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Operational change is required for corporate marketers and information technology (IT) professionals as they seek to “lead not lag” to embrace new digital marketing technologies and channels in the quest to acquire, maintain and enhance customer relationships and increase revenue, according to a report from the CMO Council and Accenture

Another key finding of the report, titled “The CMOCIO Alignment Imperative: Driving Revenue through Customer Relevance,” is that marketing and IT executives do not believe they are highly effective partners, as they struggle to achieve common goals in the race to adopt and keep pace with rapidly evolving digital marketing capabilities.

In fact, very few marketing and IT executives surveyed for the report believe their companies are prepared to exploit the new digital channels, despite their shared conviction that technology now underpins and shapes the entire customer experience.

Specifically, just four per cent of more than 300 marketing executives and seven per cent of the more than 300 IT executives who participated in the study said their companies are very prepared to exploit digital marketing channels.

Completely integrated

Additionally, only 8 per cent of marketers and six per cent of IT executives said they believe their data and analytics are completely integrated. And nearly one-third of marketers and IT executives alike (29 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively) said they are either having difficulty integrating critical analytics capabilities or believe they are not integrated at all.

As customers increased their demand for always-on access points, service options and interactive experiences, a large majority of marketing executives (78 per cent) and IT executives (68 per cent) said that digital marketing is important to their organizations. Yet, only one-third of marketers (35 per cent) and one-fifth of IT executives (20 per cent) said their companies are “heavily committed and invested” in digital marketing.

“Marketing and IT executives recognize the importance of enabling digital marketing and integrating online and offline channels, but they need to move beyond the issue of alignment to make the unprecedented and transformative game-changing moves required in today’s marketplace,” said Tim Breene, senior managing director of strategic initiatives at Accenture and chief executive of Accenture Interactive, an Accenture business that helps companies enhance their digital marketing capabilities, including websites and online marketing, and optimise their online and offline marketing and merchandising investments.

“This research can serve as a wake-up call to savvy CMOs and CIOs, who are looking for the next frontier of success: A fully empowered digital enterprise, capable of forging and maintaining continuous relevant relationships with its customers.

“As these new, nimble marketing organizations emerge, marketers will be able to pioneer new methods, approaches and programs, driven by a unified backbone of data to create the end-to-end customer view.”