Will A New Service Provider Type Emerge For Digital Marketing?


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 


digital service provider filling the gap between IT and marketin

The issue you address in this post is a big one, and frankly a difficult one. As you point out, CIO's often don't understand the value of the marketing department. In many cases, Marketing's lack of credibility with IT is well deserved. In other cases, it's not.

But, the CEO needs to step up and "broker a deal" between IT and Marketing. IT and Marketing must work collaboratively for the good of the company. The digital service provider has limited ability to broker such a deal. It involves internal culture and often politics. The digital service provider should certainly strive to speak the language of both IT and Marketing. Through collaborative and educational dialogue the digital agency can achieve good results, but a lot depends on willingness of both parties to come to the table to work together.

Bernie Borges
Find and Convert

Two Budgets for Marking Tech

Well Peter you are right, i am fully agreed of your point but not agreed on the functions of CEO related to IT and marketing.
I guess this story my be submitted to http://www.technogies.com

responsibilities of the marketers

I agree with Peter's remarks, and will add...

Marketers bear the responsibility of using a good process and then relating that process in a way that builds understanding and consensus among all stakeholders, including CIOs. Marketers also have the responsibility of using data to influence the process (attempting to gather data when not immediately available) and then collect additional data throughout process implementation to continue improving the "picture clarity". This both establishes credibility and brings CIOs into the discussion of how to gather and use data effectively. A firm participatory role for IT is established.

As a marketer with a technology background, I can attest that many marketers fail in their attempts to relate to CIOs and CTOs. This is one of the factors that motivated me to found a tech marketing consultancy earlier this year.

Thanks for the comments

Bernie and Peter,
Thanks for your contributions and for reading the blog.

Education is Key

I think plenty needs to be addressed insofar as awareness of the roles of marketing and IT by each other is concerned. In-house education and commissioning of content that seeks to facilitate such understanding seem to be two important ways to achieve this. With the kind of evolution both IT and marketing are undergoing currently, these should definitely emerge as business priorities on the CEO's desk.