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How a Unified Data Strategy Solves the CMO-CIO Paradox

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Brands face several challenges when it comes to using data effectively: organizing it in a way to ensure that it’s usable, extracting actionable insights that optimize creative, and envisioning how to translate abstract data into tangible value. That’s why we recently released Unlocking Data & Silos to Enhance Creative Potential, a guide touching upon each of these issues and more, opening with a foreword that explores one of the most urgent challenges defined by Forrester that CMOs face today: solving the CMO-CIO paradox at a time when both roles’ strategic alignment is so crucial to organizational success. You can read the foreword below, or grab the ebook in full right here.



The promise of big data was always to give organizations the insights they required to take their relationship with consumers to the next level. While some have achieved this, others have struggled to digitally transform and transition into an environment in which they can organize and activate the mountains of data that they’re sitting on.

This might make it sound like big data is a big problem for some, but that’s a defeatist way of looking at things; rather, the challenge offers an opportunity for organizations to break down silos and work together more effectively, particularly when it comes to the relationship between CMOs, CIOs and their teams. CMOs find themselves tasked with driving organizational growth through their ownership of the brand-customer experience, for example, and doing so requires joining together multiple streams of data into a comprehensive, single view of the customer—which means a data architecture must be in place to define the data and KPIs necessary to measure results and infer more about consumers.

Monk Thoughts Only 16% of B2C decision makers say their roles function together as strategic partners.

Of course, this presents an excellent opportunity for CIOs to tie their technology strategy to clear business goals, elevating their role into a more strategic one. The problem? In most organizations, the CMO and CIO aren’t closely aligned. In fact, Forrester Research reports that only 16% of B2C decision makers say that their roles function together as strategic partners. 35%, meanwhile, say that IT merely manages one-off projects that are prioritized by the needs of the company.

One way for CMOs to kickstart a closer relationship with their CIO is to build a unified data strategy and break down silos in the process. Historically, both have had differing business perspectives—sometimes so misaligned that marketing teams would turn to external point solutions rather than rely on IT for handling data. Such practices have only widened the divide even further because data extracted this way is often framed for a specific purpose and incompatible with other systems used within the organization—diminishing CMOs’ ability to forecast into the future and truly lead in the digital transformation process.

Monk Thoughts CIOs working closely with CMOs report a 1.3-time likelihood of substantial growth.

This presents the ultimate irony: CMOs find themselves with greater responsibility to drive growth and serve the brand strategically, yet often find marketing projects deprioritized. Strengthening their relationship with IT is key in establishing the tools they need to deliver on this responsibility, but first they must increase their data literacy and learn to better align marketing KPIs to clear business outcomes that move the needle.

With a greater understanding of data strategy and how to support it with a cross-organizational data architecture, CMOs can achieve the buy-in they need from IT and the brand as a whole—and take back control at a time when extracting consumer insights at a quickened pace has become so critical. According to the same Forrester report noted above, CIOs who have worked closely with their CMOs report a 1.3-time likelihood of substantial growth year over year. Now that’s a data point to get excited by. Through the lens of attaining a better understanding of your consumers and enhancing the power of creative, this book sets out to show how you, too, can break down silos and elevate your role into a strategic driver of growth.

There are many more benefits to strengthening your data strategy.


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