Are Marketing And IT Finally Having A Go At Working Effectively Together?

With the increasing richness and complexity that digital channels and social media bring to the marketing equation, senior marketers increasingly realize that, to be relevant in shaping their brands’ interaction with customers, their teams need to embrace new technologies with the help of the IT group.

In my latest joint research effort with my fellow analyst Nigel Fenwick from Forrester’s CIO role, I explore how marketing and IT can successfully work together in enabling organizations to master the customer data flow.

Our early findings were not very promising . . . What clearly emerged from our interviews with CMOs and CIOs was how deeply ingrained the stereotypes about the two teams are. We heard that:

  • IT is the department of “no” and does not care about customers or what’s happening in the market.
  • Marketing is having all of the fun and spending money without rhyme or reason.
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Cisco Strategy Evolves And Tactics Mature

I just returned from Las Vegas where my meetings with Cisco executives, including John Chambers, Gary Moore, David Hsieh, Murali Sitaram, Kara Wilson, and OJ Winge, clearly demonstrated that Cisco is still moving forward. John Chambers and his team were in lockstep talking about two things: corporate strategic imperatives and organizational foundations for success

I believe that Cisco is sounding very much like a mature market leader as it balances risks and rewards in the rapidly changing markets for networking and collaboration. Precise financial measures got little talk time, but there were plenty of mentions that forward-looking statements do not supersede financial guidance given at regular updates — the team was focused on Cisco's plans to fuel future innovation, maintain its market position, and continue working on strategic relationship development with its most important customers.

John and the entire Cisco management team are focused on five corporate strategic imperatives:

  1. Core routing/switching innovation and optimization.
  2. Collaboration solutions.
  3. Virtualization (including data center and cloud) technologies.
  4. Video as a primary communication medium and IT task.
  5. Architecture — defining and delivering IT architecture for businesses and service providers.
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