The CMO/CIO relationship is a paradox: A strong partnership between marketing and technology teams is imperative to achieving customer success, but examples of great collaboration between the two have been scarce.

That’s changing, however. The pandemic forced marketing and IT to work together, shrinking the collaboration gap. It has also revealed new opportunities for CMOs and CIOs to align their teams to accelerate digital transformation, especially around hybrid commerce.

There’s no perfect org model for bringing marketing and technology together; even if there was, organizations don’t change overnight. Your solution will depend on your company’s culture and legacy. Still, you can accelerate the convergence between marketing and technology by:

  • Focusing on hybrid commerce experiences to drive growth. CEOs count on CMOs for growth. To deliver this growth, CMOs need to work closely with CIOs to reconfigure the business through the lens of the customer. Hybrid commerce is the perfect way to ignite CMO/CIO collaboration. The pandemic has drastically accelerated the shift to digital, but despite strong e-commerce growth in the years to come, physical stores will continue to capture most retail sales — including 72% of all US retail sales in 2024. The line between offline and online journeys will increasingly blur as consumers expect more integrated physical and digital experiences.
  • Rethinking the martech ecosystem to stay ahead of data deprecation. More than 20% of the marketing budget is used for technology; one-third of marketing organizations already have a dedicated technology team. Preparing for a data-deprecated future is an ideal opportunity for the CMO and CIO to redefine a joint agenda on the convergence of martech and adtech. CIOs have long complained about technology sprawl, with too many point solutions and associated data integration, performance, and security challenges. The strategic importance of customer insights will force marketers to bring data back in house.
  • Accelerating innovation by using a new operating model. Instead of trying to transform legacy infrastructure and tools in siloed organizations, some companies prefer to create new subsidiaries to accelerate innovation, launch new offerings and products, or enter adjacent markets. This is the perfect opportunity to establish a new collaboration model between marketing and technology teams.
  • Embracing ESG as a catalyst for enterprise transformation. For companies whose CEOs have decided to embrace environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, ESG offers another opportunity for CMOs and CIOs to collaborate. CMOs are more likely to see greater ESG opportunities, as they work with external stakeholders and analyze societal changes; they understand that ESG is part of the next wave of business transformation alongside digital transformation. The critical elements of this collaboration? Developing supply chain and logistics transparency; enabling the traceability of raw materials and ingredients; reducing the company’s carbon footprint through “green IT” and “IT for green” initiatives; and supporting out-of-the-box sustainable innovation based on eco-friendly designs and disruptive technologies.