CIOs are taking up new roles outside IT– a good example is Yateen Chodnekar, Group CIO, Writer Corporation, who is overseeing the marketing role in his organization along with the CIO role.
Why did you decide to take up an additional responsibility of overseeing the CMO role at Writer Corp?
The marketing role was once meant to create effective, mass-market advertising in order to increase brand awareness and loyalty. Over the years, the skills and competencies required for the CMO role have changed and technical expertise has become more important than agency experience.
In my case, I saw an opportunity in transforming the conventional marketing function into a new age, tech-driven marketing function at Writer Corp. For me, overseeing the marketing role is not a transition from a CIO to a CMO role, but it is a logical expansion of the CIO role. I believe that IT leaders overseeing the marketing function and subsequently spearheading it can smoothen the adoption of new age tools, technologies, and business processes, and they can become more customer-centric. Additionally, they can play a huge in helping the marketing function fall in sync with the rest of the business and serve as a catalyst for growth.
I saw an opportunity in transforming the conventional marketing function into a new age, tech-driven one.
Why do you think technical expertise has become more crucial for a CMO?
The emergence of data and technology is stretching the boundaries of a CMO role, and pushing them to acquire new skills. As organizations become more customer-centric and data-driven, CMOs are also expected to possess analytical, mobile, and social capabilities. This is a huge testament to the growing realization that modern marketing is becoming a technology-driven discipline. This makes a technology leader rightly positioned to lead the CMO function, and utilize the benefits of technology tools, new avenues, and funding models.
What personality traits must a CIO possess to oversee, and eventually lead the marketing role?
CIOs who are energetic, enterprising, and have a clear vision in terms of strategy, execution, and delivery are a natural fit to oversee the CMO role. An IT leader must also gain necessary skills in the areas of pricing, governance, mentoring, vendor management, customer analytics, new age CRM, and collaboration tools among others. For a CIO to seep into a new age, tech-driven marketing function is not to bring about a change in marketing capabilities, but a tectonic shift in the marketing culture in an organization.
How do you think such a dual role will cope with the ever changing demands of the digital age?
Expanding the role of a CIO to oversee the new age marketing function is a crucial step in the positive direction. In today’s work environment, IT has established itself as a business-revenue facilitator and enabler of technology.
However, CIOs today are indulging in conversations with businesses discussing customer response, customer behavior pattern, brand, and creativity. Their involvement in marketing and business decision-making has grown in the last few years. In the next two years, you will see a number of CIOs overseeing and eventually, leading the marketing function in their organizations.
For me, this is a three-year journey during which I'll take over the marketing role as an additional role at Writer Corp.