What CIOs and Marketing Directors Can Learn from Each Other


Previously, CIOs were strictly concerned with the technical nuts and bolts of product development. This is no longer the case. As IT increasingly becomes a revenue driver for organizations, CIOs are asking their teams to take a customer-centric approach to application development and design.

What customers want and how they get it can change quickly.

The problem is, what customers want and how they get it can change quickly. For example, a person’s shopping habits during the holidays are likely to be different in the spring. The way they shop can also change, sometimes in the course of a single transaction – for example, a person can start a purchase on their desktop computer, but possibly click “buy” on their mobile device.

Customers are complicated. Your team needs help developing apps that respond to customers wherever they are in their buying journey. And you need help building a truly customer-centric IT organization.

[ Get exercises and approaches that make disparate teams stronger. Read the digital transformation ebook: Transformation Takes Practice. ]

There is no better person to turn to for this than your Marketing Director. Modern marketing managers have deep expertise that can help you build better customer-centric software, and you have information that can help them become better marketers.

What the CIO can learn from the CMO

Marketing in 2021 is very different from what it was a few years ago. Traditionally, companies have periodically undertaken business intelligence projects analyzing how customers interact with entire brands. Today, marketing takes place in real time and is much more targeted.

Transformational CMOs create unique journey maps and characters for each customer. The former is a visual representation of a customer’s interactions with your business (especially during the buying process), while the latter provides a detailed perspective on a customer’s likes, dislikes, and interests. Both can be updated in real time to create a live look at a client’s changing trends.

Transformational CMOs create unique journey maps and characters for each customer, updating them in real time to create a live look at a customer’s changing trends.

This data is like gold for a customer-centric IT organization. Your team can use these resources to customize apps with features that will appeal to the customer personalities most important to your business. This could mean developing multiple variations of an app to attract different potential buyers, or helping developers make the right app adjustments and updates based on changing customer behavior and buying patterns.

Again, people are complicated and each person can have multiple characters. Your marketing manager can provide you with information to decipher these characters and develop applications that meet a wide variety of needs.

Course maps can help you focus your development efforts on platforms that provide better value to your customers. For example, a journey map might show that as a customer progresses in their purchasing decision, they might put something in a cart on their mobile phone but complete their purchase in a web browser (or vice versa).

This valuable information can help your team deliver better customer experiences across different channels and platforms. Customers dropping out of the mobile app may be indicating the need for a better user experience. Or maybe a certain person is just more likely to use a traditional website to shop.

Either way, your team will have a better idea of ​​how customers are likely to interact with your business, and you can better target your development efforts to get the most out of those interactions. You can leverage analytics-based marketing research to become a customer-focused innovation director.

[ Are your digital transformation metrics up to date? Read also: 10 digital transformation metrics to measure success in 2021. ]

What the marketing director can learn from the IT director

Sharing information is a two-way street. To this end, your Marketing Director can learn a lot from you and your development team that will help them develop more effective marketing campaigns.

Your team is in a good position to know if something isn’t working for customers. You may notice that clients are not using a certain feature, or that they are bouncing out of an app or webpage after short sessions. Obviously, something is not resonating with these customers.

Assuming there are no technical issues, pass these comments on to your Marketing Director. Let them know you see red flags they will want to look into. Once the adjustments are made, closely monitor user interactions with the app to see if things improve. If not, let the CMO know – again. Marketing, like development, is about making frequent and nimble adjustments.

Think about Conway’s Law – the idea that the applications that IT organizations produce mirror organizational charts. According to Conway’s Law, everyone involved in creating an app puts their own stamp on that app.

Now extrapolate this concept to how IT works with marketing. Your IT organization can make solutions improvements based on what you learn from your CMO, but you can also provide that CMO with valuable feedback that can help them attract more customers. Each adds their own perspective, creating a virtuous cycle that benefits all parties – you and your team, your CMO and your marketing department, and most importantly, your customers.

[ Culture change is the hardest part of digital transformation. Get the digital transformation eBook: Teaching an elephant to dance. ]

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