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CMO’s guide: How to work with your CIO to get the software you want

Think like a CIO to ensure their buy-in when purchasing a new marketing automation platform.

CMO's Guide

When looking for a new marketing automation system, the CMO needs to make sure that they have the CIO on board. Without support from the technical chief, it is unlikely that you will get the marketing solution you need to support your marketing goals.

So how do you get the CIO on board with your marketing automation plans? Especially when you need to link your new marketing platform to other systems the CIO manages?

“46% of companies surveyed say that disconnected systems/technologies prevent them from integrating email fully with other business functions.”

Email Marketing Industry Census 2014

What does a CIO think about?

Knowing how your CIO thinks will help you better approach the thorny subject of software purchasing. When buying software, your CIO will typically be concerned about:

  • Security – As the person responsible for ensuring data and computer systems are protected from loss or damage, security is a key concern for the CIO.
  • Extensibility – How does the new marketing system interface with other business systems? How simple is the system to interface? How automated is the interface? The less manual intervention required, the better.
  • Running costs – Does the new software need additional new resources for deployment? Where will the budget for this capital expenditure come from? The CIO needs to keep running costs as low as possible because their operational budget is growing more slowly than yours.

“IT budgets are expected to grow 4.7%, while all marketing budgets, in general, are predicted to grow 9%.”

Laura McLellan, Gartner analyst

  • Licensing – How much does the software cost, and how is it licensed? Per seat, per server, per site?
  • Support and maintenance – What are the ongoing costs of the software? How much does software support cost? Are upgrades and patches included in the maintenance fees? Your CIO will want to know that the software is properly supported by the vendor.

“70% of IT spending is on maintaining and upgrading existing systems. This leaves only 30% for new systems.”

Peter Burris, Forrester Research analyst

  • Workload – Put simply, how much additional work is the proposed software solution going to create for the CIO? The CIO has plenty to deal with already and they don’t need anything new added to their workload.
  • Kudos – What is in it for the CIO? Will a new software project help make them look good professionally? A project that makes the CMO and the CIO look good will be of great benefit to your company.

If you can answer these questions before approaching the CIO, you have a much better chance of securing their support for your software choice.

Remember: make the CIO’s life easier

Knowing the CIO’s concerns before beginning the process of investigating potential marketing automation solutions will help ensure that you pick a platform likely to garner their support.

  • Narrow your potential list of solutions based on the CIO’s concerns before presenting them. But involve the CIO in the decision-making process as soon as possible.
  • Don’t forget to check that the remaining platforms will meet your marketing goals.
  • Look at marketing automation solutions which minimize the burden on the CIO.
  • Check to see whether any of the available platforms offer features or benefits that can be used elsewhere in your business.
  • Emphasize the cost-saving benefits of increased automation.

“You and your CIO need to have alignment on a joint vision for customers and focus on them. Those CMOs who choose to ignore this and go it alone do so at their own peril.”

Sheryl Pattek, Forrester Research analyst

Now you understand the CIO’s concerns, how do you choose the software your team really needs? Find out in our free eGuide: All-in-one vs. best-of-breed: what software does a CMO’s team really need?