Rewind to the 90s and office politics around enterprise technology were simple. Technology was the remit of the IT department, just as customer experience – from the brand to communications, was the work of a CMO. Meaning, if the marketing team needed tech to support their activities they’d go to the CIO who would then get the software they needed and ensure it was fully compatible with the company’s existing infrastructure.

How things have changed… as digital practices now shape nearly every touch point of a consumer journey, marketing has been transformed into a technology-driven sector and consequently in terms of CMO versus CTO we are now seeing CMOs not only spending more on IT but CMO budgets are both larger and growing faster than Information Technology budgets.

With marketing and technology now so intertwined, when it comes to tech-led marketing initiatives such as a content management strategy, the traditional roles and responsibilities of the CMO and CTO have become increasingly blurred. Plus, there’s the rise of newer positions such as the CIO to add to the mix.

As demonstrated by the likes of Unliver’s purchase of content management platform Percolate (and their subsequent $10 million in savings), making the right decisions in these areas is vital for the success of your business. So when it comes to the CMO versus CTO versus CIO debate what are the main factors to consider? And who should be strategically and financially responsible for leading your company’s content management activity?

CMO versus CTO versus CIO factor 1: the rise of martech

Today, in the US alone, CMOs have spent $90 billion on investments in marketing technology (martech). By 2022, this is set to exceed a staggering $122 billion. The martech sector is predicted to welcome a growing number of vendors with ever-sophisticated services set to improve all areas of marketing from CRM to CMS.

While more tools are now available to help marketing teams deliver a consistent and optimized customer experience, the IT department is feeling increased pressure on its resources. Answering to enterprise-wide demands to improve and maintain the company’s tech offering, a marketing priority isn’t necessarily always the most pressing issue for the CIO. Meaning, the CMO’s objectives and projects could end up on the backburner. Not surprisingly, this can also lead to the CMO seeing the appeal of taking charge and bypassing lengthy installation, testing and training processes with advanced cloud solutions. Solutions such as CMS, despite traditionally being led by the CIO, have made their way under a CMO’s watch because they have become so easy-to-use and roll out.

Read next: Getting the most out of your cloud migration with effective IT change management

CMO versus CTO versus CIO factor 2: the changing role of the CMO

Long gone are the Mad Men days where the CMO’s main concerns were glossy print ads and slick TV commercials. These new CMO responsibilities were highlighted by Andrew Stephen - L’Oréal’s professor of marketing, in his recent interview with The Telegraph:

The job of a CMO is now more complex. The spending on technology within marketing is increasing at a rapid rate. There’s a need for more data-driven, tech-savvy and quantitative-minded marketing staff, as well as creativity and strategic thinking.

Andrew Stephen
Professor of marketing, L’Oréal

Today’s audiences are demanding 24/7 access to an increasing number of brand platforms via multiple devices. Customer expectations are soaring, leading to, as Andrew Stephen suggests, the need for the marketing team to be as clued up on tech, data and strategy as they are on traditional marketing disciplines.

This rise of the tech-savvy CMO paired with the need to up keep up with the martech scene has led to a general shift in purchasing behavior in the CMO budget that traditionally sat with the CIO. A recent study found the following regarding marketing departments and marketing technology:

  • 83% of marketing departments are responsible for marketing technology purchases
  • 71% choose technology providers
  • 47% have purchasing power for software-as-service

So, if you currently are operating on a CMS, it’s highly likely your CMO is charged with creating your content marketing strategy.

CMO versus CTO versus CIO factor 3: the threat to security

Whereas CMOs are driven by a pressure to meet customer expectations fast, CIOs are acutely aware that the very solutions that boost the marketing department can also expose a business to security breaches. 2017 showed that this threat was very real, full of horror stories from Yahoo’s 3 billion customer data breach, to Equifax’s $200-$300 million loss following a highly publicized cyber attack.

Just as a CMO’s knowledge helps drive brand experience, a CIO’s technical expertise not only helps ensure a marketing department has the best software options available to them, but that the software in question fits into the enterprise network as a whole. Their focus on risk management and security mean martech purchases aren’t viewed in isolation, keeping the enterprise compliant.

CMOs are best placed to identify the technology that meet their marketing objectives, however it is crucial to onboard the specialist knowledge that the IT department brings, to safeguard themselves and the business against costly breaches and PR nightmares.

CMO versus CTO versus CIO factor 4: the emerging CTO

While CIO and CMO alignment is essential, it’s important to acknowledge the growing pressures on IT resources that follow the speed of technological changes. The below diagram from a January 2018 McKinsey&Company report shows the almost overwhelming number of services, information and products now influencing business models.

outcome McKinsey report
Image Source: McKinsey

The same McKinsey report identifies a key enterprise hire, who is able to alleviate much of the stress placed on CIOs - the Chief Technology Officer. What’s the difference between a CIO and a CTO? Don’t worry if your head is spinning with CMO, CIO, CDO, CEO acronyms... you’re not alone. Although intricacies in responsibilities vary, and areas overlap depending on the company, generally a CIO leads technology that run a business internally and a CTO looks after technology that grow the business externally.

Allowing the CIO to have enough time and resources to focus on developing the enterprise network by giving the CTO responsibilities in identifying the newest marketing technology for external tech developments - and having both collaborate closely with the CMO, is a model that keeps an enterprise moving forward without compromising its network. Returning to the January 2018 McKinsey report this was made clear: organizations that kept on top of the complex, fast-moving tech landscape, building changes into their strategies were found to be more successful and outperform than those who did not.

CMO versus CTO versus CIO factor 5: data, data, data

Breaking down marketing and technology silos to work together on marketing strategies is also becoming more important in terms of data. Alongside ROI, martech often produces large volumes of data. When managed correctly, this can be an enterprise’s secret weapon to a gaining a deeper understanding of its clients and shaping more effective marketing strategies.

It’s here that IT can offer even greater value to the marketing team, helping process and analyze data to provides real insights the CMO can action. Matt Ariker, Martin Harrysson and Jesko Perrey championed this idea in their August 2014 report for McKinsey:

[Data is] why many CMOs are waking up to the fact that IT can’t be treated like a back-office function anymore; rather, the CIO is becoming a strategic partner who is crucial to developing and executing marketing strategy.

Quote from McKinsey report
people pointing to graphs with data

Your content management strategy: Collaborate, don't debate.

So where does this leave your content management strategy? Who should ultimately have decision-making power when it comes to CMS?

Any CIO or CMO who measures their worth through spend on tech is missing the point. It’s the value of the output that counts.

Matt Cockbill
Digital and IT leadership specialist, Berwick Partners

Modern enterprises will break down traditional silos and see the CMO, CTO and CIO working as partners on tech-driven marketing initiatives. Objectives such as a streamlined content management system should be a united business objective, not an isolated departmental one.

Having a tech-savvy CMO does not mean the CIO loses power; neither does a strategic CIO threaten the marketing department, and the CTO by all accounts supports marketing teams and gives the CIO breathing space to optimize the enterprise network. If working in isolation, the CMO risks enterprise-wide security breaches and the CIO and CTO risk choosing technology that doesn’t align with marketing objectives. Rather than a CMO versus CTO versus CIO dynamic, businesses need to move towards a CMO and CTO and CIO model.

By forming a partnership on marketing tech decisions like content marketing strategy, important business decisions receives input from the CMO with their deep knowledge of business strategy, CIO with their expertise in risk management and security and the CTO who keeps the company ahead of the game.

This ‘and’ replacing ‘versus’ model should also apply to current CTO vs CMO vs CIO budget spend. Particularly in line with increasing marketing budgets, smaller CIO budgets and less funds for Information Technology budgeting categories, Dion Hinchcliffe hits the nail on the head, with the idea of pooling available resources in a joint technology budget in the name of shared digital goals:

More closely than a partnership, [the CMO and CTO] literally create a matrixed organization dedicated to digital marketing experience, jointly possessing and wielding much more resources than they could alone.

Why is Templafy handy for conquering the CMO versus CTO versus CIO divide?

When choosing content management tech, a CMO, CTO and CIO - as well as their teams, will benefit from solutions that both integrate well to current systems and are as easy-to-use as they are effective. Content management solutions such as Templafy’s Template and digital asset Management software are designed to play well with other services including:

  • Seamless integration with Microsoft Office, Office 365, SharePoint Online, OpenOffice, iWorks, LibreOffice, OneDrive for Business and Google Drive.
  • Templafy’s Asset Library integrates with cloud-based Digital Asset Management Systems, such as Bynder, making your images, logos, icons and infographics directly accessible within each employee’s Office applications.
  • Can be customized to meet the needs of any global organization, no matter the size and complexity of existing IT infrastructures.
  • Any digital assets stored on third-party platforms can be made available in Templafy as long as your provider has a well described API.