CMO Impact
Creating and Nurturing Employee Advocates

Would You Have a Beer with Your CTO?

Averi Melcher
October 15, 2015


They both have the word ‘chief’ in their title, but beyond that, CMOs and CTOs rarely have much in common. As CMOs get lost in the web of customer experience and marketing strategy, CTOs are thinking back-end building infrastructure and worrying about downtime.

However, the shift from traditional to digital requires a reliance on technology for marketing execution and delivery. More than ever before, the CMO and CTO must work together toward a united goal.

In a recent article, Chief Marketer interviewed Dun & Bradstreet’s Judy Hackett, Senior VP and CMO, and Aaron Stibel, Senior VP and CTO, about bridging the gap between the two previously separate positions and building a culture of collaboration.

Why Now?

In years past, many CMOs didn’t understand the technology landscape – and they didn’t necessarily have to. Fast-forward to today: digital has blurred marketing-technology lines and there is a strong emphasis on delivery and data.

CMOs must use and understand technology to help model, manage, track and report campaigns and CTOs need to know why marketing is using existing tools. The conclusion? CMOs and CTOs must have an open dialogue in order to effectively execute.

Establish Respect.

Bridging the gap between marketing and technology starts with understanding the other person’s role. Both Hackett and Stibel emphasized the importance of working together and respecting boundaries, because it’s clear neither role can exist within a silo.

To strike that balance, executives need to communicate with each other as one team – not the ‘marketing’ and ‘technology’ team. Getting rid of an ‘us versus them’ and finger-pointing mentality opens the door to sharing ideas, respecting individual roles and valued feedback.

Think About Having a Beer with Them

We don’t mean you actually have to go out for a team happy hour, but executives shouldn’t be afraid to get to know the other person they are leading with.

Sit down and talk about what motivates them and what they like most about their role. CMOs and CTOs that learn to communicate with each other outside of stressful deadlines will find themselves sharing responsibilities better – be it planning, automation or analytics.

“At the end of the day, if you can’t trust your fellow executives to the point of laughing off your failures over a few drinks, you’re never going to feel comfortable taking risks,” said Stibel.

When both sides are working in harmony, it results in more a more successful sales team, effectively delivered marketing strategy and a stronger brand.

To read Chief Marketer’s full Q&A with Hackett and Stibel, click here.

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