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January 13, 2015
Rising opportunities for CMO and CIO collaboration in the pharmaceutical industry
By: Shawn Roman

There is an urgent need and opportunity for CMOs and CIOs to converge and collaborate to better meet customer expectations in a digital world. But while CIOs in the pharmaceutical industry have a strong desire to align with their CMO counterparts (more than nine out of 10 see a need for marketing and IT to align and interact), CMOs themselves are less interested in collaborating (less than two out of three see a need for interaction). This is a significant gap (33 percent) compared to the averages across all of the industries surveyed where the gap was just 14 percent (83 percent of CIOs and 69 percent of CIOs see a need for interaction).

When it comes to unifying marketing and IT, CIOs and CMOs have very different ideas about how to collaborate.

CIOs recommend:

  • Aligning CMO and CIO goals, objectives, KPIs and budgets

  • Co-locating marketing and IT teams

  • Establishing a strong CEO mandate and governance structure

CMOs recommend:

  • Training marketing and IT together in emerging marketing technologies and platforms

  • Creating an IT lead within marketing, and a marketing lead within IT

  • Establishing a digital marketing function with IT and marketing resources

The research shows that opportunities for collaboration between the two groups are greatest in several critical areas of the business, but CIOs and CMOs have considerably different priorities:

  • Analytics: CIOs think analytics is driving the need for alignment and interaction, and they have focused their technology spending on multichannel insights and digital analytics. CMOs see privacy and security as the biggest driver, and do not recognize the value that analytics can provide.

  • Technology spending: CIOs have also prioritized spending on mobile to enable the sales force, whereas CMOs have spent the most money on enhancing the customer experience.

  • Big data: CIOs see their top priority as managing big data, whereas CMOs believe the CIO function should focus on safeguarding and protecting customer data, brand assets and trademarks. Both groups agree that the CIO function can help improve marketing effectiveness by deploying better marketing execution and operations.

For marketing and IT functions to collaborate more closely, companies need to take four key steps:

  1. Establish a vision and common objectives for IT and marketing that leverages the power of digital

  2. Unify around the customer and patient experience

  3. Integrate customer-focused skills throughout the company

  4. Focus the IT agenda to empower marketing to exploit digital technologies

From Accenture’s survey, it’s clear that CIOs in the pharmaceutical industry have the desire to work with marketing to improve outcomes and meet customer expectations. But for pharmaceutical companies to make significant advances, CMOs also need to see the benefits of working together toward common goals and embrace collaboration.

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