Peter O'Neill here. I took advantage of an invitation to dine with around 15 CIOs this week in Frankfurt and our topic of conversation was “Managing The Online Customer Journey.”  This is the regular event organized by CIO Magazine, and I go along, calendar permitting, when I am invited to present or if the topic interests me. In this case, my fascination was to hear what these CIOs think about the prevailing trends of IT consumerization and social media.

But I was most interested in their ideas on how marketing aligns with the IT organization; a concept that I’ve encountered a lot recently in my engagements with tech marketers as well as working with tech automation vendors in their go-to-market activities. Forrester has published a lot on this recently, led by my illustrious colleagues Nigel Fenwick and Luca Paderni who serve the CIO and CMO, respectively.

 My fascination with the topic is that I see a new business opportunity for savvy systems integrators. I am calling it the “emerging digital marketing service provider,” and I will focus my next Forrester Teleconference on this observation next week. That provider will need to be tooled with marketing creative skills plus IT skills and services and it will sell to the CMO and CIO equally: a new market coming together out of the marketing budget and the IT budget, as the figure shows.

Interestingly, none of the CIOs said that they were fully aligned with marketing. The consensus was that marketing is still too experimental and not thinking strategically. They came to this event to be educated and better informed for the next time that marketing comes to them for a project. But there were a couple of CIOs, clearly of the Forrester IT archetype “Partner Player,” who were thinking of how to improve their business based on the online customer journey.  

Back to my concept of the emerging digital marketing services provider. There were two presentations before dinner and discussion. One from the CTO at Deutsche Telekom which was as chaotic as the company itself – so nothing learned there. The other was from the CEO of the leading web content management software vendor CoreMedia. One slide he presented showed the goals of the CMO, CEO, plus the chief executives for customer service and eBusiness. However, there was nothing for the CIO, although many of the slides he showed elsewhere in the presentation would only really be understood by IT staff.

That is the gap that I see being filled by the digital service provider. Agree? Disagree? Need more details?  As always, I’d love to hear from you on this and other topics.

 Always keeping you informed! Peter