine (like this article) as well as exclusive benefits for Marketing Pro Members. Visit marketingmag.com.au/pro


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