Can’t we just get along? The new CIO/CMO relationship in higher education

It’s an indisputable fact that data is now an integral part of higher education marketing; from analytics tools and CRM systems to marketing automation software, marketers now know how to understand their users’ journeys; from what keywords they have used to search, what sections and pages of the site they visit most often, what emails they open from you and what posts they interact with on social media.

The lines between IT & marketing have become increasingly blurred in the past few years. Marketing is no longer about trying to reach as large an audience as possible, it’s about trying to reach as targeted an audience as possible and to do this universities and colleges need both an IT and marketing team who are working towards a shared goal. Furthermore, these teams need to be spearheaded by a united and driven CIO & CMO duo.

A strong CIO and CMO relationship is key: When CIOs and CMOs work together they bring both IT & business departments with the necessary skills to the table. How your business performs digitally is a joint concern; IT helps with analytics, mobile, social media and the website while marketing helps drive brand awareness.

So, what happens if you’ve got a CMO and a CIO who aren’t part of the same team and who aren’t working towards the same shared goal? Marketing and IT teams who aren’t working together run the risk of facing issues when they go to integrate systems for analytics, add new information products and services and perform other strategic moves.

If you’ve noticed that a rift exists between your CIO and CMO here are some tips you can try to help build a strong and lasting relationship:

1. Set specific, shared and well defined goals together

Think how much easier it’s going to be to get both teams to work together when they share the same goals and targets. Shared accountability means a shared workload!

2. The CMO must be goal oriented and metrics driven

The CMO not only needs to choose the right metrics to gauge the outcome of the use of technology and the data it produces but these metrics must also be shared and completely open to both teams so everyone can understand the part they need to play in meeting these goals.

3. IT needs to be more than just efficiency

IT can no longer be solely focused on finding ways to slash spending and implement cost saving measures but rather they need to also find ways to increase and grow revenue.

4. Work on building your team

Both teams need to work together and both teams need to have a firm grasp on what the other is doing. Another way to get IT and marketing to work together is to hire people who have a keen understanding of both.

Does your institution have a strong CIO/CMO relationship? Is it a necessity or do you prefer to keep both departments entirely separate? To the comments!